Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
Ranthambhore National Park lies in the Sawai Madhopur district of the North Indian state of Rajasthan. The park is contiguous with the Sawai Madhopur town, and Misradhara gate, from where tourists enter the Park, is about 12 km from the heart of the town. Ranthambhore is the only Project Tiger Reserve that is right next to a large town. The twin towns of Old City and Man town together constitute Sawai Madhopur. The railway station and the main market – Bajariya – are located in Man town. The older City lies 4 km away, in a valley surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes.
Ranthambhore Road is a good smooth stretch from Man town to the Park. Almost all the hotels and lodges are located along this road. There is no tourist accommodation inside the Park and tourists are not allowed to stay inside.
By Indian standards, Sawai Madhopur is a small rural town with a population of over100,000. The town serves as a market for the rural hinterland and Sawai Madhopur is known for its winter guavas, red chilis and mustard. Besides this, tourism and transportation industries are the mainstays of the local economy.
The local urban population, a mix of Hindus, Muslims and Jains, speak Hindi, however, most of the local urban people can understand a bit of English. People are generally warm, friendly and helpful. The rural population predominantly consists of the Meena and Gujjar caste groups.
" Apart from the tiger, Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambhore have Poonam and Aditya - that makes this the hottest destination."
Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Magazine.