The Elephant & the Tiger – Hathi Bhata & Ranthambore trip.

It was the 19th of December 2011. We had just come back from the big trip around Rajasthan. Vani & Aish had taken the flight back to Bangalore the previous evening. Sangeetha & me still had a few more days of vacations left and we scanned through our list of ‘must see places in Rajasthan’. Since it was probably the best time to visit Ranthambore, we decided that Tigers it would be !

Having heard stories of how difficult it is to get accommodation and safari tickets in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, we made some quick phone calls to confirm availability before we headed out. We had a very pleasant experience with RTDC during our Big trip, so we reached out to the RTDC hotel in Ranthambore and luckily enough, there were tents available.

The rates were Rs.1800 for the tented accommodation and Rs.400 per head for the Safari. There were two Safari options, the evening Safari starting at 4.30pm and the morning safari starting at 7.30am.

Did a bit of Googling around for other places to see en route and came across an interesting place called “Hathi-Bhata”.

So the plan was to head towards Tonk, stop for lunch, proceed towards Sawai Madhopur, visit Hathi Bhata en route, pass through Sawai Madhopur to reach Ranthambore in time for the evening safari.

Since the chances of spotting a tiger is not guaranteed during any safari, we would stay at Ranthambore overnight, take the early morning safari too.

A leisurely visit to the Ranthambore fort inside the forest after breakfast and we would head back to Jaipur post lunch.

Some quick packing, tanked up the Xing and we headed out towards Ranthambore…


Route Map:
Total distance covered during the trip was around 368 kms.


Hathi Bhata : Situated around 30 kms from Tonk City enroute to Sawai Madhopur, this unique monument has been carved out of a single stone, in the shape of an elephant. It was constructed in 1200 by a Ram Nath, during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh. Local legends claim that this monument was built in memory of an elephant which saved the king’s life…


Situated on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the fields, there are no other significant buildings or monuments around. Just a huge stone elephant in the middle of nowhere!


RTDC was a good choice yet again. Comfortable tents and decent food…

Since we had reached a little late, the evening Safari was not possible. But there were still a couple of hours of daylight left, we headed towards the reserve forest to see if we could hop onto a Safari jeep… but no luck.


Just decided to head a little further down the road to see what lay ahead. Alongside, there are some trails that lead into the buffer zone of the reserve, we turned into one such trail and decided to drive till where the Xing could manage… and we ended up driving till almost the end of the trail !


Spotted lots of peacocks…


And other wildlife too…


Including a Neelgai…


Turned back when it started getting too dark and returned to the hotel for an early dinner. Slept early since we would have to be ready by around 6.30am for the morning Safari.

Woke up early, freshened up and the safari vehicle arrived at the RTDC hotel to pick us up.

Luck was on our side when it came to spotting tigers. We had just about crossed the entrance gate of the reserve when a tiger decided to cross the road a little behind us !


A little later, we spotted another one which was lazing around near a water hole…


The tree-pies have become very accustomed to the tourists and boldly hop onto any outstretched palm, in search of snacks…


A croc basking in the sun…


The still waters of a lake inside the reserve…


2 + 2…


There are umpteen varieties of birds in the reserve…







And lots of deer too…


There are some old buildings in the reserve, built by the Maharajas of yore, who used the reserve as a private shikaar area…



A sleepy owl…


Today’s royalty…


Came back to the hotel, had a quick breakfast and decided to head out towards the Ranthambore fort. Since the road to the fort goes through the forest, spotted more wildlife en route…


Wikipedia says “Ranthambore Fort (Hindi:रणथम्भोर) is a formidable fort and has been a focal point of historical developments of Rajasthan. It is situated near Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan. This fort is known for the glory and valor of brave Hammir dev of Chauhan dynasty. The fortress of Ranthambore was founded in 944 by the Nagil Jats. The fortress commanded a strategic location, 700 feet above the surrounding plain. The fortress was captured by the kingdom of Mewar under Rana Hamir Singh (1326–1364) and Rana Kumbha (1433–1468).

After the reign of Rana Kumbha’s successor Rana Udai Singh I (1468–1473) the fortress passed to the Hada Rajputs of Bundi. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat captured the fortress from 1532 to 1535. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fortress in 1559. The fortress passed to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence. The area surrounding the fortress became a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur state acceded to India in 1949, becoming part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.

Inside Ranthambore fort there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath”


The fort provides an awesome vantage point over the Ranthambore reserve…






Parts of the fort are quite overgrown as the forest is reclaiming the forts and the monuments…




One of the gates of the fort…


In a small shrine toward the upper part of the fort, a natural spring has been routed through the head of a cow to fall over a white marble lingam…


There are a couple of temples inside.. but none are architecturally remarkable.



After a couple of hours at the fort, we decided to head back towards Jaipur.


En route, we stopped at the RTDC Jhoomar Baori heritage hotel for lunch. “Castle Jhoomar Baori is located at the top of a hill nearest to the National Park. Once the summer rest house of the Rulers of Jaipur, it was a real castle in the past and was converted into a hotel by RTDC. It offers a scenic view of jungle and Aravali hills of Ranthmbore”


After a nice long drive, we were back in Jaipur before sunset…



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4 comments to...
“The Elephant & the Tiger – Hathi Bhata & Ranthambore trip.”
indu chhibber

That was a nice trip,thank you !


beautifull pics


added to ‘must see places’

a good post.

Ekta Khetan

I loved your post…very honest, simple and interesting. I always wanted to visit the place and hope to see a tiger too. I also hope to be safe afterall the tiger passby was quite 🙂

Nice post! Nice pics too!


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