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Ranthambhore National Park, Sawai Madhopur

Rajasthan, India, Asia: Getting too close may be harmful to your health: one of Ranthambhore's Bengal tigers.
Sawai Madhopur
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If you ever hope to see a Bengal tiger in the wild, this 150-square-mile park of brushy trees and tall, dry grasses—ideal cover for the big cats—is the best bet. These beautiful animals are tolerant of the paparazzi, and with a bit of luck, you can get close enough by vehicle to hope they've eaten recently. However, as a result of poaching, there are fewer than 30 tigers here, so sightings are not a sure thing. Also, there are ongoing efforts to have vehicles banned from the park, so check for the latest developments before you go.

Entry is by permit and is limited to a handful of park-authorized vehicles each day; make arrangements through your hotel (we recommend the two tent encampments of Aman-i-Khás and the Oberoi Vanyavilas) and expect to pay about $60, including permits, for a three-hour safari. Generally, the morning safari is best for sighting game in the summer, and the evening best in winter. The town of Sawai Madhopur, near the park entrance, is eight hours by nerve-rattling road from New Delhi, four from Jaipur (also the site of the nearest airport), and six from Agra. The Sawai Madhopur train station has service from New Delhi and Jaipur.

The park is open October through June.

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