Ranthambore Hotels – Palace Hotels Vs Jungle Lodges

After my trip to Thailand, I returned to India to enjoy the best experience in my country – Wildlife. This time, I choose a park closer to home – Ranthambore!

With so many options for Ranthambore hotels, one can easily be spoilt for choice. It’s hard enough to decide where to stay in Ranthmabore and even harder to choose between royal havelis and rustic jungle lodges.

To be honest, I would always pick a jungle lodge in any other part of India. However, in Rajasthan (Especially if you are visiting for the first time), it is kind of a norm to try living like royalty – even if it is for a few days.

You haven’t been to Rajasthan unless you have stayed in a palace hotel. These heritage boutique hotels are charming and ooze of grandeur. Who wouldn’t want to be treated like a queen (or king)?

So after staying in multiple jungle lodges across India, I finally zeroed in on a heritage boutique property as my base in tiger country.

Why Ranthambore National Park?

ranthambore national park

In the jungle with my pretty @Karlaroundtheworld

For me, since Ranthambore happened immediately after Thailand, I wanted to skip the parks of central India and choose something closer to my home base (Delhi). The decision was purely made on convenience and the abundance of tigers found in the park.

Going back to one of the best national park of India for sighting the royal Bengal tiger was an absolute delight. I had some of the closest encounters with these wild cats a decade ago in Ranthambore so returning to this barren bush, was quite exciting.

I was accompanied by my blogger friend Karla from Karla Around the world. She flew in from Philippines primarily to plan a jungle safari adventure with yours truly. So, sighting the elusive cat was high on our agenda.

Ever heard of killing two birds with one stone? Staying at Nahargarh was the perfect decision for us. Since it was Karla’s first time to Rajasthan, experiencing both top things to do in this state (Wildlife & Palace hotels) makes for an ideal introduction to the royal land of Tigers and Maharajas (Kings).

ranthambore hotels

Royal introduction to Rajasthan at Nahargarh Palace

Ranthambore Photo Gallery – Wild & Untamed

Each day in the bush is exciting – Tiger or no Tiger. However if you are entering Tiger country, there are unrealistic, unsaid expectations about spotting the majestic beast.

With the amazing flora and fauna Ranthambore offers, there are plenty of photo opportunities nevertheless.

peacock ranthambore

Vivid colors of a dancing peacock

darter snakebird

Darter aka Snake bird

Spotted deer

Spotted deer

ranthambore park

Stunning barren lands of Tiger country – Ranthambore

Thick knee

pond heron with fish

Pond heron gulping down a fish

Chinkara aka Indian Gazelle

Chinkara aka Indian Gazelle

Spotted Owlets preening

The cutest of all – this pair of Spotted Owlets preening each other

leafless trees

As the sun kisses the leafless trees, it makes for spectacular shots

Crested bunting

Adorable Crested bunting

Our first two days we didn’t have much luck apart from spotting a Tiger across the valley. He was camouflaged well and I had to use all of my 50x zoom to capture this beautiful cat.

Tiger in ranthambore

Full 50x zoom to catch this beauty!

Eventually, we did manage a closer encounter during our very last safari. One of our best sightings as well, of two Tiger cubs hiding in the bush. They would come out briefly and cause a frenzy of jeeps and camera captures, with tourists falling all over for one glimpse. Such is the havoc and chaos created to spot this majestic cat. Getting this video among all the turmoil was quite a feat, I must say –

It is advisable to book your Ranthambore safaris well in advance. Jeeps are harder to score but canters are readily available. The best (And cheapest) way to book is online on Rajasthan forest dept official website.

Nahargarh Ranthambore – Where Maharajas Ruled

Built like a lavish hunting palace for the Rajputs, Nahargarh epitomizes magnificence. With huge arches and chowkis, a lovely mughal garden, two big swimming pools, spacious common areas, Rajput style dinning and bars – This is the best base for your jungle safaris.

Nahargarh ranthambore

First look at Nahargarh

At Nahargarh, they have the usual tiger documentary every evening which still allows for the “jungle feel” among grand settings.

Food at Nahargah surely needs a special mention. This was perhaps the best North Indian food I had in a long time. Karla and I would usually spend a lot of time in just eating (sometimes scoring several helpings)! I am pretty sure both of us gained a few kilos during our 3 day trip.

Rajput architecture is evident and impressive. All staff is dressed up in traditional Rajasthani wear and always bear a big smile and greet you with respect. Built as a royal hunting ground, the hotel has all regal charms in place with traditional performances in evenings.

Nahargarh Palastial Grounds – Photo Diary

Karla and I spent our free time ‘in-between safaris’ to explore the palastial grounds of this 16th century styled fortress. It wasn’t hard for us to the find the right attire for Indian palaces and I think we did a decent job.

From the sprawling main pool to the spacious sit outs, huge Mughal gardens, to the king sized rooms, everything about Nahargarh spells ‘R-O-Y-A-L’. That makes this haveli the perfect backdrop of our photoshoots.

rajasthani hotels

Totally felt like I owned the place 😉


Amazing shot by @Karlaroundtheworld

nahargarh pool

Loving this big palastial swimming pool

arches of palaces

Another great capture with the arches by @Karlaroundtheworld

Booking Info –

Address: Ranthambhore Road, Village Khilchipur, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan 322001
Phone: 074622 52283
Website: Nahargarh.com

Click here for lowest rates and to book Nahargarh Ranthambore.

Overall our stay at Nahargarh was simply unforgettable and it surely makes to the top of my Ranthambore hotels list.

nahargarh in sawai madhapur

Disclosure – We were guests of Nahargarh Ranthmabore, however, all opinions (and safaris) are our own 🙂


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