On the top of large and lofty isolated hill known as 'Thambhore', which is adjacent to another hill called 'Ran', stands the Ranthambore fort. It is situated about 80 miles south-east of Jaipur. The summit of this hill is surrounded by massive wall strengthened by towers and bastions of the fort. The Ranthambore fort is in the middle of the hill country between the Banas and Chambal rivers. The fort is surrounded on all sides by hills which serve as its ont walls. The hollow of Ran separates it from the fort and serves as the best moat. Ran overlooks this fort. The fort is very lofty and strong. The name of this fort is explained in a number of ways. Firstly it is said that it is named after both the hills 'Ran' and 'Thambore'.
Secondly it is called Ratanpur or Ratanbore – a city in the centre of hollow of Ran. Thirdly it is a fort known as Ran (battle), tan (body) and bhore or Bhamar (delusion) i.e. the fort that causes a delusion or puts the invader into confusion. Emperor Akbar got his batteries raised on the summit of the hill of Ran and then forced Surjan Hada of Bundi to surrender this fort in 1569 A.D. The fort did not suffer for want of water supply but during the invasion of the fort by Allauddin Khilji in 1301 AD the gallant Hamir Chauhan was forced to come out of the fort to give fight to the Sultan because of the shortage of good grains in the fort. Hamir fought bravely and died a heroic death. During the reign of Ahmad Shah and Alangir – II the troops of Malhar Ras Holkar besieged this fort. The imperial Mughal officers refused to surrender it to the marathas. So Thakur Anup Singh of Pachawar made both sides agree for its surrender to Jaipur. The Jaipur state garrison occupied it in 1759 AD. Ranthambore is in Sawai Madhopur District of the state of Rajasthan.
The National Park is one of the prime examples of Project Tiger's conservation efforts in Rajasthan. The forests around the Ranthambhore Fort were once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The desire to preserve the game in these forests for sport was responsible for their conservation and subsequent rescue by Project Tiger. Today the Tiger the greatest of the Big Cats, rules Ranthambore. The Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 square kilometers. Steep crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and atop one of these hills is the impressive Ranthambhore Fort, which was said to have been built in the tenth century. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bushland.
The Ranthambhore National Park in south-eastern Rajasthan is one among the finest places where wild tigers can be found. The Park is named after one of India's largest and most beautiful forts that stands majestically in the heart of the jungle.
Ruins of Rajput and Mughal cenotaphs, pleasure palaces, watch towers, and guard posts are dotted around the park, standing testament to its royal and heroic past. Apart from the Tiger, Leopard, Caracal, Civet, and Jungle Cats, the Sloth Bear, Hyena, Wild Boar, Deer, Antelope, Monkey, Marsh Crocodile, and a variety of other animals also roam this unique forest. Besides being a home to more than 350 species of birds, including a large variety of migrants, from as far off as Europe and Siberia that make it their home during the winter, it is an ornithologist's paradise.