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Every district and even nearly every city of India's vibrant western Rajasthan province has something to offer to every traveler. Sawai Madhopur (pop. 121,100) is an excellent example. Unlike most historic cities, this once was planned back in the mid-18th century, and tucked into the southeastern corner of the state three hours from Jaipur, it's become increasingly popular with travelers due to its proximity to Ranthambore National Park and Ranthambore Fort.
One of the largest national parks in India, the Ranthambore National Park is the pride of Sawai Madhopur. Covering 392 square kilometers, this sanctuary is known for protecting and preserving the endangered diminishing Bengal tigers. If you have never been on a jungle safari, then the forests of Ranthambore are sure to delight you. The wild landscape is covered with its characteristic deciduous forests and makes for a good ambush when on a wildlife hunt (sans weapons, of course). A wide species of wild fauna have found their home in this national park. Also look out for the Indian leopard, Nilgai, wild boars, sambar and chital deer, sloth bear, rhesus macaque, and a large variety of reptiles. Among flora, the forest houses one of the largest banyan trees in India and more. The best time to visit Ranthambore is between the months of November and May when the animals come out of hiding. Safaris usually run twice a day - at 6.30 am and 2.30 pm and each ride last for about three hours.
Discover the history of the town at Ranthambhore Fort. Like the national park, this historic fort is closely associated with the town itself. A UNESCO World Heritage Site together with several other Rajasthan hill forts, its original date of establishment is not known, but thought to datet back to early 12th century. It's said that in medieval times the fortress provided shelter against invaders from Delhi and around. Its most prominent features are the Toran Dwar, Mahadeo Chhatri, Sameton ki Haveli, and Battees Khamba (32 Pillars). But the most interesting part of this complex is the co-existence of a mosque and a Ganesh temple under the same roof.
To truly know a place, you must know about its culture. And what’s better than to join the local festivals and get an insight into Madhopur’s art and culture? If you’re heading to Sawai Madhopur from Udaipur during any of these festivals, book an Udaipur taxi to make the most of your trip. Here’s a list of traditional festivals that you can explore:
Sawai Madhopur Utsav
This is an annual festival celebrated on January 19th of every year, as the foundation day of the town.
Chauth Mata Mela
A religious-cultural festival held at the Chauth Mata Temple, also in the month of January.
Ganesh Chaturthi Fair
The locals have a strong belief in Lord Ganesha and his powers. The highly revered and believed Trinetra Ganesh Temple is a living proof of the same. And so the Ganesh Chaturthi Fair is celebrated as the largest of all fairs in Sawai Madhopur. Held in August or September (this year beginning September 2), the festival runs for three days at the Ranthambore Fort.
In the month of October (or as the days coincide), every year, the local here assume the festive spirit of Navratri and revel for ten days. On the 10th day, or the day of Dussehra, the curtain is dropped on all celebrations with the burning of a Ravana effigy.
The easiest way to reach Sawai Madhopur is by flying. The nearest airport is Jaipur (160km) at three hours’ drive away. You can then book a Jaipur taxi service the rest of the way. There are also multiple railway routes available. You can reach Madhopur from Kota, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Delhi, Agra and Mumbai via direct trains.