The best-known of India's tiger parks is Ranthambore, located about 110 miles southeast of Jaipur. Part of its appeal results from its accessibility from Delhi, Agra and the principal tourist cities of Rajasthan. Ranthambore boasts two Harper-recommended properties. Aman-i-Khás is a fanciful tented enclave with 10 air-conditioned lodgings, dining and library pavilions, plus a spa and outdoor pool. The opulent Oberoi Vanyavilas is set amid 20 acres of gardens. Its 25 air-conditioned tents come with teak floors, four-poster beds and private walled gardens. Amenities include an ornate dining pavilion, a spa and a spectacular tiled outdoor pool.
Alas, the wildlife-viewing at Ranthambore does not measure up to the splendor of its lodges. The park itself is beautiful and contains the romantic ruins of an old fortress. However, poaching has been a major problem, and in a 2003-04 killing spree, the tiger population was reduced by at least 50 percent. Little attempt has been made to control tourist numbers, and it is not uncommon to find 20 or more vehicles full of rowdy visitors jostling one another at a tiger sighting. So by all means, visit Ranthambore and enjoy one of the seductive resorts, but do not expect too much from the national park, or you are likely to be disappointed.
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