Royal Bengal Tiger Reserve in Ranthambhore National Park, Northern IndiaPublished July 11, 2012
Thanks to my NBC Petside articles and the obsessive-compulsive hours I spend on social media, many animal lovers have sent me "Friend" and "Causes" requests in Facebook. It warms my heart that people with shared interests connect so easily online but my heart breaks a little with each new Facebook cause I’m asked to join.
For years now, my cause has been the Little Baby Face Foundation, an amazing charity that provides free surgery to children born with facial deformities. But as I’m inundated more and more with animal causes, I now join, share, repost, tweet and hope that it makes at least a tiny spec of a difference.
One recent Facebook IM touched my heart. It was from Hemraj Meena, a leading naturalist working as a conservationist since 1992, who sent me a link to his website Tiger Home along with a request to help spread the word about this “home away from home” in India for environmental enthusiasts.
Hemraj is actively involved with tiger tracking, tiger census and eco-tourism. He spreads awareness re protecting wildlife through films, books and photography. You can see his collection of photos at the guesthouse at Tiger Home.
Tiger Home is near the Royal Bengal Tiger Reserve in Ranthambhore National Park in Northern India. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of India. The park is home to more than 30 tigers and a plethora of exotic animals including leopards, striped hyenas, jackals, mongoose, reptiles and birds.
No two tigers have the same stripes. It's estimated that they have roamed the earth for 6 million years. Sadly, these magnificent animals have been on the endangered list since 1970. According to National Geographic, “There were 8 tiger subspecies at one time, but 3 became extinct during the 20th century. Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500. Tigers are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine.”
Tiger Home Lodgings
Tiger Home is less than 10 minutes away from Sawai Madhopur station, a major junction on the Mumbai to New Delhi/Jaipur train route, which is 4 hours from the Jaipur airport. Pickup service from the train can be arranged ahead of time. Tiger Home has easy access to the Park and the heart of Sawai Madhopur town.
There are 8 large, air-conditioned rooms and a full-time cook who prepares home-style Indian meals. Individual food requests are fine—this puts me in mind of the hilarious scene in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel where Maggie Smith says, “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat it.”
What It Will Cost
Tiger Home’s prices are enticing: $75 dollars covers a room for 2, and includes 3 meals per day. Broadband Internet access is available. Safaris are booked separately on the state government’s website. Park entrance fees are listed at 400 Rupees (approximately $7 dollars). A park Nature Guide is listed at 250 Rupees (approximately $5 dollars).
Note: the reserve is closed from July 1–September 30 but reopens October 1.