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||232 sq. Kms.
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This is truly a fantasy of feathers. It is the bird kingdom, where time
takes wing. Welcome to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur in
Rajasthan. Spread over an area of little over 232 sq kms, Keoladeo derives
its name from the Shiva Temple in the heart of the sanctuary. Formerly known
as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, ornithologist Salim Ali, is credited for
bringing this park to public notice.
Prince Bhamji of Morvi state in Gujarat converted this area into a world
famous wildlife reserve. Duck shoots were organised in the area every year
by the rulers of Bharatpur, in honour of Viceroy Lord Curzon and his party
on 1st December, 1902. The exploits of all visiting dignitaries since 1902
have been engraved on stone plaques standing near the Keoladeo temple.
Largest number of birds (4273) were killed on 12th November, 1938, by Lord
Linlithgow, Viceroy & Governor General of India and his party. After
independence, this reserve was notified as a bird sanctuary but the former
rulers of Bharatpur continued to enjoy their shooting rights over the area
till 1972. The area was notified as a National Park in 1981 but made
effective only in Novemeber,1982.
Nearby Attractions of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Nearby places of interest is the Government Museum, Bharatpur, which gives
a glimpse of past splendour. Not far from the museum is the Bharatpur
Palace, which is an excellent blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture. There
is the Lohagarh Fort, which remained invincible despite several attacks by
the British. Just 32 kms from Bharatpur, is the Deeg Palace. This strong and
massive fort was the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur and has many
palaces and gardens.
The Keoladeo Park is not very large being less than 30 sq km. There are
well-defined treks, which can easily be covered on foot or on a cycle (the
best way) or you can hire a rickshaw. They are available on hire. Rickshaw
pullers have been trained by the park management in bird watching and are
quite knowledgeable. Boats are also available on hire. A boat trip early in
the morning or late evening is quite a rewarding experience. Do not forget
to carry a binoculars for watching the birds.
Park Population of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
The park supports a population of 375 species of birds, numerous mammals
and reptiles. With the onset of winter, migratory birds from all over world
come here. They arrive by August and leave in February. Visitors include
Coot Snipes, Spanish Sparrow, Red Crested Porhard, Rosy Pelican and
Flamingo. The special attraction, however, remains the arrival of the rare
Siberian Crane. The park is also rich in Pythons, Spotted Deer, Sambhars,
Blue Bull, Black Buck, Jackals, Otters, Fishing Cats, Monitor Lizards.
Rajasthan Train Travel
§ Palace on Wheels
Ever wondered what luxury in the royal times was all about! Welcome to
Palace On Wheels, a luxury train that carries with it an ambience of the
Rajputana era and an exciting fairytale journey, which takes the visitor to
the imperial cities of Rajasthan every single day. The coaches also carry
out an image of the Rajput states with beautiful interiors. Last but not the
least the "Royal Treat" for the passengers on board include
saloons, bar lounges & libraries in every coach as well as restaurant
and organized shopping facilites.
Places to stay in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Perhaps no other wildlife sanctuary in India offers the range of
accommodation as in Bharatpur. There are rest houses, lodges, dormitories
and hotels. Rajasthan Tourism provides good accommodation at its hotel,
'Saras'. Inside the park, the Bharatpur Forest Lodge is maintained by the
ITDC. Shanti Kuteer, Circuit House, Dak Bungalow are also good for a
comfortable stay. Park Palace, Govind Niwas and the Tourist complex are the
other choices. Almost all the houses around the park lend out one or two
rooms to visitors. These are cheap and provide comfortable stay. For
reservations at the Rajasthan Tourism hotels, contact any of its tourist
offices in major cities in India.
Climate in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Bharatpur is located on the fringes of the Thar desert. This marshy land
has very warm climate. Summers are invariably hot and winters are not very
cold. Carry light cottons during summers and woollens during winters.
Rainfall is less but sufficient.
§ Best Time to Visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
The Keoladeo National Park is open throughout the year. August-October is
the breeding season, so the birds are best left alone then. The best season
for visiting this place is between October to February when the migratory
birds come to visit this park from all over the globe.
How to get there
The Park is not very far from the three Golden Triangles: Delhi, Agra and
Jaipur. The best way to reach this place is by bus, which is readily
available from any of these three major tourist destination. There are
regular bus services to Bharatpur, both of the state transport and private
operators. Travel agencies also operate conducted tours. If the group is
large, ask for conducted tours from the Rajasthan tourism office. The
nearest airport is that of Agra. Bharatpur has its own railway stations with
many major trains halting here.
Tour Packages of Bharatpur
General Information about Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
§ Rajasthan Tourism
Bikaner House, Near India Gate, New Delhi- 110 001
§ Tourist Centre
Hotel Swagatam, Office Annexe, Near Railway Station, Jaipur