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. Background:
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.
Park Population :
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.
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.
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. more...
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.
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
For reservations at the Rajasthan Tourism hotels, contact any of its tourist offices in major cities in India.
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:
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.
Bikaner House, Near India Gate, New Delhi- 110 001
Hotel Swagatam, Office Annexe, Near Railway Station, Jaipur