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Keoladeo Ghana National Park – Avian Capital

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India is rich in birds, with over 13% of the world’s birds being found here. Blessed with the cool snows of the Himalayas, the dry heat of the Thar, the humid green of the South and the swamps and sea of our coastlines, India is home to some of the most sought after birds in the world. Watching birds in India is not just incredibly rewarding; it’s a step closer to truly understanding the Indian wild.
| Birds in Bharatpur | Places to see | Places Around | Getting There | Accommodation |

Though one of the smallest parks in the country, Keoladeo Ghana National Park is quite popular as a bird sanctuary. The park commonly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the finest bird parks in the world. The park is a reserve that offers protection not only to its avian inhabitants but also to faunal species as well. Nesting indigenous water- birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, the sanctuary is also home to Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar.

Bharatpur Birds

The park gets its name from a small temple in the heart of the park (near canteen), where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Keoladeo. Ghana refers to the thick tree cover the area once had. This sanctuary, as mentioned above is popularly known by the name of the adjoining town of Bharatpur, which is also the name of the king who created the park in the late 19th century.

The bird sanctuary was created when in 1760, the Maharaja of Bharatpur made an artificial lake and the dam at this very site to store the water brought by the annual floods in this area. More than 300 bird species are found in this 29-sq-km-wildlife park, which is divided into the stretches of marshes, scrubland and grassland. Bharatpur became a national park on in 1982, and was bestowed the status of a World Heritage Site in December 1985.

Purple Sunbird

If you want to make most of your visit to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, it pays to be an early bird, as morning is an excellent time for bird watching. Tickets can be purchased at the main gate that stands at one end of the tarred road that runs from the north to the eastern side of the park, through the largest area of wetland and along the line of the Ghana Canal. Parking is available at the gate or you can park at the ITDC Hotel nearby. Take a cycle rickshaw from here to reach the main gate. At the main gate, you also have the option of hiring bicycles. A walking trip is another exciting option. Motor vehicles are not allowed inside the park. If you want your visit to the park a beautiful experience to remember, binoculars are essential, though many of the birds are large and close to the road. Within the park, there are a number of well-maintained paths, which means you can make your visit as long or as diverse as you wish. The natural place to take a break is the Keola­deo Temple compound.

Birds in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Park Timings &
Best Time to Visit

Park Timings:
6 am – 6 pm
Best time to visit:  Open throughout the year, the park is best visited between November and March. August – October is the peak time for breeding and Oct- Feb is when you can see large number of migratory birds.

Park Entry Fee
Indians: Rs. 25,
Foreigners:  Rs 200

Guide Fee: Rs 75/hr
Video Camera: Rs 200
Bicycle Hire Rs 30 per day
Cycle rickshaw Rs 50-75 per hr
Best Time to Visit:
Open throughout the year, the park is best visited between November and March. August – October is the peak time for breeding and Oct- Feb is when you can see large number of migratory birds.
Birds in Bharatpur

Migratory birds are the main draw to the park in the winter months. Birds from as far away as Siberia and Central Asia flock the park and spend their winters in Bharatpur. Migratory birds at Bharatpur Bird sanctuary include, several species of cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, wagtails, shanks, stints, wheatears, warblers, buntings, flycatchers, larks and pipits.

If you are visiting the park at the right time,  which generally is between November and March the cacophony of painted storks with their yellow bills and pink and white behinds is something seen to be believed. To maximize your bird watching experience, opt for the routes near the swamps. One route is to head to Sapan Mori, and then to turn right towards the Keoladeo Temple. If you head left (and it’s best to do this in the afternoons), then you will reach the sunning ground of pythons. The Mansarovar and Hansarovar marsh­­es and the swamps and lakes of Bharatpur are great to watch herons.

Birds in Bharatpur
If you are visiting the park in winter, the sheer variety of birds will surprise you. Waders from the godwit family, with over-sized bills, and tiny stints abound in shallow muddy areas of the park. In low bushes and woodlands, you can test your eyes by looking out for orange-headed ground-thrushes, ruby-­throats and sleeping nightjars. You’ll spot eagles and harriers feeding on the wild­fowl, sometimes stealing each other’s prey in mid-air.

Places to see in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Boat Ride

If there is water in the lake and it is boating season, you can opt for boat riding. Boat rides are booked at the Tourist Reception Centre. Boats are available for hire from the boarding point near the ITDC Hotel

Just 3 km away is Bharatpur Fort built by the Jat ruler Suraj Mal in 1730. The fort went to the king of Bharatpur in the late 18th century. The British stormed the fort in 1804, after which the bastions and walls were dis­mantled, which explains why these are in such a dilapidated state today. You can visit palaces inside the fort. There is a government museum in the fort, which has displays of arts and cul­ture of the region, including inscriptions and sculptures.
Timings 10 am-4.30 pm; closed on Fridays

Situated just 32 km away from Bharatpur is the Deeg Palace. It is a strong and massive fortress, once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur.

Agra, the city of Taj,  56 km away is a must visit. The Tajmahal is one of the world’s seven wonders and people from around the globe come here to see this architectural marvel.

Place to stay in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
There are a few hotels on the banks of the lake including an OTDC run hotel and two tourist bungalows (the `Panthnivas' at Rambha and Barkul) that offer comfortable accommodation. A number of state-run as well as privately-operated hotels and rest houses and tourist lodges are also there. Details

Reaching Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

By Air: The nearest airport is situated at Agra, which is 56 km from Bharatpur.

By Rail: If visiting from Delhi - the Frontier Mail and the Kota Janshatabdi offer good options, especially in the mon­soon when the Delhi-Agra Expressway can be in a bad shape.

By Road: Bharatpur is well connected by Road to all the major cities of the Rajasthan and its neighbouring states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

About Bharatpur: Bharatpur Information & Fact File
Altitude 100 meters
Summer 46 (Max) & 28 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 28 (Max) & 4 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go August – February
Monsoon July - September
Summer April - June
Winter December - February
Clothes Cottons in summer and light woolens in winter
Nearest Airport Agra, 56 km
Nearest Railway Station Bharatpur ( Delhi- Mumbai main-line)
Bus Station Bharatpur, Direct buses from Delhi & Agra are available
Hospital & Doctor

Agra (56 km) is the nearest city with good Medical Infrastructure for handling emergencies 

Places to see Bharatpur Fort, State Museum, Deeg Palace, Agra’s Taj Mahal …more
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