Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
One of the finest bird parks in India and the World. Bharatapur in Rajasthan is also known as Keoladeo Ghana. The topography is unique and ideal for birdlife. The preserve has extensive marshy wetlands with most of them being shallow enough for waders. There are scrub lands and grasslands and tree line which offers sanctuary to vast variety of avian species. The adjacent fields, water bodies and plains increase the diversity of the habitat and hence the bird species.
The wetlands have been built by the Maharahaja of the erstwhile princely state. In the process building the Ajan Dam a depression was created whence the sand was shifted resulting in huge wetlands. To control the water level number of small dams, dykes, sluice gates, etc., were built is an area of twenty eight square kilometers. These wetlands support mind boggling variety of water birds and waders.
Man Made Natural World
Bird migration takes place in huge numbers from Central Asia, Siberia and even Europe. The most popular attraction were the Siberian Cranes which are not seen anymore. The population was regularly shot in it migration route over Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Apart from birdlife the ecosystem supports mammals and reptiles. One can see the hyena, jackal, fox, spotted deer, sambar deer, Nilagi in large numbers. An occassional tiger maked Bharatpur its home usually a migrant from Ranthambhore National Park near by.
A man made reservoir with Kishen Mahal fortress at hill top Bund Baretha is about fifty km from Keoladeo Ghana. It is an excellent birding spot ideal for sighting Indian Skimmer and whiskered terns. Other birds seen are waders, pipits, larks, bitterns, water fowls, Russet Sparrow, Storks, Marsh Harrier, Sand Pipers, Wagtails, Wheatears, and many forest birds like barbets, parakeets, warblers, orioles, in the thin tree line around the dam.
Infamous Duck Shoots
The Maharajahs of Bharatpur were avid hunters and duck shooters and indulged in mass shooting of water fowl in the preserve. Many foreign dignitaries and Royals indulged in periodie hunting during their visits to India. Hunting was banned in 1960 but that significant bird population was decimated during the shoots.
Other Travel Attractions
Bharatpur Govenment Museum : Government Museum of Bharatpur, which provides a glimpse of the past
royal splendour of Bharatpur.
Bharatpur Palace : A marvellous
structural blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture.
Lohagarh Fort : The fort remained unconquered despite
several attacks by the British regime.
Deeg Palace : 32-kms away from Bharatpur is the Deeg Palace. It was the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur.
How to Get there
Air : The nearest airport is situated at Agra which is 56-kms from Bharatpur.
Rail : Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all the major cities of India
such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra. The Bharatpur railway station is 6-kms from
Road : A network of roads connect Bharatpur to major
cities of Rajasthan and its neighbouring New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana.
Bharatpur is well connected by road from Agra (56-kms, 5 hours), New Delhi (176-kms,
5 hours) and Jaipur (176-kms, 6 hours), all of which have airport facilities too.
General Info / Tips
Note : Carry good quality binoculars and spotting scopes. Keep bird books or hand guides of noted authors with you. Where Khakhi or green dress and be prepared for long hours of trekking in the birding destination.
bird sanctuary. India's best bird sanctuary.
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