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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What all should one know about Bharatpur (Keoladeo) Bird Sanctuary?

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The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is popularly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It has been often referred to as 'Ornithologist's Paradise', as it attract thousands of indigenous as well as migratory birds annually which also includes the world-renowned Siberian cranes, given its favourable environmental conditions and easy availability of nutritious food. Spread over an area of 29 sq km, out of which 10 sq km comprises of fresh shallow lakes,water marshes and bogs, it plays host to the most amazing and unbelievable variety of feathered ambassadors across the globe. One of the finest bird sanctuaries in the country, it is located in the northwestern region of Rajasthan.

  • History

    Keoladeo is India's premier wildlife sanctuaries and a declared a World Heritage Site in 1985. This enormous assemblage of birds was created at the behest of Prince Bhamji of Morvi (Gujarat) in the early years of 20th century. Although the wilderness and the rich flora and fauna existed as early as 250 years ago when the sanctuary used to be the hunting ground for the maharajas of Bharatpur. Later, it was used for recreation events like duck shoots in honour of British officers. Post-Independence, it was established as a national park on 10 March 1982. The place was established as a national park on 10 March 1982, after being designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1976 and a Ramsar site under the Wetland Convention in October 1981.


  • How to Reach

    You can reach this place by almost all means of transport. Bharatpur does not have its own airport. The nearest domestic airport is Kheria Airport, Agra (45 kilometres away) and the nearest international airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi (184 kilometres away). A taxi from New Delhi airport to Bharatpur would cost you around INR 3000. The town of Bharatpur has its own railhead. There is a plethora of trains that connect Bharatpur to almost all the major cities of North and Western India, so, travelling by train is the most convenient and comfortable option to reach this town. Another option is coming by bus. There are a number of state owned bus services and private bus services which are available from Agra, New Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur and many other cities in North India.

  • Best Time

    The variations in Bharatpur’s weather is a striking element that you should keep in mind while travelling to the place. The summers (March to June) here are scorching and can end up picking on your temperament sometimes. Because of the heat and the physical problems related to that, people try to avoid visiting the place during this time. The temperature and the overall weather during monsoon months (July to September) is pleasant and favourable for a weekend getaway, but the high humidity can pose problems for sweat-haters. The winter months (October to February) are a clear winner when it come to the beat time to visit the national park and you get a chance to admire the plethora of migratory birds which take shelter in the beautiful Bharatpur national park.

  • Where to Stay

    The town of Bharatpur has all kinds of accommodation options, ranging from luxury to budget. For those who like splurging on stay can at places like Laxmi Vilas Palace, Udai Vilas Palace and The Bagh, which will will surely give you the imperial feel. If you don’t want to burn a large hole in your pocket, then stay at places like Hotel Kiran Villa Palace, Eagles Nest and Hotel Park Regency. And if you wish to stay within the national park, then stay at Bharatpur Ashok (Forest Lodge). Hotel Bharatpur Ashok is located inside the Keoladeo National Park and it serves as a forest lodge. Staying at this place will perhaps provide the best bird watching experience. The well furnished ac rooms and the fine dining multi cuisine restaurant in the hotel makes it an ideal place to accommodate in Bharatpur. Tariff per night in the hotel starts from a minimum of INR 3300 which may differ depending on the type of rooms and the time of the year.

    Address: Bharatpur Ashok
    Keoladeo National Park
    Bharatpur
    Rajasthan
    312001
    India
    Telephone:+ 91-120-4052601
    Official Website: http://www.bharatpurforestlodge.in

    If you are not able get reservations here, then you can always try at Swaraj Resorts, which is right opposite the park. The largest hotel in the Bharatpur city, it is encompassed by sprawling garden and has fine well furnished rooms for accommodating its guests. The hotel offers a huge swimming pool, a fine multi cuisine restaurant and a well stocked bar with a lounge. Tariff per night in the hotel starts from a minimum of INR 1700, which may fluctuate depending on the time of the year and the type of room.


  • Flora and Fauna

    The park has rich vegetation and a variety of rare flora with tropical dry deciduous forest, intermixed with dry grassland. The north-east part of the park is covered with forests, consisting mainly of kalam or kadam, jamun and babul. The scrublands consist of ber and kair, while the open woodland is mostly babul with a small amount of kandi and ber.

    Migratory birds are the main draw to the park in the months of the winter season. Several birds from as far away as places such as Siberia and Central Asia flock the beautiful park and spend the season in Bharatpur. Migratory birds here include several species of hawks, ducks, eagles, cranes, pelicans, wagtails, shanks, geese, warblers, buntings, flycatchers, stints, wheatears, larks and pipits. For maximizing your bird watching experience, opt for the routes near the swamps. During winters, the sheer variety of birds will surprise you with the birds ranging from waders from the godwit family to with over-sized bills and tiny stints abound in shallow muddy areas of the park.

    Other than the birds, there is a wide variety of mammals, like feral cattle, Blue bull and spotted deer are common while sambar just to name a few, a variety of macro invertebrates such as insects, worms and mollusks.

  • Facilities and Timings

    Bharatpur National Park attracts thousands of visitors every year, both national and international. To facilitate their visit, provisions have been made for accommodation and food within the premises of the park. The Forest Lodge is maintained by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and is the only accommodation option inside the Keoladeo National Park. The entry fee for Indians is INR 25 per head, while for foreigners is INR 200. A guide would cost you INR 75 per hour. Camera charges is INR 200. In case if you don’t want to explore the park on foot, you can hire a bicycle for INR 30 for a day or take a cycle rickshaw for INR 50 to INR 75 per hour.

    The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm on all days.


Now that we have given you all the details you need to know about Bharatpur National Park, don’t wait and pack your bags to explore this wonderful paradise. Don’t forget to get your camera to capture the beauty of nature at its best. A visit to this national park is truly an amazing experience.

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