Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary), Rajasthan
Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary, the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary is located in Bharatpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The place is also been declared as a World Heritage Site, owing to its vast collection of Avi-Fauna and wildlife. The sanctuary is located around a man-made wetland that serves the vast bird population here and was created around 250 years ago. The wetlands were created by King Suraj Mal who was the ruler of the Princely state of Bharatpur at the confluence of Gambhir and Banganga Rivers. During the British Raj, these wetlands were also used by the Royal families and the British Officials as Hunting grounds and a duck hunting reserve. After the Indian independence in 1947, the region was protected as a bird sanctuary under the forest act. The sanctuary is also known for its vast population of around 250 species of birds that have made a permanent home in this region. The terrain mostly comprises of sparse vegetation and only a small area is covered with trees and grasslands.
Being located in the desert state of Rajasthan, Keoladeo Sanctuary enjoys extreme weathers and moderate rainfall during the monsoons. The region has experienced several droughts and dry seasons in the past and needs to be artificially sustained during the peak summers. The months between March and June are the summers and temperatures can get as high as 47 degrees Celsius. The monsoons arrive in late July and continue till the mid of September with above average rainfall. The winters begin in mid- December and last till the end of February. The temperatures during the winters can be the exact opposite of what is experienced during the summers as the region experiences a freezing dry winter. The temperatures are usually ranging between 20 degrees to 5 degrees.
Best Time To Visit
The summers are too hot in Keoladeo as the temperatures can reach soaring heights making it a really unbearable place for tourism. The monsoon season is the time when the birds start the nest building but since rainfall isn’t that high, the humidity can cause some problems for visitors. The best time to visit the park is between October and February when the climate is the mildest and visitors get to see a lot of resident and migratory birds.
Wildlife at Keoladeo National Park
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary as the name suggest is a haven for the birdwatchers and avifauna enthusiasts around the globe with over 250 species of bird. Apart from the birds there are several species of animals, reptiles and marine wildlife species that are housed in the reserve.
Birds – Warblers, Bulbuls, Buntings, Babblers, Bee-Eaters, Chats, Partridges, Quails, The Indian grey hornbill and Marshall’s iora, Osprey, Peregrine, Imperial Eagle, Spotted Eagle, Greater spotted eagle, Pallas’ sea eagle, short-toed eagle, tawny eagle, and crested serpent Eagle, Gadwall, Shoveler, Great Cormorant, White Spoonbill, Common Teal, Cotton Teal, Tufted Duck, Indian Shag, Ruff, Painted Stork, Comb Duck, Little Cormorant, Asian Open-Billed Stork, Oriental Ibis, Darter, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Sarus Crane etc.
Animals – Nilgai, Chital, Indian Porcupine, Bengal Fox, Wild Boar, Small Indian Mongoose, Grey Indian Mongoose, Jackals, Wild Cats, Hyenas and Small Indian Civet etc.
Reptiles – Bullfrog, Skipper frog, Indian Python, Monitor Lizard, and Bi-colored nose Bat, Cobra and Russell’s viper etc.
While mid ranged accommodation facilities and luxury hotels are available in Bharatpur but the best way to enjoy the wildlife is to book accommodations at the ITDC forest lodges and hotels in Bharatpur. You might want to do early reservation during the tourist season as the visitors can be plenty.
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary has a very nominal fee of Rs 10 for students, Rs 50 for Indians, Rs 200 for Foreigner tourists and Rs 200 additional fees for a video camera. Useful contacts for bookings and accommodation.
How to Reach
Nearest Airport – The nearest airport in Bharatpur is located in Agra located in the state of Uttar Pradesh which is at a distance of 56 Kilometers. The Agra airport is well connected via flights from most cities in India.
Nearest Railway Station – The nearest railway station to the bird sanctuary is located in the city of Bharatpur which is at a short distance of 5 kilometers from the actual National Park.
Road Accessibility – Buses are available for Bharatpur from most cities and towns in Rajasthan and taxi services are available from major cities like Agra, Jaipur and Delhi. Alwar, Fatehpur Sikri, Mathura and Sariska are also in close proximity to Bharatpur.
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