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BHARATPUR BIRD SANCTUARY: A THRILLING EXPERIENCE AMIDST THE GREEN AFFOREST

Situated in the Bharatpur region of Rajasthan, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is famed as the abode of 750 plus species including several endangered mammals, plants and colourful migrated birds. This avifauna sanctuary is now recognised as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. With galore of aboriginal as well as migratory water birds, this finest bird park has become one of the major tourist centres in India. During the hibernal season, various ornithologists flock this park for undergoing their research works.

An Overview:

Nestled in the periphery of the Thar Desert and merely 2kms south east of Bharatpur, Keoladeo Ghana National Park came into existence around 250 years ago; and this sanctuary was named after a prehistoric Hindu shrine, devoted to deity Shiva, which is positioned at the centre of this bird land. On the other hand, the word ‘Gahna’ signifies the dense woods, which covers the entire park areas. This abode of birds was earlier a favourite hunting land to the Kings of Bharatpur. Over the periods of time in 1981, this hunting land was turned to a bird sanctuary. Moving ahead in 1985, Keoladeo Ghana National Park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Being one of the finest sites for birding, most of the aquatic birds here are migrated from Turkmenistan, Siberia, China and Afghanistan. Every year during winter these birds come to India; and this is the time when Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary turns to an amazing destination for wildlife photographers. A part from several faunal species, Keoladeo Ghana National Park is also inhabited by Boar, Nilgai, Sambar and Chital.

Climate:

The climate of marshy Bharatpur is quite warm, which changes its appearance with seasons. Thus, during summer (May to June) the land of Bharatpur witnesses a hot and humid climate that reaches up to maximum 48°C temperature. In winter (November to February) on the other hand, the climate here in Bharatpur favours the tourist to a large extent with a minimum temperature of 5°C. Nevertheless, the place also faces decent rainfall during monsoon.

Best Time to Visit:

Though, the Keoladeo National Park is an all year place for visitors. However, in order to witness the best showcase of breeding birds, August to November is the perfect time. On the other hand, most of the tourist flock this bird park mostly during winter (October to February) when the National Park gets inhabited by the migratory birds. This is the time when the park area turns to a favourite site for the bird watchers as well as for the wildlife photographers. Rest of the months in this sanctuary are comparatively bird-free and with nothing much to offer.

Opening Hours:

If you visit Keoladeo National Park in summers, the opening hours is from 6AM to 6PM. However, during winters the park is open from 6.30AM to 5PM.

Entry Fees and other Charges:

Accessing to this finest bird land incurs certain charges. For Indian visitors the entry fee is INR 25/person. On the other hand, for foreign visitors the fee is INR 400/person. If you are driving your own car, you need to park your car in Shanti Kutir, which is located nearly 2Kms range from the park areas. Parking charges per vehicle is INR 50. If you are carrying any digital camera to the park, no charge is levied. However, for motion camera the charge is INR 200.

Besides, visitors can also avail the facility of hiring a bicycle from the park premises. The charges for gents as well as for ladies bicycle are INR 25 and INR 40 respectively. Additionally, you can also explore the park area by rickshaw, which will charge you INR 100/hour. If you hire any binoculars on the go, you will be required to pocket INR 50/hour.

Tourist Attractions:

Reckoned as one of the finest avifauna sanctuaries in Asia, every year the Keoladeo National Park experiences around 1, 00,000 footfalls including both indigenous as well as foreign tourists. The park has more than 370 species of floras, 360 species of birds and around 30 mammals. Let’s take a look into the major attractions of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary:

# Meadows of the Tranquil Sanctuary

Meadows of the Tranquil Sanctuary

Meadows of the Tranquil Sanctuary

The picturesque lush woods of this National Park are dotted with medium size foliages. The north-east region of the park is delimited by some significant shrubs like Jamun, Kadam and Babul trees. Besides, amidst the tranquil bush you will also get to notice the hardwood plant Pili, which grows on the saline soil of this National Park. The aquatic vegetation of the park suffices the food source for waterfowls. For a true nature lover, the meadow of this Sanctuary is a wonderful site to rover around.

# Faunas

Flying birds at Bharatpur

Flying birds at Bharatpur

Having said, the dense woods of Bharatpur houses over 360 species of birds, this park pulls plenty of tourists to witness the copious migratory birds. These birds flock here in the winter from long away from Siberia and Central Asia. At that time, many wildlife photographers rush to the National Park region from various parts of the country to capture some of the vivacious moments of birding. One can get to watch here an array of birds including Indian Little Ringed Plover, Sociable Lapwing, Shoveller, Spotted Eagles, Dusky Eagle Owls, egrets, herons, geese, greater-spotted falcon, kingfishers, warblers, partridges, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Bittern etc. Amongst many migratory birds, Warblers, Pelicans, Wagtails, Larks and Pipits are some of the dominant faunas that you can visit at Bharatpur Sanctuary.

Nilgai at Bharatpur Sanctuary

Nilgai at Bharatpur Sanctuary

Apart from galore of indigenous and migrated birds, Keoladeo Ghana National Park is also a prime dwelling source for various endangered mammals and reptiles. Some of the mammals that you must watch out here are Indian porcupine, fishing cats, Wild cats, Mongoose, Jackals and Hyenas. In addition, presence of some dreadful reptiles likes pythons, Russell’s vipers, cobras, lizards, turtles and wolf-snakes will surely give you goosebumps. Furthermore, some species of bats, mice, rats etc. are also observed in the dense bush of this National Park.

#Adventurous Bird safari

Imagine a day amidst 29sq Km thick lush areas, which is surrounded by various captivating birds. Sound mesmerising, is not it? Participating in Bird safari is one of the most surreal experiences that one can have at Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Nothing could be as thrilling as watching the birds from a close distance and listening to their lively sounds in a tranquil forest area. In order to witness this overwhelming ambience, the best time visit here is from the month of August to February. Bird safari can be enjoyed by cycle, rickshaw or on foot. In addition, paddling the boat may just enrich your delight manifold. Don’t forget to emerge out your photography expertise by capturing the flying birds around.

Bird safari by rickshaw

Bird Safari by Rickshaw

Note: To reveal the best thrill, plan an outing in early morning or after the dusk. Motor vehicles are not allowed inside the park premises.

If you are done with exploring the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, there are few more attractions as well around the park that you can explore. The following are those adjoining attractions:

#Palace of Bharatpur

Palace of Bharatpur

Palace of Bharatpur

This is altogether a different experience to explore the brilliance of Mughal and Rajputana architecture right after your bird safari. The constructional decor of Bharatpur palace, which was built during the tenure of different Mughal emperors, attracts the tourists to a great extent. Besides, the key attraction of the palace is its museum, which is positioned at the center of the palace exhibiting the startling artworks of the second century.

#Deeg Palace

Deeg Palace

Deeg Palace

This is one more colossal palace, which is turned to a plush resort currently. A blend of beautiful moats, ramparts and wide threshold gives you an everlasting impression once you enter the Deeg Palace. Additionally, presence of various guns and canons carries many tales of historic battles here.

#Lohagarh Fort

Lohagarh Fort

Lohagarh Fort

The giant structure of this unassailable fort came into existence to safeguard the British attacks. The moment you access to the Lohagarh Fort, a number of attractive monuments will grab your attention. These monuments were constructed dedicating the triumph of Raja Suraj Mal over the Mughals and the British. The key attraction of this fort is the invincible gateway featuring the huge paints of elephants. This gateway was constructed with a blend of eight metals.

#Rope Castle Adventure Park

Bharatpur Rope Castle Adventure Park

Bharatpur Rope Castle Adventure Park

After visiting the historic castles and monuments, it’s time again to experience some adventurous activities at Rope Castle Adventure Park. Located within 200 meters reach from the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, this park brings out one’s daring persona while practicing some of the audacious activities like zip-line, rappelling, archery, climbing and Burma Bridge. The Rope Castle is open from 9AM to 7PM and the fee here is INR 900/person that includes food and four different activities.

How to Reach

Situated in east Rajasthan, Bharatpur is well-connected to various cities of India by air, by train and by road. So, reaching to one of the finest bird centauries is not a matter of much concern for the tourists. Let’s have a look into the important modes of transportation to reach Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary:

By Air: Though, the nearest airport is located at 56 Kms distance in Agra. However, the most preferred airways are from Jaipur and Delhi airports. From airport premises, you can easily hire a cab or taxi to reach Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

By Train: Located around 6Kms away from the National Park, Bharatpur Junction is the nearest railway station. From Delhi, you can board into Fatehpur Janta Express, which takes around four and half hours to reach Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. This train runs from Delhi at 8AM and 2PM.

bharatpur railway station

Bharatpur Railway Station

By Road: Bharatpur is well connected to some of the major cities like Delhi, Agra and Gwalior. However, the most viable ways of commuting to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is by road. There are various regular buses from Mathura, Delhi, Alwar and Jaipur that travel till Bharatpur. NH-11 connects the city of Bharatpur with its adjoining cities. The best part of being a part of the road journey is the exquisiteness of the surroundings that one comes to witness on the go.  Apart from buses, visitors may also hire taxis from Agra (reach Bharatpur in 5 hours), Delhi (reach Bharatpur in 5 hours) and Jaipur (reach Bharatpur in 6 hours).

By Road distances from some of the nearby locations
Agra Around 56Kms
Jaipur Around 176Kms
Delhi Around 176Kms
Deeg Around 32Kms
Alwar Around 117Kms
Sariska Around 130Kms
Mathura Around 36Kms
Fatehpur Sikri Around 22Kms

Places to stay at Bharatpur:

Likewise its magnificent forts and abundance of lush greeneries, Bharatpur also has various resorts and hotels for the visitors. One of the most preferred resorts near the sanctuary is Udai Vilas Palace. In addition, Bharatpur Forest Lodge is also recommended by many visitors for its soothing ambience and wonderful hospitability. This lodge is also famed as Shanti Kutir, which is positioned on a government property operated by the ITDC (The India Tourism Development Corporation). Many nearby circuit houses, havelis, dak bungalows and luxurious hotels are also available where one can stay comfortably.

Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur

Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur

Some of the good staying options are recommended here for you near the Keoladeo Ghana National Park:

#Kadamb Kunj Resort

Nh-11 Fatehpur Sikri Road,

3 Km from Saras Circle towards Agra Bharatpur

India 321001

Charges: ₹ 3000 (approximately)

#Hotel Bharatpur Ashok (Forest Lodge)

Inside Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur – 321001,

Rajasthan, India Bharatpur India 321001

Charges: ₹ 3150 (approximately)

#Lakshya Palace

Nh 11 Naer Saras Circle,

Fathepur Sikiri Road Bharatpur India 302001

Charges: ₹ 1200 (approximately)

#Hotel The Park

Ghana Road, Opp Keoladeo Bird Santuary,

Nh 11 Saras Chaurah, Bharatpur Bharatpur

India 321001

Charges: ₹ 2400(approximately)

#Suroth Mahal

(70kms from Bharatpur) Village Suroth,

Hinduan City,Dist. Karauli, Near By Bharatpur,

Rajasthan Bharatpur India 522232

Charges: ₹ 5600 (approximately)

#Hotel Park Regency

Nh-11, Near Bird Sanctuary,

Bharatpur, Rajasthan- 321001

Bharatpur India 321001

Charges: ₹ 2034(approximately)

Note: The charges may vary from time-to-time.

 Travel Pointers:

  • While getting into the thick lush woods, carry the key objects like hat, shades, binoculars etc.
  • For commuting within the forest area hiring bicycle and rickshaws are advisable, motor vehicles are not allowed inside the park.
  • In order to avoid unwanted delays, visiting the sanctuary at least one hour before the schedule time is always a smart idea.
  • Before entering to the park some basic checking formalities are practiced.
  • In order to get the best view of the surroundings, boating is recommended early in the morning or during late evening.
  • Do not try to harm any flora or fauna species.

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