Allow yourself to get immersed in the magical heaven of beautiful birds. Birders can find no place better than this in India. With serene and picturesque landscapes, this place will serve as your next weekend getaway. One cannot take his eyes off the beautiful bird heaven of Bharatpur Bird sanctuary. The sweet chirping and whistling sounds made by birds fills your ears and takes you instantly to a new world. Located in the lap of one of the largest state of India, Bharatpur Bird sanctuary which is now known as Keoladeo National Park supports the greatest variety of birds in the country. More than 230 bird species are found in the national park. It serves as an excellent tourist spot that attracts thousands of bird lovers, watchers and ornithologists, especially in the winter season. This national park got its status of protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a world heritage site.
The keoladeo Ghana national park wetland is managed by the common people and is manmade. The sanctuary protects Bharatpur from floods and also provides grazing area for the village cattle. The reserve spreads over an area of 29 sq km which is also known as Ghana. It is a mixture of woodland swamps, wetlands, dry grasslands and woodlands. The varied habitats in this region reside a wide array of wildlife namely 366 species of birds, 379 species of flora, 50 fish species, 13 snake species, 5 lizard species, 7 species of amphibians, 7 species of turtle and many other vertebrates. It is among the most famous bird sanctuaries in the world. Each year a good number of birds visit the sanctuary for breeding.
The sanctuary is 250 years old and has been named after Shiva temple. The sanctuary like many other sanctuary in India served as a hunting ground for the maharajas of bharatpur. Hunting game was a tradition during the time of 1850s. Shooting of ducks by British viceroys was most prevalent in those times.
The area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1976. Grazing was banned since 1982. Bharatpur is situated on the edges of Thar Desert. The region has a very warm climate. Summers are extremely hot and winters are not that cold. Commendable diversity of the wildlife is found in this wetland which is a part of the Indo gangetic plains.
Usually the area around this place has a sporadic vegetation cover but this area exhibits intense vegetation and trees. The main vegetation type of this region is a mosaic of dry grasslands and dry deciduous forests. For maximum part of the year the effective area of sanctuary is only 10sq km because of the warm climate it remains dry. An ultimate escape from the mundane city life.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is open round the year; but still the ideal time to visit is in the months of August, September and November for breeding bird. The period of October- February is best suited for migrant birds.
Many budget hotels are available nearby the bharatpur bird sanctuary. One can choose to stay in resorts with picturesque views. Some of those resorts are: Kadamb kunj resort which is at a distance of 7km, it is surrounded by serene landscapes and provides various facilities like party lawn, conference room etc. Hotel Bharatpur Ashok: What can be a better way to experience the wildlife, than to live with them inside the forest? Yes this hotel provides you just the right way to stay inside the jungle and hear all the chirping and whistling sounds that can only be heard inside the park. It offers various facilities and the staff is very helpful. Another privately owned lodge is also available in close vicinity of the bird sanctuary. It offers spacious rooms that give a wonderful view of gardens. Along with all the modern comfort, one can also eat at a multi-cuisine restaurant. Hotel Sunbird provides another decent staying option to the visitors. It has a nice and helpful staff and offers good range of facilities. Hotel tourist palace is budget hotel option with minimal room charges. The facilities provided are satisfactory. With simple and decent interiors, the hotel will meet your requirements.
The Keolada national park is a heaven for the bird lovers. The migration of birds in the Indian subcontinent is commenced by their visit to this famous bird sanctuary. Before going to other parts of the country these migratory birds gather here for massive congregation. The food of many birds and fishes in the region comprises of worms, mollusks and insects. Therefore these macro invertebrates are found in abundance in the region of bird sanctuary. They play a significant role in the food chain of this ecosystem. Bharatpur bird sanctuary forms an unparalleled breeding ground for migrant ducks, cormorants, storks, common teal, tufted duck, gadwall, little cormorant, Indian shag, painted stork, comb duck, white spoonbill, green sandpiper, Asian open billed stork, wood sandpiper, darter, common sandpiper, oriental ibis and the most spectacular saris crane. Assorted variety of land birds is also found in the sanctuary namely babblers, bulbuls, bee eaters, warblers, quails, chats, partridges, buntings, Indian grey hornbill, osprey, Marshall's iora, imperial eagle, crested serpent eagle, spotted eagle, peregrine, pallas' sea eagle, short toed eagle and many other birds. A wide array of mammal species is also found in the bird sanctuary. Chital, nilgai, cattle, sambar, Indian porcupine, Indian mongoose, wild boar, fishing cat, jungle cat, small Indian civet, asian palm civet, jackals, smooth coated otter, hyenas, rats, gerbils, bats and mice are to name a few. Fish fauna is comprised of 43 species. The fish population is of great ecological importance as they serve as a rich food source for the birds of the sanctuary. Ten different species of turtles are found in Rajasthan of which seven are found in the bharatpur bird sanctuary. Five species of lizard, thirteen species of snake, and seven amphibian species can be found in the sanctuary. The most harmful and poisonous snakes are cobra, Russell's viper and krait. Skipper frog and bull frog are found commonly in the area surrounding the water impoundment. Python is found in its burrow along with monitor lizard, bi colored leaf nose bat and Indian porcupine. Small carnivores like Bengal fox, striped hyena, Indian grey mongoose, jackal, common palm civet, fishing cat, jungle cat, leopard cat, and smooth coated otter form the predator category of the sanctuary. The bharatpur bird sanctuary holds an international importance for the migratory birds from around the world.
The meaning of the term Ghana is thicket. The flora type is semi arid. Shrubs and medium sized trees have covered most of the area. Typical vegetation type found in the region is tropical dry deciduous forest and dry grasslands. Varied habitat supports the growth of various types of trees namely kadam, babul and jamun along with kandi and ber. Scrubs mainly comprise of kair and ber. The contribution of Ajan Bund that adds water to support such variety of species is indispensible. Alluvial soil is prevalent in the region. The aquatic vegetation plays a crucial role in the nourishment of waterfowl.
Spot the awe inspiring birds with vibrant patterns in one of the world's best bird sanctuary. One must keep a camera to capture the beautiful avifauna found in the Bharatpur bird sanctuary. The place is full of scenic beauty and eye-pleasing landscapes. It is also a world heritage site providing a comfortable habitat for birds arriving our country for breeding after migration. Entry time for the bharatpur bird sanctuary is from 6AM to 6PM. One is allowed to bring in his or her vehicle only till the main entry of the bird sanctuary which is 1.75 kms away from the main gate that too with additional charges of 100INR. Entry fee per adult is 50INR and 10INR for students with valid IDs. Ahead of this point no vehicle is allowed so you may now go by walking or hire a bicycle, horse cart, pedal rickshaw which are available at main gate. Take yourself into a whole new world of birds with flipping, whistling and chirping sounds of the birds. Small canteen is also available inside the sanctuary that serves tea, mineral water, cold drink, snacks etc. The road inside the sanctuary leads to the temple of Lord Shiva. Bicycles are the best medium to travel inside the forest. Also smoking is not available inside the sanctuary.
The park is easily accessible from Delhi and Agra by bus or private cab. Also the bharatpur bird sanctuary is close to the bus stand and railway station.
Air: Delhi and Jaipur are the nearest airports from the national park.
Rail: Bharatpur junction is the nearest train station which is just 5km away from the park.
Road: Regular bus services are available from Alwar, Jaipur, Delhi and Agra. People can also prefer to go by their private vehicle.