The Keoladeo National Park is the most famous tourist attraction in Bharatpur. This park, also known as the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, was constructed around 250 years ago by Maharaja Suraj Mal. The Maharajas of Bharatpur used this park as a private duck shooting reserve until 1964, when it was established as a bird sanctuary.
In 1982, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary was declared as a National Park and was named, the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. In the year 1985, the park received the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tourists in large numbers, visit this popular national park, every year.
Currently, this national park has 7 varieties of turtles, 50 varieties of fishes and 5 varieties of amphibians. In addition, this park is a natural habitat for about 375 bird varieties. During the monsoon season, birds from every part of the country flock this park.
Some of the commonly seen water birds in the park are the bar-headed and greylag geese, ducks such as pintails, common teals, ruddy shelducks, mallards, widgeons, shovelers, common shelducks, red-crested pochards and gadwalls.
Tourist can also see birds, such as imperial eagles, steppe eagles, tawny eagles, spotted eagles, marsh harriers and laggar falcons in the Keoladeo National Park. Besides birds, tourists can also witness animals, such as black bucks, pythons, sambars, spotted deer and nilgais.
The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is well-connected to Bharatpur by buses and auto rickshaws; electric vans are also available on special request. However, the best way to explore the park is on foot, bicycle or cycle rickshaws. Interested travellers can hire bicycles from the park authority at a reasonable price.
The Lohagarh Fort in Bharatpur is one of the architecturally sound forts in Rajasthan. This fort, also known as the Iron Fort, was built by Maharaja Suraj Mal.The fort is well-known for its sturdy structure, which was able to withstand continuous attacks from the British army.
There are three palaces in the fort, Mahal Khas, Kamra Mahal and Purana Mahal. Currently, Kamra Mahal functions as the State Archaeological Museum. Some of the other monuments in the premises of the fort include Kishori Mahal, Kothi Khas, Moti Mahal, Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj.
The Laxman Temple is a prominent shrine of Bharatpur, which is believed to be 400 years old. The temple exemplifies the Rajasthani architectural style. The doorways, ceilings, pillars, walls and arches of the temple are adorned with magnificent stone work.
The temple is located in the centre of the Bharatpur city and dedicated to Laxman, brother of the Hindu deity, Lord Rama. According to a legend, the shrine was built by a sage named 'Naaga Baba'. Another Laxman Temple is situated near this shrine. This temple, also dedicated to Laxman, was built during the reign of Maharaja Baldev Singh in 1870.
The temple is built with sandstone and white marble. This shrine is famous for its Ashtdhaatu idols of Lord Ram, Laxman, Urmila, Bharat, Shatrughan and Hanuman. Both the temples are easily accessible from any part of the city.
The Ganga Temple is a popular shrine in Bharatpur. The construction of this temple was initiated by Maharaja Balwant Singh, in the year 1845. However, its completion took almost 90 years. When the temple construction was over, Brijendra Singh, the fifth descendant of Maharaja Balwant Singh, placed an idol of river goddess Ganga inside it.
It is said that the temple was built with a month's salary of all the employees of the state. The structure of the temple exhibits an amalgamation of the Rajput, the Mughal and the Dravidian architectural styles. The walls and the pillars of the temple are adorned with captivating and delightful carvings.
The statues of Lord Krishna, Laxmi Narayan and Shiva Parvati are the main attractions of the temple. Devotees in large numbers visit this shrine during the festivals of Gangashaptami and Ganga Dussehra
The central tower of the fort is positioned at an elevated height, with a shallow canal surrounding it. An 8 km long wall serves as a boundary to this fort. There are 12 towers within the fort, with Lakha Burj being the largest one. The Lakha Burj tower is situated in the north-west corner of the fort.
The Suraj Mal Haveli, built in the Bangaldar architectural style, holds a significant part of the fort. The beautiful gardens in the fort have been constructed in the 'Charbagh' style, a Persian-style garden layout. The interiors of the fort are in ruins now.
The Deeg Palace is situated adjacent to the Deeg Fort. The palace is a conglomeration of palaces that include the Purana Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Suraj Bhavan, Nand Bhavan, Kishan Bhavan, Keshav Bhavan and Gopal Bhavan.
The Government Museum is a prominent tourist attraction in Bharatpur. It is located inside the Lohagarh Fort. The museum displays a splendid collection of the historic wealth of Bharatpur. Now a museum, this building served as an administrative block to the rulers of Bharatpur.
In 1944, the administrative block, Kachahri Kalan, was transformed into the museum. Later, the first floor of this building, Kamra Khas, was added to the museum, as well. These buildings were built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in the 19th century.
The museum exhibits a rare compilation of ancient sculptures, paintings, coins, inscriptions, coins, zoological specimen, decorative art objects and arms and weaponry used by the Jat rulers. The art gallery in the museum displays miniature paintings drawn on litho paper, mica and leaves of the peepal tree. This museum is only 4 km away from the main bus stand and the railway station of Bharatpur.
Gopal Bhavan is an artistically designed building, constructed in 1760. The building entrance features well-laid out serene gardens. The back portion of the building faces the Gopal Sagar, bounded by two small pavilions, Sawan and Bhadon. There is a raised terrace in front of the garden with a marble arch.
This arch brought by the Jat King, Maharaja Suraj Mal from the Mughals as a war trophy, is placed on a pedestal. A banquet hall lies in the premises of the Gopal Bhavan. This hall exhibits a rare collection of antiques, mementos and Victorian furniture. The hall overlooks a sunken pool adorned with beautiful fountains. Gopal Bhavan is easily accessible from any part of Bharatpur.
The Bharatpur Palace exhibits a mix of the Mughal and the Rajput architectural styles. The chambers of this palace are adorned with intricately designed floor tiles. The central wing of the palace has been converted into a museum that exhibits some of the relics of the 2nd century AD. The museum exemplifies the artistic culture of this region
The Bankebihari Temple, located in the heart of the Bharatpur city, is one of the famous temples in India. This magnificent temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Krishna. The main hall of the temple has statues of Lord Krishna and his consort, Radha. The passage leading to the main hall has framed pictures of Lord Krishna's childhood.
Paintings of various deities can be seen on the walls and ceilings of this temple. The design of the temple exhibits the Brij architectural style. Travellers can reach this temple, by using local conveyance.
Bandh Baretha is an old wildlife reserve. It is located at a distance of 65 km from the city of Bharatpur. In this reserve, tourists can witness some spectacular wildlife species, such as leopard, chital, sambhar, blue bull, wild boar and hyena
In addition, this wildlife reserve is home to about 200 rare varieties of birds. In the reserve, lies a dam that is built over the Kakund River. The construction of this dam was initiated in 1866, by Maharaja Jaswant Singh.
However, the completion of the dam took place between 1897-88, during Maharaja Ram Singh's rule. The reserve also has an ancient palace that belongs to the royal family of Bharatpur.