Located in the desert state of Rajasthan, lies the Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. As the former name suggests, Keoladeo National Park is an avifauna or a bird sanctuary that is home to thousands of birds, particularly during the winter season. This site was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 since it was the wintering ground for a critically endangered species of Siberian Crane, at the time of inception.
What's interesting about this National Park is the fact that it has a man-made environment and a man-managed wetland. Originally, this region was the hunting grounds for the Maharajas of Bharatpur back in the 1850s. It is said that the British Viceroy Lord Linlithgow killed thousands of ducks and other waterfowls, along with his hunting party in just a day! All the hunting activities were stopped only after 1982 in the park and in 1985, it was declared as a world heritage site.
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Flora And Fauna Of The National Park
Locally known as the Ghana, the entire region is made of dry grasslands, woodland swamps and wetlands. In fact, Ghana means thicket. Therefore, the park is sometimes also called as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. The park is home to 50 different species of fish, 13 species of snakes, 379 species of flora variants and 375 various species of birds along with a various other species of turtles, invertebrates, and lizards.
Birds such as the Greater Spotted Eagle, Bulbul, Painted Francolin, Asian Open-billed Stork, Oriental Ibis, to name a very few, can be spotted here. The list of birds will go on, therefore, it can be categorized as Waterfowl and Landbirds. Waterfowl are birds such as ducks, herons and storks, while Landbirds include birds like warblers, babblers, bee-eaters etc.
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Apart from birds, the Keoladeo National Park is also home to many species of mammals such as Striped Hyena, Indian Porcupine, Smooth-coated Otter, etc.
Best Time To Visit Keoladeo National Park
Since it is a famous wintering ground, the best time to visit Keoladeo National Park is the winter months of October to March, when the migratory birds can be witnessed. In the months of August to November, the resident breeding birds can be seen. However, the park remains open throughout the year.
Visiting The Park
For Indian Nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 25 and for Foreign Nationals it is Rs. 200. Charges of Rs. 50 are applicable per vehicle and Rs. 200 extra on video cameras.
Grab a pair of binoculars, for the park is brimming with beautiful birds! The area of the park is about 29 sq km, therefore, it is not a huge place. Detailed trails are available to cover the park by foot, apart from which auto rickshaws can also be hired.
There are rickshaw pullers as well who have been well-trained by the management to provide the visitors with information on a lot of bird species and know how to bird-watch. Boat rides are also available which can be very refreshing on early mornings and late evenings.
How To Reach Keoladeo National Park
By Air: The closest is the Agra Airport located at a distance of 54 km. It connects to places like Gwalior, Jabalpur, Gorakhpur etc. Delhi Airport located 154 km from Bharatpur is the closest international airport that connects to all major cities of India like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, etc.
By Rail: Bharatpur has a railway station which is located just at a distance of 5 km from the park. Trains regularly come from places like Delhi, Mumbai, Mathura and Kota.
By Road: Bharatpur has good connectivity by road to all the neighbouring cities like Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, etc. Buses from all the major cities are also available to Bharatpur.