National Park (Bharatpur)Area :
1956 as a bird sanctuary, 1981 as a national park
The marshes of
Keoladeo, more popularly known as Bharatpur, was the private hunting reserve
of the Maharajas of Bharatpur. It was developed in the late 19th century by
creating small dams and bunds in an area of natural depression to collect
rainwater and by feeding it with an irrigation canal. Over the years, the
lakes attracted great numbers of waterfowl and the Maharajas held grand
shoots with family, friends and visiting dignitaries. Two-thirds of the park
lies under water, the extent and volume depending on the intensity of the
rains. The remaining one-third of the park is covered in dry deciduous
forests (with Acacia, Ber, Kadam and Khajur trees) and extensive grasslands.
On the raised ground outlining the wetlands grow a profusion of Acacia
trees, where the resident water birds nest, often in large mixed colonies, a
spectacular sight during the monsoon.
Keoladeo is famous as one
of Asias finest birding areas, with over 380 resident and migrant
species, including the Common, Demoiselle and the rare Siberian Cranes. It
is also an excellent place to watch mammals like Golden Jackal, Striped
Hyaena, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Nilgai, Sambar, Blackbuck and wild Boar.
The park derives its name from the temple of Keoladeo (Shiva) and ghana
which locally means dense, implying the nature of the vegetation. During the
cool winter months it is also possible to see large Indian Pythons sunning
The park is open throughout the year. Best months are
August-November for resident breeding birds and November-March for migrant
Bharatpur is well connected by road from Agra (56 km, 5 hours), Delhi (176
km, 5 hours) and Jaipur (176 km , 6 hours), all of which have airports. The
Bharatpur railway station is 6 km from the park.
The park supports a population of 375 species of
birds, numerous mammals and reptiles. With the onset of winter, migratory
birds from all over world come here. They arrive by August and leave in
February. Visitors include Coot Snipes, Spanish Sparrow, Red Crested
Porhard, Rosy Pelican and Flamingo. The special attraction, however, remains
the arrival of the rare Siberian Crane. The park is also rich in Pythons,
Spotted Deer, Sambhars, Blue Bull, Black Buck, Jackals, Otters, Fishing
Cats, Monitor Lizards.
Nearby places of interest are the Government
Museum, Bharatpur which gives a glimpse of past splendour. Not far from the
museum is the Bharatpur Palace which is an excellent blend of Mughal and
Rajput architecture. There is the Lohagarh Fort which remained invincible
despite several attacks by the British. Just 32 km from Bharatpur, is the
Deeg Palace. This strong and massive fort was the summer resort of the
rulers of Bharatpur and has many palaces and gardens.
The Keoladeo National Park
is not very large being 29 sq km.
There are well-defined treks which can easily covered on foot or on a cycle
or you can hire a rickshaw (the best way). They are available on hire.
Rickshaw pullers have been trained by the park management in bird watching
and are quite knowledgeable. Boats are also available on hire. A boat trip
early in the morning or late evening is quite a rewarding experience. Do not
forget to carry a binocular for watching the birds. Climate
Bharatpur is located on the fringes of the Thar desert. This marshy land has
very warm climate. Summers are invariably hot and winters are not very cold.
Carry light cottons during summers and woolens during winters. Rainfall is
less but sufficient
Standard Grade Heritage Hotel
Laxmi Vilas Palace is situated 55 kms from Agra airport, 5 kms from
Bharatpur railway station and is near Bharatpur circuit house and bird
sanctuary. The hotel is partially air-conditioned. The hotel offers Indian
and Continental food.
A Government property maintained by the ITDC
inside the Bird Sanctuary.
Also there are quite a few basic hotels in
Bharatpur situated outside the sanctuary.
MAHAL HAVELI - PEHARSAR
in 1850 A.D. Chandra Mahal Haveli. The hotel has 23 rooms with all modern
amenities, billiards room a library and multi-cuisine restaurant.Location:
Delhi - 200 kilometers : Jaipur - 150 kilometers : Bharatpur - 20 kilometers
: Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary - 10 kilometers
comments: Standard grade haveli with modern amenities