Location: Bhartapur, Rajasthan, India
Attractions: Migratory and resident birds
Best Time to Visit: August – February
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Indians – Rs 25; Foreigners – Rs 200
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is the one of the finest sanctuaries in the world with more than 300 species of endangered and rare birds in this reserve. Nestling in the lap of Mother Nature, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a haven for exotic birds which reside in its lush green settings. Being the only artificial sanctuary in the country, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also home to some wild animals. The flora and fauna of this place is a great treat to the eyes and completely rejuvenates the senses. It is quite a spectacle to watch such colorful birds amidst the greenery of the sanctuary, where the only sounds one gets to hear are the calling and chirping of the birds. Located in the vibrant city of Rajasthan, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary can be an ideal weekend getaway for Delhi dwellers. Read through the article below to know all about this paradise for birds!
The Keoladeo National Park
About The Sanctuary
The Keoladeo National Park/Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary was created 250 years ago, deriving its name from the Keoladeo (Shiva) temple situated within its boundaries. Even before its creation, this place attracted thousands of migratory birds because of the ample natural supply of food and water. Years ago, the sanctuary was a natural depression and the reigning king of Bhartapur, Maharaja Suraj Mal, used it to the advantage of his kingdom. He constructed the Ajan Bund to channelize the water trapped after the monsoon for irrigation. On the other hand, when a natural depression was formed, the wildfowl found a new home. Thousands of birds used to flock here for most part of the year. The maharaja found great hunting opportunities here, especially at the time of British Raj when he would invite British dignitaries on hunting expeditions. There is this one record in 1938 when over 4273 birds were killed by Lord Linlithgow, the then Governor-General of India. Strangely enough, this did not stop the birds from flying and settling here even after several hunting terrorizations. The park was declared protected in 1971 but the rulers of the princely states were allowed hunting here until 1972.
The Keoladeo National Park/Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is popular for its migratory bird population. The summer aviation population includes the wattled lapwing, grey partridge, black partridge, common quail, bush quail, pea fowl, jungle fowl, etc. alongside the local bird, Sarus Crane.
In the monsoons, water from the Ajan Bund is released. This allows growth of small vegetation that attracts the fish which, in turn, lure the birds. It is during this time that the whole park is dotted with herons of at least seventeen species. One can spot birds like grey heron, purple heron, night heron, egret, large cormorant, Indian shag, darter, painted stork, open-billed stork, black necked stork, white necked stork etc. Towards September, many migratory birds assemble in the park for breeding. The Siberian Crane or the great white crane which is seen around this time becomes a major attraction. Other than this, more than 20 species of ducks, including the Northern pintail, Gargagney, Ruddy shell duck and Gadwalls, are seen here.
The entire sanctuary reverberates with the cries of baby birds and the sounds of adult birds. The trees are seen swarming with nests; each tree housing at least 50-60 nests of birds of different species.
Among the animals, one can spot blue bulls, feral cattle, nilgai and spotted deer in this sanctuary. You many also come across a few Sambars, wild boars, porcupines and a few jungle cats. Feeding on birds and rodents are jackals and hyenas, the common predators of the sanctuary
Food and Accommodation
You will not find much street food outside the sanctuary. However, Bharatpur is famous for sweets and you will find many sweet shops around the town. There is no shortage of budget and luxury hotels in Bharatpur. Following is a list of the prominent hotels:
- Laxmi Vilas Palace
- Udai Vilas Palace
- Bharatpur Forest Lodge (Government Approved)
- Ashok Forest Lodge
- Radhika Hotel
- Hotel Pratap Palace
- Goyal Guest House
- Hotel Nand Tourist
- Iora Guest House
- Hotel Tourist Palace
- Government Museum
- Bharatpur Palace
- Lohagarh Fort
- Deeg Palace
- Jawahar Burj
How To Reach
The nearest airport is located in Agra, which is about 56 km from Bharatpur.
There are direct trains to Bharatpur and it is well-connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra. The railway station is just 6km away from the sanctuary.
The roads connecting Bharatpur to nearby cities are excellent and can make for a great road trip. You can hire a cab or opt for the bus services (both public and private) available from nearby major cities such as Agra, Delhi, etc.
A visit to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is sure to give you an invigorating experience. The colorful exotic birds residing in the dense foliage make travel exciting and pleasant. Going for an early morning trip or an evening trail into the sanctuary can be quite enthralling. Apart from the exploratory side of the sanctuary, you also get to learn a lot about various birds and their habits.