Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, BharatpurThe Keoladeo Ghana National Park, better known as the Bharatpur Sanctuary in Bharatpur, is shelter to a variety of avian fauna. Over 300 species of birds, both migratory and indigenous, constitute the variety this sanctuary has to offer. The park is a small area, spanning around 30 sq. kms of land so walking is probably the best option. An ancient Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, stands at the middle of the park, hence the name Keoladeo. Ghana means dense forest cover. Home to the Sambar, Nilgai and Boar, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985.

The Bharatpur National Park has an interesting history of its' own. The Ajwan Dam was constructed to save the city of Bharatpur from regular floods. The depression that formed as a result of mud excavation gave rise to the Bharatpur Lake. This lake was divided into several sections, to control irregular water levels. With time, this counted as one of the best duck-shooting wetlands in the country and received royal patronage. Indiscriminate shooting arose as a grave concern and the Government banned any further activity that could endanger the environment. The park however is probably the only instance of a royal family instrumental in the making of the zone. The conservation efforts of Dr. Salim Ali bore fruit when it was deemed a National Park in 1982 and attained world heritage status later. Cranes, Hawks, Shanks, Wagtails, Flycatchers are among the avian inhabitants of this zone. Boat trips and bird-watching trips are welcome additions to the trip.

When to visit

The Keoladeo National Park is open throughout the year but October-February is the best time to visit. It is also the season when the Siberian variety of migratory birds announces its arrival. Bharatpur is easily accessible by road and train. Agra is the nearest airport.

It is little surprise that this bio-diversity hotspot is among the major tourist attractions in Rajasthan. Wildlife enthusiasts in particular are in for an absolute treat.


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