Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful states of India. Every year thousands and thousands of tourists come here for honeymoon, for family trip, pilgrimage and the list goes on. One of the important tourist sectors is the wildlife conservation of the state. It has a number of sanctuaries and national parks. Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo bird sanctuary is one of the important bird sanctuaries in India that is famous for Siberian Crane.
Interesting facts: Keoladeo bird sanctuary is also known as Keoladeo Ghana bird sanctuary or Bharatpur bird sanctuary. Many ornithologists and environmentalists visit the sanctuary. Every year before the advent of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, a number of birds travel across the cold land of Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet and the higher altitudinal areas of Eastern Europe to the warmer land of India.
Among the many places of India, these birds prefer to stay in Bharatpur that is located in Rajasthan. That is why the sanctuary was named as Bharatpur bird sanctuary in the distant past.
The term Keoladeo Ghana National Park, as it is popularly known today is derived from the name of a Shiva temple (Keoladeo temple). This temple is situated in the central area of the park. The Hindi word 'ghana' means thick forests.
Rajasthan is the land of Rajas and Maharajas. It is very interesting to note that this sanctuary was established by the Maharaja of Bharatpur in the year 1890 only for some entertainment purpose. The creation of lakes and marshes attracted the migratory birds. Poaching was banned by the Indian Government and the area was declared as a national park in March 1982. Late in the year 1985, it was accepted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Area and location:
The park covers a total area of 29 sq. km. It is situated in Bharatpur that lies between Agra and Jaipur.
Keoladeo National Park is home to a number of migratory birds, animals and reptiles. You will find more than 350 species of birds that include both migratory and resident birds. The fashionable Siberian is the focus here which is famous for flying to 2 destinations in winter- Bharatpur and Iran.
Other avifauna species includes Hawks, Wheatears, Geese, Pelicans, Ibises, Eagles, Egrets, Ducks, Warblers, Flycatchers, Larks, Buntings, Shanks, Stints, Wagtails and Pipits.
Many tourists also like to watch the faunal species like Fishing Cat, Striped Hyena, Nilgai, Jungle Cat, Sambar, Wild Boar, Golden Jackal and Blackbuck. Reptiles such as huge python also are found here.
Best time to visit:
The sanctuary remains open throughout the year. Yet the period between October and February is the ideal time to watch the winged creatures. If you want to go for some sightseeing along with touring the wildlife, then the months from November to March would be the best.
You can stay at Laxmi Vilas Heritage Palace, Hotel Chandra Mahal Haveli, Bagh Resort, etc. Otherwise you can choose from budget and luxury hotels in Jaipur and Delhi as both of these places are at an equal distance from the park.
Agra at a distance of 54 km is the nearest airport. You can board direct flights from Delhi to Agra or Jaipur. From the airport, you can avail bus or auto service to reach the park.
Bharatpur which is connected to Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai is the nearest railway station. Thus you can travel from any part of the country.
If you want to travel by road, take route from Delhi National Highway-2 and then the state road from Mathura to Bharatpur. The national park is 4 hrs drive from Jaipur and the same from Delhi also.
Some extra dose:
If all these fail to satiate your mind, then there is something more for you. You can visit the nearby places like Alwar that is regarded as the gateway of Rajasthan. Other places are Govardhan, Mahaban, Mahwa, Barsana, Dholpur, etc. Taking a bicycle or rickshaw ride within the park area would be a privilege for you. The vehicles can be hired from the office of the wildlife authorizes located at the main gate of the park. You can also opt for boating.
Wildlife view, joyous rides and scenic beauty in Keoladeo National Park- what else for a pleasure trip?