Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Keoladeo National Park, is a protected area located in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The park is spread over an area of 29 square kilometers and is famous for its rich birdlife.
The sanctuary was established in 1956 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It is home to over 370 species of birds, including migratory birds that visit the sanctuary during winter months. Some of the commonly spotted birds include egrets, storks, pelicans, cranes, and ducks.
Apart from birds, the sanctuary is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including deer, wild boars, jackals, and pythons. Visitors can explore the park on foot, on a bicycle or on a cycle-rickshaw. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to March when the migratory birds arrive at the park.
In addition to wildlife, Bharatpur also has a rich historical and cultural heritage. The city was once the capital of the Jat kingdom and is known for its magnificent palaces and temples. Some of the popular tourist attractions in Bharatpur include the Lohagarh Fort, the Bharatpur Palace, and the Ganga Mandir.
The history of Bharatpur goes back to the 5th century BC when it was a part of the Matsya Kingdom, one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of ancient India. The city was ruled by various Rajput dynasties over the centuries, including the Kachwaha, Sinsinwar, and Jat dynasties.
The Jats established their rule over the region in the 17th century and made Bharatpur their capital. The Jat king Suraj Mal is credited with building the Lohagarh Fort, which became the center of the Jat kingdom. The fort was known for its strength and impregnability and withstood several attacks by the Mughals.
The Jats also built a number of other palaces and temples in Bharatpur, including the Bharatpur Palace, the Jawahar Burj, and the Kishori Mahal. These buildings reflect the architectural style of the Jat period and are famous for their intricate carvings and beautiful paintings.
After India gained independence in 1947, Bharatpur became a part of the state of Rajasthan. The Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established in 1956, was declared a national park in 1982 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Today, Bharatpur is a popular tourist destination known for its rich wildlife and historical and cultural heritage.
What is it famous for?
The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the best water-bird preserves in the world. It is popular for the Siberian cranes. It is also home to a very rich variety of native birds.
How will you gain access?
Bharatpur is well-connected to the cities of Delhi (176 km ) and Agra (50 km). There are regular bus services from Delhi, Agra, and the other cities of the country. Taxies or other private vehicles can also be hired. These vehicles are allowed in the park.
What are the entry charges?
The entry charge for Indians is Rs 25, while for foreigners it’s Rs 200 each. Extra charges are to be paid for taking the cameras and other photographic equipment along.
The safari experience at Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Keoladeo National Park, is a popular activity for visitors to the park. Here are some details about the safari:
- Safari Options: Visitors can explore the park on foot, on a bicycle or on a cycle-rickshaw. The cycle-rickshaw is the most popular option as it allows visitors to cover more ground and see more of the park in a shorter period of time. The rickshaw pullers are usually experienced and can point out different species of birds and other wildlife.
- Timings: The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and the best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the birds are most active.
- Safari Charges: The entrance fee to the park is charged per person and per vehicle, and the rates vary for Indian and foreign visitors. The cycle-rickshaw safari charges are separate and negotiable with the rickshaw puller. Guides are also available for hire at an additional cost.
- Safari Duration: The duration of the safari can range from a few hours to a full day, depending on the visitor’s preferences. It is recommended to spend at least 3-4 hours in the park to fully explore and appreciate the wildlife and natural beauty.
- Safari Tips: It is important to carry plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat or cap as the park can get quite hot during the day. Visitors should also wear comfortable walking shoes and avoid wearing bright colors that may disturb the birds. It is also advisable to carry binoculars and a camera to capture the amazing birdlife and other wildlife.
Flora and Fauna
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Keoladeo National Park, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Here’s a brief overview of the park’s flora and fauna:
Flora: The park’s vegetation consists of tropical dry deciduous forests, open grasslands, and wetlands. Some of the common tree species found in the park include babul, kadam, kikar, neem, and ber. The park also has several species of aquatic plants, such as water lilies, lotuses, and duckweeds, which provide a habitat for various aquatic animals and birds.
Fauna: Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is best known for its birdlife, and over 370 species of birds have been recorded here, including resident and migratory birds. Some of the commonly sighted birds in the park include painted storks, spoonbills, sarus cranes, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and ducks. The park is also home to several species of mammals, including spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, blackbuck, jackals, and Indian porcupines. Pythons and other reptiles can also be spotted in the park.
Apart from these, the park also has a large population of insects and other invertebrates, including butterflies, dragonflies, and spiders. The park’s wetlands provide a habitat for a variety of aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles, and water snakes.
Overall, the rich biodiversity of Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary makes it a popular destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Things to do
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the things to do at the park:
- Birdwatching: Birdwatching is the most popular activity in the park, and visitors can spot a wide variety of resident and migratory birds. Visitors can hire a guide or explore the park on their own.
- Wildlife Safari: Visitors can take a guided cycle-rickshaw safari or walk through the park to see the diverse range of flora and fauna.
- Photography: The park offers stunning opportunities for wildlife and nature photography. Visitors can capture the beauty of the birds and other animals in their natural habitats.
- Nature Walks: Visitors can take leisurely walks through the park and enjoy the serene beauty of the wetlands and forests.
- Boating: Visitors can also enjoy boating in the park’s water bodies to get a closer look at the aquatic birds and other wildlife.
- Visit nearby attractions: Visitors can also explore the nearby attractions like the Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur Palace, and the Deeg Palace, which offer a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
- Visit nearby towns: Visitors can also take day trips to nearby towns like Mathura and Agra, which are known for their historical and religious significance.
Overall, Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary offers a perfect getaway for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts who want to experience the beauty and biodiversity of the region.
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Rajasthan, which is known for its rich cultural heritage and historical significance. Here are some nearby attractions that visitors can explore:
Lohagarh Fort, located in Bharatpur, is a historic fort that was built in the 18th century. The fort was known for its impenetrable defenses and is a popular tourist attraction.
The Bharatpur Palace is a magnificent palace that was built in the 18th century by the Jat rulers. The palace has now been converted into a museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and artworks from the region’s rich cultural heritage.
Deeg Palace, located about 32 kilometers from Bharatpur, is a historic palace that was built in the 18th century. The palace has a beautiful garden, which is known for its fountains and waterworks.
Mathura, located about 40 kilometers from Bharatpur, is a historic city that is known for its religious significance. It is considered one of the seven holy cities in Hinduism and is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
Agra, located about 56 kilometers from Bharatpur, is home to the world-famous Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Agra is also known for its rich Mughal architecture, including the Agra Fort and the Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb.
These nearby attractions offer visitors a chance to explore the rich cultural heritage and historical significance of the region, making a trip to Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary a truly memorable experience.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary:
Q: What is the best time to visit Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary?
A: The best time to visit Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is between October and February, during the winter season when the weather is pleasant and the migratory birds arrive in large numbers.
Q: How do I get to Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary?
A: Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is well connected by road and rail. The nearest airport is in Agra, which is about 56 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is Bharatpur Junction, which is well connected to major cities in India.
Q: Do I need to book a safari in advance?
A: It is advisable to book a safari in advance, especially during the peak season, as the park limits the number of visitors to preserve the natural habitat.
Q: Are there any restrictions on entry into the park?
A: Yes, there are some restrictions on entry into the park. Visitors are not allowed to bring any plastic bags or food items into the park. Smoking and drinking are also not permitted in the park.
Q: Is it safe to visit the park?
A: Yes, it is generally safe to visit the park. However, visitors are advised to follow the rules and guidelines provided by the park authorities and take necessary precautions to avoid any mishaps.
Q: What is the duration of the safari in Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary?
A: The duration of the safari depends on the type of safari you choose. A cycle-rickshaw safari usually takes around 2-3 hours, while a walking safari can take up to 5 hours. Boating safaris also vary in duration depending on the package.
Q: Are there any accommodations available in the park?
A: Yes, there are a few accommodations available in the park, including forest lodges and guesthouses run by the park authorities. There are also many hotels and resorts in nearby towns and cities.
Where to Stay
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, including forest lodges and guesthouses run by the park authorities. Here are some of the options:
- Forest Rest Houses: Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary offers several forest rest houses that are located within the park. These rest houses offer basic amenities and are an excellent option for visitors who want to stay close to the wildlife.
- Government-run Guest Houses: The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation operates several guesthouses near the park that offer comfortable accommodations at reasonable rates.
- Private Hotels and Resorts: There are several private hotels and resorts located in and around Bharatpur that offer a range of amenities and services, including swimming pools, restaurants, and spa facilities.
Some of the popular hotels and resorts near the park include The Bagh, Kadamb Kunj Resort, and The Birder’s Inn.
Visitors can choose from a range of accommodation options based on their budget and preferences. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak season, to avoid any inconvenience.