Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary

A Paradise for Aerial Population - Keoladeo Ghana' name signifies the location of the temple of Lord Shiva (Keoladeo) in the canter of the Park and dense (Ghana) forest covering the area. It's a soggy green paradise, an ideal home for a large variety of birds.Scores of migratory species undertake a perilous journey over the Himalayas to make a seasonal home in.

this wetland ecosystem, the most famous of them being the magnificent but nearly extinct Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus). This interlocking ecosystem of woodlands, swamps, wet prairies and dry Savannah is considered to be one of the world's richest heronries, where thousands of birds get busy courting, mating and nesting.The Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary was initially created by Maharaja Suraj Mal, because he had some great ideas - not of conservation, but of the possibility of a constant supply of waterfowl for the royal dining table. At that time, it used to be a scrubby depression of land,seasonally enlivened by ephemeral ponds of water following the monsoons.These ponds attracted some unsuspecting migratory ducks and geese in the winter months, and so Suraj Mal decided to turn it into a permanent reservoir, the Arjun Bund. And soon, Bharatpur, Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary became one of India's most productive hunting reserves. So much so that the British officials used to vie for invitations!

The 16 square miles of marsh known as the Ghana jheel (Ghana means dense, and jheel lake) hosted such grand duck shoots that no serious sportsman could afford to miss it. Colonel Sawai Brijendra Singh, a later maharaja of Bharatpur, explains: "The jheel had islands to which I constructed little roads that were wide enough for cars to take VIPs out to their butts´┐Ż Each duck shoot took months to arrange and to see that VIPs were not given bad butts was like making the seating arrangement for a dinner party. At the last moment someone would say, "Sorry, I can't come", and you then had to go through the list seeing who should go into a VIP butt and who could have his place." Yet when it came to the largest bags, even Bharatpur had to give way to the imperial sandgrouse shoots at Bikaner.

Flora

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary has a dense forest cover, which shelters a diverse flora. The vast flora is responsible in providing natural habitat to these migratory birds and also haven of free natural perpetuation. The diverse plant species found here is a real exception to the region.

Fauna

The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar.

Avifauna

More than 300 species of birds are found in this small wildlife park of 29 sq-km of which 11 sq-km are marshes and the rest is scrubland and grassland. The major attractions of tourists visiting the park are the numerous migratory birds, who come from places as far away as Siberia and Central Asia and spend their winters in Bharatpur, before returning to their breeding grounds. Migratory birds at Bharatpur bird sanctuary include, several species of Sarus Cranes, Pelicans, Geese, Grey Heron, Ducks, Eagles, Brown long eared bat, Hawks, Shanks, Stints, Garganey Teal, Wagtails, Warblers, Wheatears, Flycatchers, Buntings, Larks and Pipits, etc.

Birding Trips in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Walking & cycling along the raised embankments offer an opportunity to get close to the rich bird life. A cycle rickshaw is another way of exploring the sanctuary. There are well-defined forest paths, which can easily be reached by foot or on a cycle or you can also hire a rickshaw that 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 early morning boat trip or a late evening one is quite an enthralling experience to find out the hidden treasures of Bharatpur.

Note:

Motor vehicles are prohibited beyond a point in the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary (about 1.5km beyond the main entrance). There's a sealed road going though the Park interconnected by a series of raised embankments. Walking or cycling along these embankments is the best way of exploring the birdlife. However, the government authorized cycle rickshaws (with a yellow plate in front) are also great, because the rickshaw puller might be able to tell you more about birds than any ornithologist. In fact it was one of these trained rickshaw pullers, Runghu Singh, who first spotted the four Sibes in 1996 (see above). The southern reaches of the Park are best for serious bird watching.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport is situated at Agra, which is 56-kms from Bharatpur.

Buy Train

Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all the major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra.

By Road

An excellent network of roadway services links Bharatpur to all the major cities of the Rajasthan and its neighboring states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana.