Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur India, Bharatpur Keoladeo Ghana National Park
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This city of Rajasthan is famous for its bird sanctuary which is also called as Bharatpur bird sanctuary.

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Rajasthan Tours Travel  »  Wildlife in Rajasthan  »   Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpurw

Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

There is something so magical about being in a wild wooded forest, in the heart of animal terrain, a territory where the rules are different, where life is dictated by the sun streaming through the trees, by changing seasons and and the moody mavericks of nature. A place where we are just passers-by and the real inhabitants are all powerful and independent in their own surroundings. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is one such wildlife haven, primarily famous for being a nesting paradise, it is a huge draw for creatures of the avian variety. An ecological gem it has the distinction of being a world heritage site since 1985. Its 28.7 square kilometers of marshy wetland, woodland, grass and scrub is perfect for viewing birds unlike a dense forest where the birds and their nests get concealed by thick foliage.

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Indian Roller at  Keoladeo National Park Monsoon is a time when birds crowd around this area. During the rains the mist and the fog lend this marsh a mystique all its own. As you walk down the path tracing the directions from which you hear melodious bird calls the wind pelts you gently with acorns and leaves, twigs and sticks snap under your feet and you realize that its a world that sways to another rhythm. The monsoon is an invitation for some of the most spectacular birds to deck themselves out in their finest plumage, get together to court their mates and nest in huge colonies in trees lining the path of the sanctuary. Each bird species has fascinatingly distinct characteristics, sure to astound and amuse you. The Open-billed stork for example does not allow another bird to trespass on its prime few square feet of tree top, whereas some of the small acacia trees are tightly packed together with nests of several species. The most spectacular nests however are those of the egrets, storks, herons and cormorants who together build about 10, 000 nests each season.

The sanctuary is a wonderfully relaxing place and its tree lined paths and refreshing lakes are a cool respite from the arid landscape of the rest of Rajasthan. Some of the common sights you can expect to see are groups of ducks swimming gracefully in the cold murky water and a profusion of colour, white-breasted water hens, grey & purple herons, green & red shanks, black- headed ibis, multicoloured kingfishers and painted storks. Iridescent butterflies hover on noiseless wings, the black-headed ibis raises its wings and darts off in a flash of crimson, snakebirds in shimmering colours gulp fish down with their long elastic throats. Though monsoon has a lovable madness about it, the winters in the sanctuary are no less popular, the winter months see many exotic birds migrate to the park, the VIP's of this migratory list however are the Siberian cranes. And they truly are magnificent creatures, with bills and faces coloured a deep blood red , a plumage of pristine white and wingtips so black they could have been borrowed from the dark of night. Other than these famous Siberian visitors birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and even China have found their haven here. More than 364 species of birds have been recorded in this park. An average day will enable you to spot many of the solitary lapwing, Indian courser, spotted eagles, darters, openbill storks, sarus and demoiselle cranes, dalmatian pelicans, black bittern, painted snipe, grey nightjars, dusky eagle owls, marshall's iora, siberian rubythroat and brook's leaf warblers. The lakes here are chock-full with over 20 species of ducks, innumerable waders and raptors, water-seeking birds and approachable passerines.

Dont be surprised if you see a nilgai grazing nonchalantly or a sambar camouflaged in the ferns, or even a python sunning itself on a rock for the sanctuary also houses a wide variety of mammals in its natural habitat. During nightfall the eerie wailing of jackals adds to the deeply resonant jungles sounds. The lakes are populated with turtles and watersnakes who swim with their head held above the water. Monitor lizards scuttle around and the deer, cheetal, black buck, fishing cats, otters and blue bull are common enough to spot. A shallow freshwater lake takes up about one third of the park's area and the vegetation supported by it includes the babul tree, the kadam, date palms, khejri and a variety of grasses and reeds.

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The park was earlier called 'ghana' meaning forest and later renamed 'keoladeo' after the small but immensely famous Shiva temple at the heart of the sanctuary. The rocks outside the temple are the favourite sunning spots of the gorgeous black pythons that reside here. Also near the temple is a charming little canteen that serves a sweet and fragrant cup of steaming hot chai, a well deserved treat after all the walking and watching.

Important Information
Painted Storks at Keoladeo National Park The Keoladeo Ghana National park is open from 6 AM to 6 PM and there is an entry fee, Rs 25 for Indians and Rs 200 for foreign nationals. A guide charges Rs 75 per hour. For carrying video cameras you will have to pay Rs 200 extra. Other than walking you also have the options of bicycling around the park, a bicycle on hire costs only Rs 30 per day and even more tempting option is the cycle rickshaw for Rs 50-75 per hour it is value for money since the rickshaw drivers are trained at recognising birds and are friendly folk who usually strike up interesting conversations, they will ensure you have a good time.

Getting There
Keoladeo Ghana national park is situated just 2 km from the town of Bharatpur which is in Rajasthan to the south west of New Delhi. Bharatpur is well connected by both rail as well as road. It is at a distance of 60 km from Agra, 180 km from Jaipur and 175 km for New Delhi. There are regular buses that ply to Bharatpur from Delhi, Agra, and other cities, and taxis can also be hired to do the trip. Many trains from New Delhi (N Delhi - Mumbai and Agra - Jaipur route) stop at Bharatpur.

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Accommodation options
To meet the influx of tourists Bharatpur has got itself some charming cottages, lodges, guest houses, hotels and even some luxurious heritage properties turned hotels. For those who want to live in the very heart of the jungle, Santi Kutir and ITDC Forest Lodge are the best options since they are situated inside the park. Some of the popular hotels include the Wilderness Camp, Pelican and Sunbird ( all three are close to the gate). Accommodation tariffs range from anywhere between Rs 50 for a fairly bare-bones room in one of the forest lodges, to up to Rs 3500 for a room in the Laxmi Vilas Palace resort.

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