Keoladeo National Park, earlier known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the most significant avifauna sanctuaries listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. The 29 km reserve is a paradise for birdwatchers. There are a large number of various species residing in the sanctuary. A variety of birds, flowers, fish, snakes, turtles and other amphibians leaves every visitor wonderstruck. Thousands of migratory birds visit the sanctuary for winter breeding and are essentially the quintessential feature of this iconic location.
Bharatpur national park is a man-made establishment that is home to a large number of bird species. The migratory birds that come here for winter breeding also include waterfowl. Once a favorite hunting spot for the British and the Rajas of the pre-Independence era, the Bharatpur sanctuary is now instrumental in the existence of various bird species and its protection from extinction.
Bharatpur safari is undoubtedly one of a kind experience. To explore the various species of birds, animals, and flora, there is no better option than to take part in this great safari. There are essentially 3 basic options when it comes to safari at Bharatpur sanctuary. These are elephant back safari, jeep safari, and rickshaw safari. Apart from this, visitors can also rent bicycles from the entrance of the sanctuary to explore the area. However, jeep safaris are the most comfortable and the best means to truly absorb the essence of this splendid location. Situated amid a semi-parched landscape, the sanctuary consists of artificial swamps, tropical and deciduous woodlands, meadows, and bushes.
It is generally acclaimed for feathered creatures but, houses a rich assortment of different animal species, for example, 27 mammalian species, 43 sorts of fish and different reptiles, and other bigger animals. Attributable to countless swamps and other water bodies inside the regions, the sanctuary has an immense assortment of waterfowl, both occupant as well as migratory. The bird sanctuary also has more than 370 fowl species. It is the main migrational ground for the Siberian Cranes, an endangered species. A portion of the feathered creatures here incorporate Cranes, Pelicans, Geese, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Shanks, Stints, Wagtails, Warblers, Wheatears, Flycatchers, Buntings, Larks, and Pipits. The location also boasts rich vegetation which includes Jamun, babul, Kadam, babul, ber, kair, piloo, and Kandi. Also, if you are someone who is not physically at the best space, it is wise to pass the elephant back safari.
Cost and Timing of Safari
The timing of safaris is usually between 6 in the morning till 6 in the evening. The Safari fee for Indian tourists is only INR 25 while for foreign tourists, it is INR 200. Rickshaw safari which is available of you wants to embark on the safari alone costs about INR 800-1000. Private vehicles are allowed up to Shanti Kutir which is approximately 2 km from the main entrance of the park. The charges for this trip are about INR 50.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and its History
The park has been to exist for about 250 years now. Earlier it was a hunting ground for the British officials and the Maharajas. The location was famous for hosting a duck shooting event for the viceroys even well into the 1850s. Following its declaration as a bird sanctuary on March 13, 1976 hunting was prohibited and became a punishable offense. On 10 March 1982, the government declared it a national park.
UNESCO declared a world heritage site in 1985 due to the dedication and systematic planning and execution by the authorities. However, the national park been a topic for the clash between the government and the locals of the area, especially the cattle farmers. The Rajasthan government’s decision of banning cattle grazing in the area was highly criticized. After the initial resentment, the area is now a popular tourist hotspot in addition to being an important ecological resource.
How to Reach Bharatpur
The nearest airport is at Agra, which is 56kms from Bharatpur. Delhi is 184kms from Bharatpur. Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all the major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Agra. The Bharatpur railway station is about 5 km from the park/bird sanctuary. An excellent network of roads connects Bharatpur to all the major cities of the Rajasthan and the neighboring states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana.
Essential Information Before Your Visit
There are three options to take the safari. However, to get the best views of birds, elephant back safari and rickshaw safari is ideal. In contrast, if you want to penetrate deep into the jungles, jeep safari is the best option. You can book Jeeps at the tourist centers outside the main entrance of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
It is better to reach half an hour before the stipulated time as the entry procedures and formalities tend to take up a bit of time.
The month of August to November is a breeding ground for resident birds. While October to February witness migratory birds making this place their home. Hence it is the best time to visit the sanctuary and witness the spectacular plumage of various species in the display.
Also, it is best to practice caution during the safari and listen to every instruction that your guide gives.
We do not remember the days; we only remember the moments and experiences. If nothing else, a Bharatpur sanctuary safari will deliver that, at the very least. A few unforgettable moments. Pack your backpacks, cherish the moments.