Keoladeo National Park: A Symphony of Nature’s Grandeur

keoladeo national park, jodhpur cabs

Former hunting ground of Maharaja Suraj Mal, Keoladeo National Park is now a vital haven for diverse resident and migratory birds. In winter, the air is crisp, the forest echoes with avian calls, and the chill invites prolonged birdwatching. Once the hunting domain of the Maharaja, the park transformed into a sanctuary in 1982, achieving UNESCO World Heritage status in 1985. The Ajan dam altered the landscape, making it a favored spot for duck shooting. Prohibited by the Indian government, the park is now a sanctuary for birds from Australia, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Siberia, and Russia. Legend surrounds its name, with connections to Rama’s brother Bharat and the Shiva temple (Keoladeo) within. Locally known as “Ghana” for its dense canopy, Keoladeo National Park is a captivating blend of history and biodiversity.

DISCOVER KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK

Keoladeo, a wetland marvel, originated as a natural depression, evolving into a water haven covering 29 sq km. Recognized by the Ramsar Convention, it’s hailed for water conservation in the desert ecosystem. Boasting diverse landscapes—swampy lakes, dry grasslands, scrublands, and woodlands—it’s a birding paradise.

With no motor vehicles allowed beyond 1-2 km, explore on cycle-rickshaws or rented bicycles, offering a serene experience. Birding guides enhance the journey, unveiling hotspots like the sunrise spectacle, painted stork colony, python point, and the sarus crane’s mesmerizing dance pond. Accessible from Agra, Bharatpur caters to both avid birdwatchers and casual tourists. Embark on a two-day adventure, blending rickshaw rides and guided walks for an unforgettable exploration.

WILDLIFE WONDER

keoladeo national park, jodhpur cabs
Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park, a UNESCO gem, hosts 375+ bird species, including endangered and critically endangered ones. With abundant water, the park teems with life—50 fish species, 13 snakes, 7 turtles, and nearly 400 plant species. Venture deeper to encounter sambar, nilgai, golden jackal, and more.

Yet, the true spectacle is the winter migrants, flying from Afghanistan, China, and Siberia. Once famed for Siberian cranes, now sarus cranes steal the show with their elegance. Witness endangered eagles, geese like bar-headed and grey-lag, diverse ducks, flamingos, and the elusive Siberian rubythroat. Bharatpur is a winter haven for nature’s grandeur.

SEASONS & ACCESS

Summer’s scorching blaze from April to September renders the forest inhospitable. Birding season ignites post-monsoon in September, transforming the land into a green haven for avian visitors. Optimal migratory bird sightings grace early December to end-February, while boat trips depend on water levels.

COST & TIMINGS

Open year-round from 6 am to 6 pm, entry fees are Rs 75 for Indians and Rs 200 for foreigners (Rs 200 extra for video cameras). Guiding fees commence at Rs 200 per hour.

GETTING THERE

By road: A 4-5 hour drive from Delhi via NH19 or Yamuna Expressway, or a 90-minute journey from Agra (60 km).

By train: Bharatpur is well-connected with Delhi; the railway station is a mere 6 km from the park.

By air: Agra airport, with links to cities like Jaipur and Varanasi, serves as the nearest air hub.

STAY IN STYLE

Iora Guesthouse: A bird photographer’s haven, tucked away from the main road, offering budget-friendly doubles at Rs1400 with breakfast. Ideal for mingling at the travel café.

Hotel Sunbird: Close to the park entrance, enjoy comfort and friendly service. Doubles start at Rs2260, including breakfast, with guides and transport arrangements available.

Bharatpur Forest Lodge: Prime location, 1.5 km inside the park, boasts 17 air-conditioned rooms with private balconies. Doubles at Rs4000, breakfast included. Optimal for an immersive stay.

PROTECTION & MANAGEMENT

Keoladeo National Park is shielded by Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and Indian Forest Act, 1927, ensuring legal fortification. Managed by the Rajasthan Forest Department with local, national, and international support, a comprehensive management plan is in place.

Primary threats like water supply, invasive vegetation, and local misuse are addressed through the plan. Water crisis tackled by two ongoing projects, invasive species removed collaboratively. A 2 m high boundary wall curbs poaching and pollution, maintaining a pristine habitat. Strict environmental regulations govern any proposed developments, ensuring a sustainable future for this avian haven.

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1 Comment

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    February 7, 2024

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