Keoladeo National Park and wildlife Sanctuary is famous as bird’s paradise, with over 400 resident and migrant species of birds, including the common, Demoiselle and the rare Siberian Cranes. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is also an excellent place to spot mammals like Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Striped Hyaena, Sambar, Fishing Cat, Nilgai, Blackbuck and wild Boar. In 1981, Keoladeo Ghana bird sanctuary was given the status of National Park. and later UNESCO assigned the heritage status to the sanctuary. The name Keoladeo has been derived from a nearby ancient Hindu temple, devoted to Lord Shiva.
Ghana Bird Sanctuary
Keoladeo Ghana National Park is India’s best known bird sanctuary. This 28.7 square kilometre mixed wetland, woodland, grass and scrub is home to 400 plus species of birds. Only 175 kms from New Delhi, Bharatpur is on the Agra – Jaipur road and a pleasant 3 hour drive from the capital. Keoladeo is both a Ramsar and World Heritage site.The Ghana Bird Sanctuary or Keoldeo Ghana Wildlife park is located in district Bharatpur of Rajasthan. It is about 50 kilometer from Agra via Fatehpur Sikri and almost equal distance from Mathura via the other route.
The main attractions for tourists visiting the Keoladeo Ghana Park are the migratory birds, which come from as far away as Siberia and Central Asia to spend their winters in Bharatpur, before returning back to their breeding grounds. Some of the migratory birds that visit Keoladeo bird sanctuary include several species of Cranes, Hawks, Pelicans, Geese, Shanks, Ducks, Eagles, Warblers, Stints, Wagtails, Buntings, Wheatears, Flycatchers, Larks, Pipits etc. Besides the migratory and resident birds, other tourist attractions in Keoladeo Ghana bird sanctuary include the Bharatpur government Museum, Lohagarh Fort and Deeg Palace.
The Keoladeo National Park is not very large being 29 sq km. There are well-defined treks which can easily covered on foot or on a cycle or you can hire a rickshaw (the best way). They 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 boat trip early in the morning or late evening is quite a rewarding experience. Do not forget to carry a binocular for watching the birds.
Bharatpur is located on the fringes of the Thar desert. This marshy land has very warm climate. Summers are invariably hot and winters are not very cold. Carry light cottons during summers and woolens during winters. Rainfall is less but sufficient.
Any first time visitor is bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of waterfowl and waders which congregate on the shallow marshy lakes of Bharatpur.
Winter (Nov – Feb) is the best time to visit the sanctuary when Palearctic migrants join the residents. An average day can still through up many rare and threatened species like the Sociable Lapwing, Indian Courser, Imperial, White-tailed, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Darters, Black-necked, Painted and Asian Openbill Storks, Common, Sarus and Demoiselle Cranes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Bittern, Greater Painted Snipe, Large-tailed, Indian and Grey Nightjars, Dusky Eagle Owls, Marshall’s Iora, Siberian Rubythroat and Brook’s Leaf Warblers. The 20 species of ducks, innumerable waders and raptors, water-seeking birds and approachable passerines all add to make Keoladeo a true birder’s paradise.
Timing and Entry
The national park opens after sunrise, usually till sunset.
The park is a ticked one and + 12 years person are charged. Camera are not chargeable. You can get cycle on per hour rent as well as rickshaws which charge per hour rent.
Own vehicles can be taken inside upto a certain point on a fee of Rs 75.
Where to Stay
There are a number of hotels in and around Ghana Bird Sanctuary. There is one hotel, operational in the premises itself, being run by ITDC. You have the options of staying outside with three star or silimar, heritage or normal hotel. One hotel is being managed by Rajasthan Tourism too.