Keoladeo National Park. Natural Reserve in Rajasthan, India

Keoladeo National Park

Natural Reserve in Rajasthan, India

Keoladeo National Park Photo © Debojit Deb

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Keoladeo National Park

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Sunrise - Keoladeo National
	Park
Sunrise - Keoladeo National Park. Photo by Peter Steward
India is a land of many migratory birds. Every year the migratory birds visit this land, traveling thousands of miles from the remotest corners of the planet. The tropical weather and abundant natural food supplies in India, has resulted in these migratory birds making India their home until they fly back to their lands of origin. Besides the migratory birds, India also houses different varieties of rare and common birds which are abundant in India
This large concentration of birds in India has given rise to various national parks, especially rooted in those areas where these birds usually prefer to take their shelter after their transmigration flights. Of all such places, Keoladeo National Park is one of the most famous bird sanctuaries that have always maintained its place as a favorite spot for the ornithologists and the nature lovers in India.

Etymology

The name ‘Keoladeo’ is derived from a Shiva temple that lies in close proximity to the area near Keoladeo wildlife park.

History and Demographics

Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur (Wikipedia
	Article) is an artificial wetland created by Maharaja Suraj Mal (Wikipedia Article) between the years of 1726 – 1763 ADE. During the 19th century, Keoladeo was a famous spot for duck hunting. However, hunting has been prohibited in and around this region after the park received the National Park status in 1982. Later in 1985, the park was also declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The National Park of Keoladeo also acts as a major barrier to stop Bharatpur from flooding during the monsoon months. This 11 square miles park, referred as 'Ghana' by the local people of Bharatpur is comprised of wetlands, swamps and a vast tract of grasslands situated in the region. Besides several exotic birds, the park is also the home for different varieties of floral species, snakes, fish, lizards, turtles and other aquatic and land animals.

Keoladeo National Park is probably the only park in India that is demarcated by high walls to avoid any possible intrusion from the outside world.
Being a man-made natural reserve, the park relies mainly on rain for water. Also, waters are pumped into this territory from a nearby reservoir called Ajan Badh. With the inflow of water in the area, the park is characterized by dense vegetation compared to the exterior areas of the park, which is sparsely foliaged.

Painted Stork - Keoladeo National
	Park
Painted Stork - Keoladeo National Park. Photo by Amano Samarpan

What lies inside the park

At one time, Keoladeo was famous for Siberian Crane (Wikipedia Article)s that used to migrate here during the winter months, but unfortunately they are now untraceable as they have possibly become extinct. As of now, Keoladeo houses around 375 different species of birds, some of which are also threatened by extinction. Around 115 different bird species breed in Keoladeo park, including the local Herons. Furthermore, around 42 different species of raptors have also been recorded in the specified region.
Some of the common bird species that you are likely to encounter while visiting this man-made, natural, bio reserve are peacocks, pipits, flycatchers, cranes, white pelicans, shanks, hawks, geese, warblers, wagtails, eagles, stints, buntings and many others.

Besides the birds and other invertebrates and aquatic species, the park is also the house for common mammals like blackbuck, nilgai, jungle cat, striped hyena, golden jackal, wild boar, fishing cat and others.

Location of the park

Keoladeo National Park is located in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It lies around 1.2 miles south-east of Bharatpur and around 31 miles from the famous historical city of Agra (Wikipedia Article).

 - Keoladeo National Park
Snake Bird or Darter. . Photo by Partha Chowdhury

When to visit

Keoladeo National Park can be visited any time of the year. However, the best time would be from October till the end of March when the weather remains sunny and cool in Rajasthan. Be sure to visit the park early in the morning or evening, as then you may have higher chances to see some rare varieties of birds which flocks in these territories.
In order to facilitate the visitors in the park, Keoladeo is defined with clear and nice forest trails. You can cover the park by a bicycle or on foot. Another option is to hire a rickshaw to explore Keoladeo park.
As a foreigner you need to pay ₨ 200 ($3.20) in order to enter the Keoladeo National Park.

Other Places to Visit

Bharatpur was once the princely state of India, which leaves many historical remnants that are worth seeing while traveling in here. Some of the recommended places for the tourists over here are Deeg Palace, Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur Palace, Kasrra Durbar Palace, Diyalo Bangala Palace, Ganeshthan Temple, Devghat and the Bharatpur Government Museum.
The museum has an extensive collection of Rajput and Mughal art works and is surely not to be missed.

Brahminy
	Starling (Sturnus pagodarum) - Keoladeo National Park
Brahminy Starling (Sturnus pagodarum) - Keoladeo National Park. Photo by Lip Kee

How to Get There

Flight

The nearest airport from Bharatpur is in Delhi, the capital of India. As a capital, Delhi is well connected to many international destinations besides the domestic routes. From the airport, hire a private car to reach Bharatpur, which takes around 5 – 6 hours, depending upon the traffic.

Rail

The nearest rail-head to Keoladeo National Park is Bharatpur. Located around 3.7 miles away from the park, Bharatpur is well connected with several major cities of India like Agra, Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur.

Road

Bharatpur has an excellent network of roads connecting this place to other cities within Rajasthan, along with its neighboring states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

Where to Stay

To stay near the Keoladeo National Park, there are very few options. If you wish to stay here you can check in at Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Kiran Guest House, Jungle Lodge and Rainbow Lodge.
Another option is to stay in Bharatpur and the recommended hotels over here are Swaraj Resorts and Shagun Guest House.
All these guest houses have their own dining facilities and it is better to stick to them, since there is not much options left for eating outside the hotels in this area.

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Author: SubhasishMitra. Last updated: Jan 04, 2015

Pictures of Keoladeo National Park

Spotted Owlets - Keoladeo National Park
Spotted Owlets - Keoladeo National Park. Photo by Peter Steward

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