One of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is the only manmade wildlife sanctuary in India, developed by an erstwhile Maharaja of Bharatpur as a hunting reserve in 1890. Also known as the 'Keoladeo Ghana National Park', the sanctuary covers an area of 29 sq km, 10 sq km of which comprises of fresh water marshes and bogs. The favorable environment at the sanctuary attracts thousands of indigenous as well as migratory birds every year including the world renowned Siberian Cranes.
Thanks to Dr. Salim Ali - a noted ornithologist of the world- whose conservation efforts laid the Indian government, banning the indiscriminate shooting of birds in 1965. The conservation efforts got further impetus when the area was declared a national park - the Keoladeo Ghana National Park - on 10th March 1982 and was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary shelters over 400 species of birds consisting of a variety of indigenous as well as migratory birds, making it one of the most inviting destinations in the world for ornithologists, amateurs and nature lovers. Various species of indigenous water birds, waterside birds, migratory water birds, land migratory birds, and a variety of wild animals can be spotted in the park.
The prime attractions at the park are the Siberian Cranes, who travel all the way from Siberia (about 6,500 Km away) to spend their winters in the sanctuary - the only second habitat for them in the world. Other interesting birds at the sanctuary include Pelicans, Cranes, Egrets, Darters, Cormorants, Grey Herons, Stork, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Pipits, Warblers, Wheatears, Wagtails, Flycatchers, Buntings, Larks, Shanks, and Stints to name a few.
Bharatpur heronry -one of its kind in the world- produces about 30,000 chicks during the breeding season. There are over 10-15,000 nests of Pelicans, Cranes, Egrets, Darters, Cormorants, Grey Herons and Storks. The sanctuary also shelters a number of mammalian species like Nilgai, Chinkara, Sambhar, Chital, Black bucks, Fishing cat, Otter, Mongoose, Jungle cat and Wild boar among many others.
In addition to a wide variety of wildlife, this beautiful avian paradise offers a number of recreations to its visitors. A beautiful artificial lake, in the middle of the park, offers enjoyable conditions for boat cruising and bird spotting. An early morning or a late evening boat ride in the lake can be an enchanting and rewarding experience for the bird lovers. You can also hire a rickshaw to spot birds in the park. Well-trained rickshaw drivers can be quite helpful in your bird spotting adventure. Other tourist attractions in and around the park include the Lohagarh Fort, the Bharatpur Government Museum and the Bharatpur Palace.
Note: Always remember to carry your binoculars on your tours to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
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