Thursday, November 19, 2015

Keoladeo Ghana National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The History of Keoladeo Ghana National Park:

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, better known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a very popular birding spot in Western India for decades. Situated at the border of U.P and Rajasthan, 52 km from Agra, it primarily was a duck shooting reserve of Maharanas of Bharatpur and the British officials since 18th century. Maharaja Suraj Mahl, famous Jat ruler of the princely state of Bharatpur, constructed “Ajan bund” (dam) between 1726-1763 to save the town of Bharatpur from recurring floods as this region was low lying than two rivers Banganga and Gambhiri. The depression caused due to removal of soil to build the Dam was later filled up by flood water during monsoons and resulted in perfect conditions for a wide variety of waterfowl to flock here and converted into a private reservoir of Suraj Mahl. In 1902, Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India formally inaugurated the hunting reserve with an organized duck shoot. 12th November, 1938, a total of 4273 ducks were shot, of which the then Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, alone killed around 2000. A series of marble plates near the Keoladeo temple inside the park proclaims the history of such killing . The 28.72 sq. km area was declared “Sanctuary” in 1956 by Govt. of Rajasthan and put under control of Dept. of Forest but duck shooting continued till the enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The status was upgraded into “National Park” in 1981 and in 1985 UNESCO certified it as “World Heritage Site”. The name “Keoladeo Ghana National Park” has been derived from the name of an ancient Shiva temple, situated within the park and the word 'Ghana' means dense forest.

The Guide Map of KNP

Painted stork with catch

Indian Robin ( Male)

Darter tossing it's catch

 Rich Biodiversity of Keoladeo Ghana National Park  

  Though  the name suggests it is a bird sanctuary , and people from around the globe come here to watch and photograph birds mainly , yet this park is rich in wide range of  biodiversity and houses (a) more than 350 bird species (including more than 110 migratory) belonging to 56 families, (b) 27 species of mammals like Neel Gai (Blue bull), spotted deer, Sambhar, wild boar, Jackal etc and even a lone leopard was seen from Sept 1987 to May 1998, a tigress was seen during 2000 – 2004 and another tiger had  been reported in 2010. ( C) 5 lizard species, 13 snake species, seven turtle species (out of 10 that are seen in Rajasthan) (d) 43 species (about 50% of the total fish species found in Rajasthan) , (e) About 379 species of plants (including 96 wetland species).


Blue Bull ( Neel Gai ) , Female

Blue Bull ( Neel Gai ) , Male


This park always fascinates me whenever I go for a visit. "No motor vehicle after the second gate" policy  makes it more special to me. Yes here jungle safari is to be done by paddle rickshaws or in bicycles . the Rickshaw pullers are predominantly Sikh ( don't know if there is any story in history ) and are well aware about the birds English names, habits etc and hence can play the role of guide for the common tourists. But there are several  trained naturalists also to help more serious tourists ( obviously in lieu of extra charge) . For serious photography , cycle is the best option  which can be hired from the entrance .  At the entrance ticket counter you can get the map of entire park to travel your own without any difficulty.

Black Redstart


Pond Heron With Catch

Brahmani Starling

Important Information:
    A)Nearest railhead is Bharatpur from where the park and accommodations are only few km away and can be reached by rickshaw, auto or car. Direct trains to Bharatpur station are very limited . Alternate options are 
    a) reach Agra by train and then reach the park by road which is 52 km away.
   b) reach KNP by road from Delhi 
      B) there are lots of hotels/resorts/guest houses around KNP , you can chose according to your budget. I always stay at Iora Guest House. The owner Devendra Sing himself is an eminent naturalist and wildlife photographer . The booking can be done by dialing 09461643412

Sambar ( Male)

Sambar ( Female)

Sarus Crane : The Largest Flying Bird Of India

Grey Heron With Catch

1 comment:

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