For all the nature lovers out there, who wish to spend some time away from the buzz and din of the cities, the clean fresh air and in the company of some of the rarest of the rare birds which are never seen in the cities, there is a place called Keoladeo National Park which is known as “Bird Paradise”. The Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is one of Asia’s finest bird areas with over 380 resident and migrant species which include Demoiselle, Common and the rare Siberian Cranes.
Situated in the State of Rajasthan, this park derives its name from the temple of Keoladeo (Shiva) and ‘ghana’ which in the local dialect means dense, referring to the nature of vegetation found here. The area of park may not be very large but it supports a tremendous diversity of plant and animal species in a wide array of habitats. These include dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps and wetlands.
The flora consists of over 372 species of angiosperms, out of which 96 species are aquatic species. Along with the birds, it is also an excellent place to watch mammals like Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Nilgai, Sambar, Blackbuck and wild Boar.
This National Park has an interesting history. In the past, this area used to be the shooting ground for ducks for the Maharaja Suraj Mull of Bharatpur. It continued to be a hunting preserve for the British and the Maharajas till 1964, after which hunting was banned here. It was declared a National Park in 1982 and UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Today, the park is acknowledged as one of the most important breeding and feeding grounds for the birds in the world. There are well-defined treks in the park which can easily be covered on foot, by bicycle or you can even hire a rickshaw. One can also enjoy a serene boat ride in the early morning or evening.
The park is open throughout the year.
• Foreigners: Rs.200/-
• Indians: Rs.25/-