Wildlife Parks & Sanctuary in Rajasthan
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur
This magnificent bird haven in actual came into being paradoxically as a duck
shooting preserve for Maharaja Suraj Mull of Bharatpur. He transformed the shallow
depression formed by the confluence of River Gambhir and River Banganga into
a reservoir by damming the rainwater in monsoons.
of water created shallow wetland ecosystem causing it to be a perfect habitat
for an astounding variety of birds. The park that was a hunting preserve for
the Maharaja and the British continued to be so till 1964, after which the hunting
A forestation policy of planting acacias was vigorously followed. However the
ecosystem at the Park continues to be fragile due to pressures of tourism and
need for water from surrounding villages. However the environmentalists won
the day in 1985 when UNESCO listed it as World Heritage site and earlier in
1982 it was declared as National Park.
And, today the Park is recognised as the most important breeding and feed grounds
for the birds in the world. Some species are still endangered and especially
the Siberian crane. Visitors are advised to maintain low noise level and avoid
littering the park.
The Park opens from sunraise to sunset around the year. The ticket is Rs 200
per foreign visitor and Rs 25 for Indian visitor. Vehicles are permitted upto
Shanti Kutir about 1.7 kilometres inside at Rs 50 per vehicle. After this you
can choose to walk, bicycle, or go by cycle rickshaw, Tonga or boat when the
water level is high.
The cycle rickshaw wallahs displaying yellow plate meaning authoraised
double up as guides also carry binoculars. Hotels do supply packed lunches and
you can get a bite at a canteen on the second gate and even at Forest Lodge.
paradise for the avian world, and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, it was
known as the best duck shooting resort in the British empire. But was declared
a reserve for birds in 1956 and later upgraded to National Park. UNESCO has
listed it as a world heritage site. The geographical location is ideal as it
is on the main North-South avian route of India. Although small in size, 29
sq km. Only, it boasts to house more than 375 species of beautiful birds, and
more than 132 of them breed inside the Keoladeo Ghana National Park and nearly
every year new ones are added to the list.
The sanctuary not only attracts birds from India but also from places like Europe,
Siberia, China and Tibet Before monsoons hundreds of these exotic birds roost
and nest building activities start on the babool and kadam trees of the park.
Water coming through the Ajan Bandh starts filling the various ponds and lakes
of the Park.
assured of enough food, hundreds of large, medium and little cormorant, darter,
purple and grey heron, various species of egret, painted, open-billed, white
necked and black necket stork, white ibis, spoonbill, night heron and other
birds get busy in courting and mating. The trees are overflooded with nest,
one can observe a tree housing nests upto fifties and sixties in number belongign
to different species of birds looking after theri loving young onces. The nests
on the trees look like pearl necklaces. Gracious Saras cranes, the tallest flight
birds nest in exposed and open area, both partners share the duty of hatching,
while changing incubating duties, they come together, raise their neck and give
out shrill trumpetic calls in unison and at the same time fan their feathers.
The newly born chicks are only 10cm. in size but grows upto one metre in height
within a year. As the monsoons arrive birds from every part of the country start
pouring into the park. Migratory water-fowls, including the pride of Keoladeo
Siberian Cranes form the indispensable part of Park. The water-fowls visit the
park in millions during the month of October. Rosy starling marks the beginning
of the arrival of migratory birds. The most noticeable water-fowl coming to
the park are barheaded and greyleg geese.
The ducks spotted here are pintail, common
teal, ruddy shelduck, mallard, widgeon, shoveler, commong shelduck, red crested
pochard, gadwall etc. predatory birds like imperial eagle, steppe and tawny
eagee, spotted eagle, marsh harrier and laggar falcon are attracted towards
the park completing the avian food chain of the ecosystem. Some of them like
short toed eagle, lesser spotted eagle and shikra are the residents of Park.
11 sq km Area of the park is covered with water the remaining portion is rich
with Kingfisher, Red Vented and white cheeked Bulbuls, Babblers, Quails, Partridges,Sunbirds,
Sparrows, Parakeets and orioles which live in bushes and burrows. The year round
activity of the winged beauties has made the park a pilgrimage for bird lovers
and an ornithologists delight. The animal populace also show their presence
although they are thoroughly dominated by feathers, wings and beaks. The animals
include the Black Buck, Sambhar - the largest Indian Antelope, Spotted deer,
Pythons can also be observed at some places lazing in the sun. Vehicles are
only permitted upto Shanti Kutir inside the park. The Electra Van of forest
department can be engaged in the sanctuary, although the best way to explore
the park is on foot or bicycles which are available on hire. Cycle rickshaws
can also be hired.
Wildlife Parks & Sanctuary in Rajasthan