Formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park is recognized as one of the most important bird breeding and feeding grounds in the world. It originated as an imperial hunting reserve during the 1850s and was a game reserve for the Maharajas and the British.
In fact, from 1936 to 1943, Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India, shot thousands of ducks with his hunting party in a single day! In 1982, Keoladeo was declared a national park and then later listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985. The park is home to more than 370 species of birds and animals such as the basking dragon, painted cranes, deer, nilgai and more.
Eminent Indian ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali used his influence to garner government support to build the Keoladeo National Park. It was also known as a rare and elusive breeding ground for finding Siberian cranes. Keoladeo National Park offers well-defined treks that can be covered on foot, or on bicycles or rickshaws. In fact, the park management has trained rickshaw drivers to watch birds and they make highly knowledgeable guides.
Keoladeo National Park | Brief
Keoladeo, located in the city of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, India, is an important national park mainly known for its majestic variety of birds. It is the only national park in India which is protected by a strong boundary wall. The property is spread over an area of about 2,873 hectares, where about 115 species of birds breed annually. Along with 15 water bird species, the property also supports 42 species of raptors that turn the destination into a bird lover’s delight.
The park is strategically located in the middle of the Central Asian Migratory Flyway, which supports a large variety of birds, starting with geese, ducks, pelicans, codons and waders in winter. The park also serves as a wintering ground for globally threatened species of birds such as the Imperial Eagle and the Greater Spotted Eagle. The most amazing heron of this region is occupied by 15 species of heron, cormorant, cranes and chickpeas.
How to Get There
Agra is the nearest domestic airport to Bharatpur while IGI, Delhi is the nearest international airport.
Bharatpur railway station is the nearest railway station to Bharatpur which is well connected to important cities of the country like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Mumbai.
Regular bus services are available to provide faster connectivity with neighboring cities like Delhi, Agra, Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur.
The sanctuary was built 250 years ago and is named after the Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. Initially, it was a natural depression; And was flooded between 1726-1763 after the construction of the Ajan dam by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the then ruler of the princely state of Bharatpur. The dam was built at the confluence of two rivers, Gambhir and Banganga. The park was a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Bharatpur, a tradition dating from 1850, and duck shoots were held annually in honor of the British Viceroy. In a single shoot in 1938, more than 4,273 birds such as Mallard and Chaiti were killed by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow.
The park was established on 10 March 1982 as a national park. Previously the private duck shooting of the Maharaja of Bharatpur had been preserved since the 1850s, the area was designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1976 and a Ramsar site under the Wetland Convention in October. 1981.
The last major shooting took place in 1964 but the Maharaja retained the shooting rights until 1972. In 1985, the park was declared a World Heritage Site under the World Heritage Convention. It is a reserved forest under the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953 and is, therefore, the property of the State of Rajasthan of the Indian Union. In 1982, grazing in the park was banned, leading to violent clashes between local farmers and the government.
Keoladeo National Park is known as a “bird paradise”, as more than 370 bird species have been recorded in the park. Ornithologically, the park assumes significance in two ways: one because of its strategic position as a staging ground for migratory waterfowl arriving in the Indian subcontinent before spreading to different regions. In addition, waterfowlers congregate here before heading to the breeding grounds in the Western Palarctic region. In addition, the wetland is a wintering area for large gathering of waterfowl. It is also the only regular wintering area in India.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Keoladeo National Park
Q. Keoladeo National Park is famous for?
A – Keoladeo National Park, located in the state of Rajasthan, is an important wintering ground of Palaeolithic migratory waterfowl and is famous for its large gathering of non-migratory resident breeding birds.
Q. Which river passes through Keoladeo National Park?
A – Banganga Rivers, Situated at the confluence of the Gambhir and Banganga rivers in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, the sanctuary was originally a natural depression prone to seasonal floods.
Q. Which animal is protected in Bharatpur Sanctuary?
A – One of the finest bird parks in the world, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana Natiuonal Park) is a reserve that also provides protection to species of fauna. Nesting indigenous water birds as well as migratory water birds and water birds, the sanctuary also houses sambar, chital, nilgai and pigs.
Q. Which animal is famous in Keoladeo National Park?
A – Keoladeo National Park: Home to the rare Siberian Cranes. Formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park is situated between two of India’s most historic cities, Agra and Jaipur. This north Indian park is located in the northwestern part of Rajasthan in the country.
Q. What does keoladeo mean?
A – Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park, formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that hosts thousands of birds, especially during the winter season. More than 350 species of birds are thought to be resident.
Q. Which bird is not originally from India but can be found in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary every winter?
A – It is the only regular wintering area in India for critically endangered Siberian cranes.
Q. Is Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary worth visiting?
A – Habitat of thousands of species of birds, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan, India is a bird sanctuary and a delight for both nature lovers as well as photographers. Now known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park, it is home to over 230 species of birds.
Q. What is the best time to visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary?
A – Although the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is open throughout the year, the best time to visit the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is from August to November to see resident birds and from October to February to visit migratory birds.