Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – A Complete Guide
Bharatpur Bird sanctuary is one of the best spots for bird watching. It is also called as the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. This park is a forest reserve, which stands as a favorable ground for numerous local and migration birds. The park gets its name from the Lord Shiva temple, located inside the reserve. Apart from birds, you can find small mammals like sambar, nilgai, boar, chital and others.
It started as a royal hunting ground during early 19th century. Later, it became a duck-shooting hunting ground. In the end of 20th century, the region was declared as a national park and became home to more than 370 species of birds. Top birds to spot in the park are cranes, pelicans, eagles, stints, wagtails, hawks, geese, ducks, larks, pipits, flycatcher, bunting and others. Most of the migration birds visit from central Asia and Siberia.
Best Time to Visit
Bharatpur is located on the brim of Thar Desert. Thus, the land has a warm climate, always. The marshy landform increases the temperature. Even the peak winter is not too cold here. The summer starts in March and ends in June. The temperature can easily go as high as 48 degree. It is harder to spot birds during this season.
Migration birds leave the region by the beginning of March. Spotting certain types of animals is easier during summer. The park is usually deserted during this season.
Monsoon starts in July and ends in September. The land is marshy and thus, it become very sticky and slippery during monsoon season.
The rainfall is relatively lower in this region. The mild rains fill the marshy land with water, making it look like a river with small islands in it. This makes the place more preferable for breeding. The middle of monsoon season marks the beginning of bird watching season. However, monsoon season is the time to spot only local birds. This is the season for boat safari.
Winter starts in October and ends in March. Winters are relatively pleasing. Winter welcomes migration birds from surrounding regions. The region is cool, pleasing and spotting animals is easier during this season. Winter is the peak tourism season of Bharatpur bird sanctuary.
During winter season, the park is open from 6:30 AM to 5 PM. During other seasons, the park is open from 6 am to 6 pm. Entry to the park is stopped an hour before the closing time.
Over and beyond the safari charges and vehicle charges, tourists have to pay an entrance fee to get past the gate.
For Indians – INR 50
For foreigners – INR 400
Cost of camera – Nil
Cost of video camera entry – INR 200
Cost of commercial movie camera entry – INR 6000 for Indians and INR 10,000 for foreigners
Cost of feature film movie camera entry – INR 40,000
Safari and Charges
There are three types of safaris provided in the park, horse carriage ride, jeep ride and cycle rickshaw ride. Jeep safari is chosen by those who visit to venture deep into the forest and spot animals. You can find jeeps from the entrance of the park. It is usually not preferred by birdwatchers as the sound of the vehicle can scare the birds. If you are planning to choose to ride in a jeep, you are allowed up to 1.7 km inside the park.Jeep safari starts when the park opens and closes during the park’s closing time.
Walking tour, cycle tour and cycle rickshaw tours starts 8 in the morning and ends by 5 in the evening. The iconic safari of the park is the cycle rickshaw safari. The drivers know the park in and out and are excellent guide for your trip. If you are visiting the park to spot birds and have a peaceful nature filled vacation, choose cycle rickshaw rides. There are only 100-125 rickshaws available in the park. Thus, it is important to visit early in the morning during peak tourism season.
Cost of cycle rickshaw safari – INR 50 per hour, INR 1200 per day – only two people can be accommodated in one cycle rickshaw. It is important to choose licensed rickshaws.
Cost of jeep safari – cost of jeep varies with the service provider. Entrance fee for jeep is INR 50.
Cost of cycle (self-driven) – INR 50 per cycle for the whole day (visitors should deposit their original ID proof while hiring the cycle)
Horse driven carriage safari ride – INR 150 per hour per carriage– six people can ride in a carriage at a time
Guide fee – INR 200
Registration for all safari trips halts an hour before the closing time. Boat rides are available during seasons when the water level is very high. The cost of boat rides changes every year, depending on the season and demand (usually available only during peak monsoon season).
Cost of boating tour – INR 50 per hour per person (changes from time to time)
How to Reach?
The nearest airport is located in Agra. However, people prefer reaching India via Delhi airport and find connecting flights to Jaipur or Agra or, direct bus/ train/ cab to Bharaptur. The nearest railway station is located in Bharatpur, five km away from the park.
From the railway station, you can find cabs and other transportation to reach the park. This railway station is frequented by numerous trains from surrounding regions like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Agra, Delhi, Jaipur and others.
If you are choosing to visit via bus or cab, you can easily find options from any major cities around Bharapur like Jaipur, Delhi, Agra, Alwar, Mathura and others. NH 11 connects many cities like Agra, Delhi, Jaipur and others with Bharatpur.
If you are inside Rajasthan, you can find many direct buses from every nook and corner of the state to the park. From Jaipur, around 17 buses run to Bharatpur, every day. The nearest bus stand to the park is located inside Bharatpur. From the bus stand, you can find cabs, autos and other transportation options to reach the entrance gate of the park.
Bharatpur with Palace on Wheels
The pioneer and one of the best luxury trains of India, Palace on Wheels offer a place for Bharatpur in its itinerary. On the seventh day, tourists are taken to the Bharatpur bird sanctuary for cycle rickshaw ride. Palace on Wheels chooses early morning for cycle rickshaw ride to make sure that the tourists can easily spot many birds. This safari would take around 2-3 hours and then, the tourists are taken to the train for breakfast.
Also Read: What is the Ticket Price of Palace on Wheels
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Hotels and resorts near Bharatpur bird sanctuary
There is a simple forest lodge inside the sanctuary, located 1.5 km from the entrance gate. This lodge has only 17 rooms and thus, finding accommodation inside the forest lodge is very rare. However, you can find many interesting hotels and resorts around Bhartpur bird sanctuary. The most luxurious hotel located near Bharatpur sanctuary is the Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace. This palace holds 30 rooms, which can be accommodated by the tourists. The legacy of the palace is kept intact in terms of the decor, upholstery and hospitality.
Top hotels around the sanctuary are:
- Hotel Sunbird
- The Bagh Resort
- Bird’s Inn
- Hotel Sonar Haveli
- Swaraj Resort
- Hotel Surya Vilas Palace
- Hotel Dhanraj Palace
- Suroth Mahal
- KadambKunj Resort
There are numerous other hotels of varying luxury levels around the sanctuary.
The bird sanctuary is not the only attraction of Bharatpur. Other sites to visit in Bharatpur are:
- Banke Bihari temple
- Government museum
- Lohagarh fort
- Ganga mandir
- Laxman temple
If you are ready to travel around Bharatpur, you can choose to visit
- Mathura – 38 km
- Agra – 58 km
- Vrindavan – 46 km
- Fatehpur Sikri – 23 km
- Alwar – 100 km
- Jaipur – 185 km
- Ajmer – 318 km
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