Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park, formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is a wintering area for winged visitors from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia. Keoladeo National Park is located in Rajasthan, was governed as a shooting yard in the late 19th century followed by natural conversion of wetlands.
A diverse array of around 366 non-migratory and endangered avifauna has been sighted. It is home to over 300 flora and 50 aquatic species. The best time to visit is from October through February. You will be able to see varied birds, aquatic life, reptiles, raptors, and endangered species like Siberian Crane. Keoladeo National Park timings are from 6:30 am to 5 pm in winters and 6 am to 6 pm in summers. In 1985, Keoladeo National Park was recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
History of Bharatpur
The annals of time are enthralling in Bharatpur also known as the eastern gate of Rajasthan. Formerly ruled by the Indo-Scythian tribal community who entered India in 100 AD. Gohad city developed as a Jat state which was later ruled by Marathas. Maharaja Suraj Mal built the city of Bharatpur considered to be well-fortified under his rule. It got his name from Lord Rama’s brother, Lord Bharat. In 1805 AD a treaty was signed between Gohads and the British to restore Marathas.
Places To Visit In and Around Keoladeo National Park
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is famous for birdwatching. Nonetheless, you can also visit the monuments and temples of Bharatpur.
October to January being the best time to visit the city brings a lot of exploration opportunities for the tourists.
Here are 6 amazing places to visit near Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary:
1. Band Baretha
Band Baretha is a bird paradise for bird lovers. Earlier, this place was famously known as Shreepast and Shri Prasastha. There is a dam called the Kukund river which was started in 1866 AD and completed in 1897 AD by Maharaja Ram Singh.
The Basant Darbar Mahal located on the premises is a private property of the Bharatpur Royal Family. Being a paradise for birdwatchers, it is also connected with spiritual significance. The Kukund river confluences many rivers along with Ganga.
This is one of the reasons that Kukund holds spiritual significance for saints, who prefer to start their day with a holy dip in the river. The ambient landscape of hillocks bordering the scrubby plains of the place is breathtaking. The periphery is also considered to be a stress buster for many.
2. Lohagarh Fort
One of the oldest forts that have battled the ruins of time. It was originally constructed in the 1730s. Lohagarh fort has completed its bicentennial and is running for tercentennial soon. As the name suggests, it is completely made up of iron and surrounded by a deep moat. According to a famous saying, “the fort could only be penetrated if a crocodile swallows up all the water from the moat.” The inside has three palaces namely Mahal Khas, Kamra Palace, and the Palace of Badan Singh.
The best time to visit is from August to September. Entry fees for Indian tourists are 50 rupees and for Foreigners, it's 400 rupees.
3. Deeg Palace
The palace was built in 1722 commemorating Badan Singh’s fight against the Mughals. It is famous for sunrise and sunset. The palace exhibits an intricate architectural experience for tourists to have a sneak-peak in Maharaja’s era.
The Palace is 32 km from Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. There is no entry fee to visit the palace, albeit 25 rupees is charged for the museum visit.
4. Laxman Mandir
Laxman Mandir is believed to be around 400 years old and acts as a tribute to Laxman, the Hindu God. As per the legend, the temple was created by Naaga Baba for humanitarian work. The temple is situated near the hush-bush of the city. You can sight some souvenirs for visiting Bharatpur.
It takes 8 mins to reach Laxman Mandir from Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary.
5. Bharatpur Government Museum
Bharatpur Tourism promotes ravaged ruins from the history of Bharatpur, placed in the museum with immense severity for tourists to experience the era. Located near Lohagarh fort, it possesses convoluted paintings on leaves, mica, litho paper and stone sculptures, terracotta, coins, weapons, and more. Stored since 1944 AD, it still holds the rich heritage of Bharatpur.
It has a 5 rupees entry fee for Indians and 50 for foreigners. The timings are from 9:45 am to 5:15 pm and closed on Monday and Public holidays.
6. Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj
Bharatpur is a city of antiquity. Maharaja Suraj Mal built the Burj to memorialize the victory over Britishers and Mughals. Like many other forts in Rajasthan, it is not flamboyant yet holds the aura of magnificent strength. It is a royal bathhouse with frescoes and carvings on the walls. The Burj can be visited from 10 am to 8 pm during working days.
It has an entry fee of 20 rupees for Indian citizens and 100 rupees for foreigners. Moreover, entry requires the show certain important documents for the eligibility to enter the place.
7. Outdoor activities
Are you having itchy feet? Launch into the adventure of Bharatpur with thrilling challenges like Zip lining, Burma bridge, Pipe walk, Loop walk, Horizontal ladder, Rifle shooting, Archery, Rappelling, and much more. The Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary is 200 meters from Rope Castle Adventure. The open timings are from 9 am to 7 pm. Tariffs are 900 rupees per person including veg lunch, snacks.
How to Reach Bharatpur
Bharatpur is surrounded by the outskirts of Mathura and Agra via Delhi. It takes about 1 hour to reach Bharatpur from Agra and Mathura. Bharatpur is well connected with Bhopal, Amritsar, and Ahmedabad with about 540 km, 590 km, and 650 km respectively.
If you are coming from Delhi, then the nearest flight for Bharatpur is Agra’s Kheria Airport. It takes about 50 mins to reach Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary from the Agra airport. You can take a flight from Delhi/ Bhopal/ Punjab/ Gujarat Airport to Agra Airport and then hit the road for Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary.
Delhi - Agra round trip flights are available from Rs. 3000 onwards.
Bhopal - Agra round trip flights are available from Rs. 4500 onwards.
Amritsar - Agra one-way flights are available from Rs. 6300 onwards.
Gujarat - Agra one-way flights are available from Rs. 4100 onwards.
You could also book a private cab from Kheria airport to Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. It will take around 1 hour to reach Keoladeo National Park from there.
The nearest station for the Keoladeo bird sanctuary is Bharatpur Railway Station.
From Delhi to Bharatpur it takes around 3 hours or less depending upon the train timings to reach the destination. The price starts from Rs. 95 onwards.
From Bhopal to Bharatpur Railway station it takes around 8 hours to reach and the cost starts from Rs. 1300 onwards.
From Amritsar to Bharatpur Railway station it takes around 12 hours to reach and the cost starts from Rs. 225 onwards.
From Ahmedabad to Bharatpur Railway station it takes around 14 hours to reach and the cost starts from Rs. 445 onwards.
It will take you around 15-17 minutes to reach Keoladeo National Park from Bharatpur Railway Station.
The distance between Delhi and Bharatpur is 220 km via Taj Express Highway, if a car runs at a speed of 50 km per hour, then you can reach within 4 hours without halting.
The distance from Bhopal to Bharatpur is 547 km via NH46.
The distance from Amritsar to Bharatpur is 654 km via NH44.
The distance from Ahmedabad to Bharatpur is 860 km via NH21.