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BHARATPUR NATIONAL PARK

The World Heritage listed Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in India. It houses more than 415 kinds of birds, out of which 117 birds migrate from places as far away as Siberia and China. This bird sanctuary also known as Keoladeo Ghana even houses sambar, chital, nilgai and boar. The park covers an area of 29 sq km out of which 11 sq km are marshes and the rest is scrubland and grassland.

Most of the parks of the ancient times were developed from the hunting preserves of the princes. But this park's uniqueness is that it was the only animal house created by a king (Maharaja) for hunting. Keoladeo is an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva in the centre of this park and Ghana means dense, which are in context to the thick forests which covered this area. This is how Bharatpur National Park gets its name Keoladeo Ghana.

An earthern Dam called the Ajan Dam was constructed in 1760, to protect Bharatpur from the constant floods during monsoon and the arid lands after monsoon. The Keoladeo lake was born out of the depression created by extraction of soil for the dam. A very fine system of small dams, dykes, sluice gates etc, was made so as to control the water level in different sections. Until hunting and shooting was banned in 1964, this place of Bharatpur royalty was one of the best duck-shooting wetlands in the world. On 10th March 1982 this area, was declared as a National Park and in December 1985 it was accepted as a World Heritage site.

Places to See Around Bharatpur

Lohargarh Fort
It is a massive iron structure built in the early 18th century. With its impregnable defenses it has sustained itself even after a number of British attacks. The fort was conceived and designed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the founder of Bharatpur. The fort has three palaces within its precincts Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas.

Government Museum
A rich collection of artifacts, exquisitely carved sculptures and ancient inscriptions can be admired in the Government Museum located in the Palace. All these items speak volumes about the rich heritage, art and crafts of the region.

Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj
A few of the eight imposing towers still stand erect within the glorious ramparts of the fort. Especially two of them Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj are of special interest. These were built by Maharaja Suraj Mal to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and British respectively. The coronation ceremony of the Jat rulers of Bahratpur was also held at the Jawahar Burj.

The Palace
This royal edifice is a fusion of the Mughal and Rajput architectural styles with magnificent apartments and intricately designed floor tiles having interesting patterns. The ancient exhibits displayed in the museum in the central part of the palace are truly awesome and can only be marvelled at.

Keoladeo National Park
Once the royal hunting preserve of the princes of Bharatpur, it is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world inundated with over 400 species of water birds. Exotic migratory birds from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet as well as Siberian cranes from the Arctic, graylag geese from Siberia and bar headed geese from China, come here in July/ Aug to spend the winters in the warmer climate and they breed till Oct/ Nov.

Colonies of cormorants, spoonbills, storks, egrets, herons, pelicans, ibis and grey herons can be spotted all over the park. The raised paths camouflaged by babul trees make their viewing easier.

Excursions

Deeg (32 km)
Once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it served as the second capital of the region. This interesting town is strewn with massive fortifications, stunningly beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces and a colorful bazaar.


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