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
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
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.
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
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
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.