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Keoladeo Ghana National Park

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, also renowned as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary, is located in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan and is considered a haven for bird watchers or wildlife enthusiasts. The national park is home to a diverse range of birds and was established over 250 years ago. The park got its name from a nearby Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva and welcomes a multitude of migratory birds such as Demoiselle and the rare Siberian Cranes.

Keoladeo was announced as a Bird Sanctuary in the year 1971 and was later declared a National Park in 1981 covering an area of 28.7sq. kilometers. The park was also declared as a Ramsar Site under the Wetland Convention in October 1981 and was given the status of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Used by the erstwhile Maharaja of Bharatpur as his hunting grounds, the area was unofficially established as a Bird Sanctuary by him in 1956. During the British Raj, the park was also used as a site for hunting Ducks to welcome the British Viceroys which were then retained by the Maharaja until 1972.

The main highlights of the national park for the visitors are the vibrant variety of migratory birds which come from places like Siberia and Central Asia and make this area their habitat during the winter season before moving back to their breeding place. Some of these beautiful migratory birds comprise Cranes, Geese, Pelicans, Shanks, Wagtails, Wheatears, etc. The park also inhabits other mammalian species such as Nilgai, Sambar, Wild Cats, Wild Boar, Hyenas, etc., along with other attractions to see like Bharatpur Government Museum, Lohagarh Fort, and Deeg Palace which makes the visit to this national park worth your while. The diverse habitat of the park comprising of wetlands, woodland, and swamps is abode to 366 bird species, 379 floral species, 50 fish species, 13 species of snakes, 5 lizard species, 7 amphibian species, 7 species of turtles, and a multitude of other vertebrates as well. Visitors can explore the park either on foot or on a bicycle or cycle rickshaw that is the most preferred way.

Dominant Flora

Locally known as Ghana National Park, the area comprises of wetlands, dry grass woods, woodlands, and woodland swamps. The principal vegetation type are tropical dry deciduous forests intermixed with dry grasslands with some of the major found trees such as Kadam, Jamun, Babul, Kandi, Kair, Piloo, etc.

Dominant Fauna

Birds: Painted Stork, Cormorant, Egret, Sociable Lapwing, Indian Courser, Imperial, Spotted Eagles, Darters, Demoiselle Cranes, Black-headed Ibis, Shoveller, Teal, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Bittern, Greater Painted Snipe, Dusky Eagle Owls, Spoonbills, Kingfisher, Warblers, Partridge, Herons, Geese, Ducks, Greater-Spotted Falcon, Pallas’s Eagle, etc.

Mammals: Jackals, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Cats, Hyenas, Wild Boar, Indian Porcupine, Mongoose, Fishing Cats, etc. Many species of rats, mice, gerbils, and bats are also found.

Reptiles: Indian Rock Python, Common Cobras, Russell’s Viper, Common Kraits, Common Wolf-Snakes, Blind Snakes, Checkered Keel Backs, Sand Boas, Common Monitor Lizard, Calotes, Skinks, Turtles, etc.

Migrants: Siberian Crane, Steppe Eagle, Pale and Marsh Harriers, Osprey, Common teal, Indian Little Ringed Plover, etc.

Climatic Conditions

The weather is hot in summers with the temperature rising to 50 degrees Celsius in June while the winters are very cold with the temperature as low as 4 degrees at night in January. Monsoon is the major source of precipitation which start in July to mid-September with an average rainfall of 300-5—mm.

The best time to visit the place is from October to March when the weather is bearable and pleasant to explore the park and spot various wildlife.

How to Reach

Nearest Train Station: The nearest railhead is Bharatpur Junction at about 5km from the national park. You can board a train from Delhi which takes you directly to Bharatpur junction and from there take a rickshaw or taxi to the national park.

Nearest Airport: The nearest airport from the park is in Agra about 54km from Bharatpur and in New Delhi at about 184km away. From the airport you can either take a private vehicle or take a public bus to Bharatpur which is well-connected by a road network.

Road Accessibility : Bharatpur is well-connected to other cities and places through a well-maintained road network. You can easily reach Keoladeo National Park by road through a public or private transport.

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