Keoladeo National Park/
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Formerly, a favorite hunting ground for the royalties and the British, Bharatpur bird sanctuary is now known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. It is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ramsar Wetland Site, and a very prominent National park that hosts a wide diversity of avifauna, both residential and migratory.
How to Reach?
>> Nearest airport - Agra airport (56 km)
>> Nearest Railway Station - Bharatpur Railway Station (5 km), connected to every big city via trains.
>> Delhi to Keoladeo Nation Park - 184 km
Best time to visit
>> For Residential birds: Year-round (Avoid July due to heavy rains)
>> For migratory birds: October to March
Entry fee and other charges
>Entry fee: 50/- for Indian nationals & 400/- for foreign nationals
>>Bicycle rent: 50/- for 3 hours
>>Cycle Rickshaw- 100/- per hours
>>Electronic Rickshaw-300/-per ride
>>Guide- 250/- to 400/- (depends on the season and your bargaining skills)
What to do in Keoladeo National Park?
Birdwatching: More than 300 species of birds, spread over an area of 29 sq km.
Walking through a fascinating landscape mosaic of dry grassland, woodland, swamps, and wetland.
Witnessing some unique floral species (about 300), 13 snake species, 7 amphibians, 7 turtles, and 50 species of fishes.
Visit Salim Ali's Museum
Photography- It is not a place to miss if you are fond of nature or wildlife photography. Carry a good lense (I carried a 70-300mm tamron).
Important things to remember
1. Reach early in the morning if you want to spot birds and also get hands-on the good bicycle. How early are we talking about? Try to reach by 6 am, the time the gates open.
2. I suggest you carry your own binoculars as they keep a limited number that runs out very early in the morning.
3. If you are hiring a Rickshaw, either cycle or electric, there is no need to hire a guide. The riders double up as guides as they are well trained and aware of the spots to find the birds.
4. I suggest you hire the rickshaw one side and leave them as you return. This way, you will have enough time yourself to explore. Now don't walk the straight trail, but take the side trails, trust me I have spotted some amazing birds, turtles, peacocks, snakes, owls, blackbucks, and flora and got some really good shots without any distraction.
5. Get the map in hardcopy from the ticket counter and make sure to visit all the highlighted spots.
6. If you reach the temple (Old Shiva/Keoladev temple after which the national park has been named), do not return just yet. This spot might feel like the end of it, but there is another trail going to the left. Walk or cycle, following this trail, you will find spots to look over some flocks feeding on little lands amidst the water.
7. Also, remember to wear camouflaged clothes to not scare the birds away. Keep silent and do not interfere with the activities of these birds. Keep in mind that we are the outsiders only there to watch and return, but the National Park is their safe harbor
Here is a map of the National Park to help you plan your day. Well, it took me 2 complete days to explore this place, but this can vary depending on your interest.
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