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India >> Rajasthan >> Bharatpur >> Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Keoladeo Ghana National Park Bharatpur, Rajasthan  More Images
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The Keoladev Ghana National Park is a gem in India’s ecological crown despite being one of the smallest parks in the country. The area of the park is 28.73 sq. kms. Park is located at the confluence of the Banganga and Gambhir rivers in Bharatpur district.  Keoadev is actually a name of Lord Shiva and is the form in which he is worshiped in the heart of the park. Earlier it was known as the 'Ghana', referring to the thick tree cover the area once had meaning dense forest. The national park, having the natural depression, is like a shallow saucer.

 

The sanctuary is known by the name of the adjoining town of Bharatpur, which is also the name of the king who created the park in the late 19th centaury. He recognized the potential of the area of scrub woodland that formed a slight depression, a hollow region where water could be collected to attract water birds until it dried-up. By diverting water from an irrigation canal, building small dams and constructing a system of dykes and shooting butts, the depression got converted into one of the richest wetland habitat in the world.  Conservation was, however, a by-product of the main purpose of hunting in the region, in those days. In 1901, the reserve area was inundated for the first time and a regular water distribution system was devised. This resulted in production of a lot of aquatic vegetation which attracted very large number of resident and migratory birds. In 1956, the hunting preserve was notified as the ‘Ghana Bird sanctuary’, but the VIP shoots here continued until 1964; the royal family maintained their hunting rights until 1972. A masonry wall was constructed all around the park from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, the sanctuary was upgraded and notified as the 'Keoladeo National Park'. The same year, the National Park was declared as a Ramsar site and looking to its ecological importance it was declared as a World Heritage site in 1985.

 

The shallow freshwater lakes which make up about one third of the habitat (around 11 sq. kms) comprise just one part of this fauna-rich region. The park receives water from the Ajan Bund through a canal (Ghana canal). The park is a paradise for the bird-lovers. Some 390 species of birds are visitors here while about 120 species nest in the park. The richness and variety of the plant life inside this small park is remarkable. The park's flora consists of around 380 species of flowering plants of which around 100 species are the wetland species. Trees like Babool, Ber, Ronj, Kadam,  Prosopis juliflora, Pilu and Jal are commonly found here and dozens of species of grasses and reeds.

 Orientation

There can not be a better place than Keoladeo to begin lessons in birding and anyone visiting India with bird watching as the main agenda, Keoladeo should certainly be at center of any plan. With its paved walkways, trained cycle-rickshaw pulling guides, cycling-tracks and, best of all, an abundance of easy to approach birds ~ Keoladeo is meant for birding and only birding like very few places in the world. A day's birding can easily throw up 100 plus for any avid bird watcher.

 

Siberian crane has much of the credit to bring Keoladeo to the prominence as it has been a regular visitor here since long. Unfortunately, last couple of years or more the pair did not winter in Keoladeo, it is likely that this species is now extinct in India. But, the sanctuary is not only about Siberian Cranes. Visitors still get overwhelmed by the sheer number of waterfowl and waders which congregate on the shallow marshy lakes of Keoladeo. Winter is the best time to visit the sanctuary when Palearctic (Europe and North Asia) migrants join the residents. An average day can easily throw up many rare and threatened species like the Solitary Lapwing, Indian Courser, Imperial, White-tailed, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Darters, Black-necked, Painted and Asian Openbill Storks, Common Sarus and Demoiselle Cranes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Bittern, Greater Painted Snipe, Large-tailed, Indian and Grey Nightjars, Dusky Eagle Owls, Marshall's Iora, Siberian Rubythroat and Brook's Leaf Warblers. The 20 species of ducks, innumerable waders and raptors, water-seeking birds and approachable passerines all add to make Keoladeo a birder's paradise.

 

Mammal fauna of the park includes Nilgai, Chital and Wild boar, seen in abundance while black buck and sambhar are few. The common mongoose is seen and the otter is also seen on the lakes. The jungle cat, the fishing cat, Indin civet and Palm civet are also seen but rarely. In the absence of tiger or panther, Jackals reigns the supreme and feed on birds and rodents. Hyenas, foxes and porcupines are rarely seen in the park.

 

During winter months, large pythons can be seen basking at Python Point beyond the Keoladeo temple.

 Getting there

Location

In north-eastern Rajasthan, just off NH 11 (Jaipur-Agra) before the Uttar Pradesh border and very much within the golden triangle region.

 

Distance

179 km south-east of Delhi, 56 km west of Agra and 170 east of Jaipur.

 Fast Facts
Name Keoladeo Ghana National Park Best Time To Visit August to March
Location Bharatpur   Rajasthan   West   India   Best Sighing November to March
Open From 2010-08-15  To 2011-08-15 Type Bird Sanctuary (World Heritage Site)
Temperature Summar   38°-42°      Winter   2°-8°      Rainy   28°-35°
 Map
 
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