Located in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a jewel in the wildlife crown of India. Also known as Keoladeo Bird Park, this wetland is one of the richest bird areas in the world with visiting migratory birds including the rare Siberian cranes. Here is an ultimate guide to exploring the most revered Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Spread over an area of 28.73 km², the sanctuary is also a World Heritage Site. It has a pretty straight map inside and well demarcated too. However, you should keep few things in mind.
- Carry food and water. Choices are limited in canteens.
- Keep yourself hydrated irrespective the weather.
- Wear good sports shoes and comfy apparels.
- Carry woolen caps and wear sufficient warm clothes if visiting during winters.
- Sunglasses, hats, caps and cotton apparels are recommended for summer visit.
- Mornings are the best time of the day to visit the the park.
Touring the bird sanctuary
There are several modes of transport inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary:
- Battery operated carts for large groups.
- Bicycles for individuals at Rs. 50 per hour.
- Rickshaw that ferries 2-3 people at Rs. 150 per hour.
Always hire a rickshaw which is authorized by the forest authority. They have a small board fixed on the rickshaw. Generally they are trained and have more knowledge of birds than anyone else. The local rickshaws also are allowed to ferry passengers but they do not have any sign board or marking. Unfortunately we hired a local one who knew nothing about the park.
Rickshaw or no rickshaw?
The rates are non-negotiable as they are fixed by the forest authorities. But if you hire a rickshaw for the whole day, you end up paying more than Rs 1500. Above all, the rickshaw puller would only wait at one spot while all the physical labor would be yours. If your rickshaw-driver is helpful and shares his knowledge of birds, the price is actually worth it. Since our driver was blank and not ready to help sighting birds, we paid him for one hour and abandoned the ride. Though he got angry and almost picked up a fight, stopping the ride was at our discretion.
The route inside
Siberian cranes are found at the water bodies and all bird watchers or film makers huddle up near the river banks. The rickshaw driver would wait for you at one dedicated spot and ferry you further when you want.
The distance from the entrance gate to the waiting spot is around 4.2 km. We walked this distance while returning as we follow a fitness schedule everyday and we love to walk. You can keep your rickshaw waiting if you don’t want to walk).
Bicycles are hence better any day. The downside is that you’ll have no assistance unless you hire a nature guide. Additionally, bicycles are cumbersome if you are carrying heavy gadgets/gears.
What to see/expect?
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a great destination for all age groups, largely children. If birds and nature excite you, this is the ultimate place.
Home to around 300 species of birds and lot of flora, the place is full of happy chirps and hues. From Kingfisher to eagle, peacocks to herons, you can feast your eyes with these beauties.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a haven for migratory birds across the globe. Especially esteemed for Siberian Cranes that fly thousands of miles from a different continent in winters, the park sees huge footfall from December to February.
The park also has a museum Salim Ali Visitor Interpretation Centre built in the honor of Dr. Salim Ali. who was passionate for birds. Under his able leadership the ‘Keoladeo National Park Ecology Project’ was launched in 1980, to which he was the principal investigator till his death.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Avoid wearing loud perfumes or deodorants. These disturb the birds.
- Loud noise scares the birds. Refrain making loud noise or playing music.
- The park is a no vehicle zone. Park your cars in the parking area at a flat rate of Rs. 100.
- Unknown depth, water snakes/insects and diseases do not warn before striking. Therefore, do not jump into water bodies.
- Do not disturb or hit fauna. Doing so attracts heavy penalty.
- Be responsible. Do not litter the park.
Entrance and guide fee
How to reach Bharatpur
From Mathura– Drive via Bharatpur-Mathura Road for 40 km. Keep following the sign boards on the straight road. Moreover, there’re barely any turns except in the last 15 minutes of the journey while entering Bharatpur.
From Delhi– Drive for 230 km via Taj Yamuna Expressway. The highway is well maintained and your journey will be butter smooth.
From Jaipur– Drive for 183 Km via NH 11.
From Agra – Drive for 53 Km via Bichpuri Road.
There are lot of trains available from Delhi to Bharatpur Junction. Browse for the most suitable train here https://indiarailinfo.com/search/ndls-new-delhi-to-bte-bharatpur-junction/664/0/982. You can search for trains from your city.
From the railway station, you can hire a local cab or vehicle for the bird sanctuary which is 6 km away.
There are no direct flights from other major cities of India to Bharatpur. Nearest airport is Kheria Airport in Agra located 49 km away.
PS- By the way this post made it to Indiblogger home page in the “Popular post of the day” list.