Many of our Rajasthan and Golden Triangle tour packages enable bird lovers to include a visit to Bharatpur, home to Keoladeo Ghana National Park, which is regarded as one of the world’s finest bird sanctuaries. (The ‘Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan’, Bharatpur lies about halfway between Delhi and Jaipur and is only 55kms from the Taj Mahal).
In 1726 Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur created a private duck hunting reserve by flooding a shallow depression of land to create a wetland ecosystem making it a perfect habitat for an astounding variety of birdlife. In 1902, it was inaugurated by Lord Curzon as an official duck-shooting reserve (some 20 species of duck are found here) and it continued as such until 1964, after which hunting was banned.
Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Keoladeo Ghana National Park spreads over an area of 29 sq kms comprising of large tracts of wetlands as well as wood, scrub and grasslands. It supports more than 375 bird species, including a rich assortment of both land birds and water birds and many birds of prey. It also attracts large numbers of migratory birds that fly thousands of miles to find sanctuary and breed here. The bird numbers are staggering, particularly during the winter months (October to February), when the bird population swells to over half a million.