- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Essential India
Keoladeo National Park
Keoladeo National Park Review
Founded by the Jat ruler Suraj Mal in 1733, the city of Bharatpur is famous for the Keoladeo National Park (also known as the Ghana Bird Sanctuary), once the duck-hunting forest of the local maharajas. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to many mammals and reptiles—blue bulls (antelope), spotted deer, otters, and Indian rock pythons—but birds, especially waterbirds, are the main attraction. It's an ornithologist's dream—29 square km (10 square miles) of forests and wetlands with 400 species, more than 130 of which are resident year-round, such as the Saras crane, gray heron, snake bird (Indian darter), and spoonbill. In winter, birds arrive from the Himalayas, Siberia, and even Europe.
The best way to see the park is on foot or by boat (Rs. 150 per person, per hour, depending on boat type, though these are usually unavailable due to lack of rains; check at entrance), but there are plenty of other options. The park's main artery is a blacktop road that runs from the entrance gate to the center. Surrounded by marshlands but screened by bushes, this road is the most convenient viewpoint for bird-watching and is also traveled by cycle-rickshaws (Rs. 75 per hour, but drivers usually expect more, plus a tip of at least Rs. 50), bicycle (Rs 25 and 40 per trip), and the park's electric bus (Rs. 50 per person). The rickshaw drivers, trained by the forest department, are pretty good at finding and pointing out birds. You can also rent a bicycle and head into more remote areas; just remember that most roads are unpaved. The excellent guides at the gate (Rs. 100 per hour; Rs. 150 for groups of five or more) are familiar with the birds' haunts and can help you spot and identify them.
Try to bring a bird guidebook: former royal-family member Salim Ali's The Birds of India is a good choice. The best time to see the birds is early morning or late evening, November through February; by the end of February, many birds start heading home. Stick around at sunset, when the water takes on a mirrorlike stillness and the air is filled with the calls of day birds settling down and night birds stirring.
A simple government-run restaurant at the Ashok RTDC offers decent Indian food, sandwiches, and drinks, but service is slow.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
So on our FIFTH trip to India, we decided we'd had enough of the mess up north and decided to focus on one of the less-visited regions in search of India's amazing fauna. Read more
India is indeed a land of bright smiles and bright colors. Read more
Looking for a great hotel for 3 nights in November for a mature couple Location, food, service, quiet, cleanliness are all factors. Read more
· News & Features
After the recent debut of his Grand Cayman-inspired novel The Forever Girl, author Alexander McCall ... Read more
When's the best time to go?... Read more
The world's northernmost capital is a charming destination in all seasons.... Read more