Located about 55 km by road from Agra on the Jaipur highway, the town of Bharatpur is an eastern gateway to Rajasthan. The Bharatpur Palace houses a large number of exhibits dating back to the early 15th century. Bharatpur, however, is famous for its proximity to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park which has the largest concentration and variety of birdlife in Asia. This 29 sq km sanctuary is also the breeding ground for the rare Siberian Crane.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Just 176 kms from Delhi is a very special wilderness - the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, one of the finest water-bird sanctuaries in the world. Veteran ornithologist H. G. Alexander spent a full day at the park compiling a list of over a hundred species of bird at Bharatpur. This is an indication of the enjoyment that the sanctuary can provide. Some 377 species have been spotted at Bharatpur Sanctuary, making it one of the most inviting destinations in the world for ornithologists, amateurs and nature lovers. The 28.73 sq km lake and wetland was artificially created by the Maharaja of Bharatpur in the 19th century. In a few years, the new wetland surrounded by marginal forests was able to support thousands of water-birds.
Every year Bharatpur waits with bated breath for the arrival of the Siberian cranes. These beautiful birds with their distinctive red beaks and facial patches, fly over 6400 km from their summer retreats in Siberia.
The forest around the lake at Bharatpur harbours the sambar, chital, nilgai, jackal, hyena, fox, mongoose and porcupine. Occasionally, a fishing cat can be seen scooping its prey from waters edge. Pythons are also commonly seen sunning themselves along the edge of the paths or at Python point.