The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is rated among the finest bird sanctuaries. Famous as the 'Ornithologist's Paradise', for its rich and varied population of birds, the sanctuary is situated in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. It is spread in an area of over 29 sq km, 10 sq. km of which comprises of fresh water marshes and bogs that attracts thousands of indigenous as well as migratory birds. Also known as 'Keoladeo Ghana National Park', the Sanctuary was given the status of the National Park on 10th March 1982, and was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
The sanctuary is the only manmade wildlife sanctuary in India, developed by an erstwhile Maharaja of Bharatpur. Home to a variety of colorful, exotic and rare birds, it has about 375 species of birds which consists of indigenous as well as migratory birds including the world famous Siberian Cranes. Other important birds, which can be spotted at the Bharatpur bird sanctuary, include Pelicans, Cranes, Egrets, Darters, Cormorants, Grey Herons, Stork, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Pipits, Warblers, Wheatears, Wagtails, Flycatchers, Buntings, Larks, Shanks, and Stints to name a few with. There are over 10-15,000 nests of Pelicans, Cranes, Egrets, Darters, Cormorants, Grey Herons and Storks who hatch nearly 30- 35,000 fledglings every year. The presence of such a large number of varieties of birds makes this sanctuary one of the most inviting destinations in the world for ornithologists and nature lovers. Here you can also spot many varieties of wild animals including sambar, chital, chinkara, blackbuck, nilgai, fishing cat, otter, mongoose and wild boar among many others.
But, the greatest attraction for the tourists visiting the sanctuary are the famous Siberian Cranes, who travel about 6,500 km from Siberia regions to spend their winters in the sanctuary, the only second habitat for them in the world. Dalmatian pelicans, which are about two meters in length, are other major attractions of the park.
There is a beautiful artificial lake situated in the middle of the park, which offers ideal conditions for boat cruising and bird spotting. An early morning or a late evening boat ride in the lake can be an enchanting and rewarding experience for the bird lovers. You can also hire a rickshaw to spot birds in the park. Rickshaw drivers have been well-trained by the park management and can be quite helpful in your bird spotting adventure.
Besides wildlife, other tourist attractions in and around the park include Lohagarh Fort-a strong and invincible fort having a history its own -, the Bharatpur Government Museum and the Bharatpur Palace. Deeg Palace situated at a distance of about 32 km from Bharatpur is famous for its beautiful gardens and worth paying a visit.