KEOLADEO GHANA NATIONAL PARK
The Keoladeo Ghana National
Park or-as many people prefer to call it-the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary lies
between two of India's most historic cities, Agra and Jaipur. This north
Indian sanctuary is situated in the country's northwestern state of
Rajasthan, about 190 km from the national capital of Delhi. The name
'Keoladeo' is derived from the name of an ancient Hindu temple devoted to
Lord Shiva in the sanctuary's central zone while the Hindi term 'Ghana'
implies dense, thick areas of forest cover.
spectacular bird sanctuary is historical in its own way. The Maharaja of
Bharatpur is credited for its creation in 1890, though conservation was the
last thing on his mind. He got a large area enclosed with embankments and
further divided it with earthen dams called 'bunds' creating a large number
of marshes and lakes. Thus, Bharatpur is mainly an artificial creation. The
government banned the indiscriminate shooting of birds in 1965. Conservation
efforts originally started by Dr. Salim Ali received a further impetus when
the area was deemed a national park in March 1982. In 1985, Bharatpur was
accepted as a World Heritage Site.
Bharatpur hosts a variety of
bird species from across the globe. Close to 380 species of birds are found
in this 29 sq km stretch, approximately 10 sq km of which comprises of
marshes and bogs. Rest of the area comprises of scrublands, grasslands and
more than 44,000 trees that are used for nesting by birds each year. This
rather intriguing blend of marshes, woodland and flora found here represents
and, at the same time, substantiates the density and diversity of the
region's forest cover.
400 sq. km National Park provides one of the best opportunities for seeing
the majestic Bengal tiger in the wild, though of course wildlife sightings
are always a matter of luck. There are around 30 tigers present in the park,
along with sambhar, nilgai, sloth bear, jackal, crocodile, much birdlife,
and even some rarely seen leopard. The varied landscapes within the park are
attractive and there is even a huge thousand-year-old fort within the park,
which can still be explored. Since 1972 the sanctuary came under the project
tiger scheme, which aims to preserve the highly endangered tiger population
in its natural habitat. Ranthambore has proved to be one of the most
successful of the sanctuaries involved and tiger sightings are relatively
Maharajas of Jaipur, the Park at Ranthambore was
once the scene of royal hunting parties. Today, it is famous for its tigers
and is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators
in the wild. The tigers can be spotted quite often even during the day, at
their normal pursuits - hunting and taking care of their young. With the
strict measures that have been taken for their conservation, they seem quite
accustomed to human activity and are not disturbed by it. A good time to
visit is between November and April when the nature of the dry deciduous
forest makes sightings common.
Tigerland Safaris & Tours
Ranikhet Road, Dhikuli - 244715
District Nainital, Uttarakhand, India.
Ph. & Fax: 05947 284173