A UNESCO World Heritage Site regarded as one of the world's most important bird sanctuaries, Keoladeo Ghana derives its name from Shiva temple (Keoladeo) within a dense forest (Ghana). This once-arid scrubland was first developed by Bharatpur's rulers in the mid-18th century by diverting the waters of a nearby irrigation canals to create a private duck reserve. Extravagant shooting for British viceroys and other royal guests were held here, and horrifying numbers of birds were shot in a single day.
Today, the park spreads over 29 sq km (11 sq miles) of wetlands, and attracts a wide variety of migrant and water birds that fly in each winter from places as distant as Siberia. Keoladeo's dry area has mixed deciduous and scrub vegetation and is home to many animals, including the famed nilgai.
When to visit
The park is open all year. August to October are the peak months for breeding and October to late February for wintering migrants. However, whatever time of the year you go, there will always be interesting birds to see.
The best way to see diverse species of birds and animals is to make trips at different times of the day. Wake up with the birds in the early mornings, see water birds in daylights and catch night birds such as owls after sunset. Bird watching may mean long waits, so factor it in, and meanwhile, turn the pages of a good birdwatchers' guide such as Salim Ali's Birds of Bharatpur – a Checklist.
Most places to stay are along Dr Salim Ali Road, which runs from Bharatpur Town to the entrance of the park.
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