Did you know that the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary got its name from the Lord Shiva Temple within its confines? Larges stretches of wetlands, wooded scrublands all around and patches of grassy land make Bharatpur a heaven on earth for the avian kind.
Bharatpur is the winter resort of sorts for migratory birds from the Arctic, Afghanistan, Tibet and Central Asia, China etc visit here. These include the Siberian Crane, bar-headed geese etc. The place is so unique that the UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, the Siberian Cranes have not been spotted here since 2002.
The wild animals that can be sighted here the nilgai, spotted deer, sambhar, chital, black bucks, the wild boar, jungle cat etc. You could get lucky if you can see the large rock python at Python Point beyond Keoladeo temple. As there are snakes, so are there mongooses. To witness a duel of the mongoose and a cobra is for the lucky few.
It is recorded that over 400 species of migratory and local birds visit Bharatpur. A stroll along the forest will bring you in intimate contact with over 44,000 trees nesting colonies of herons, pelicans, ebis and grey herons. Also to be witnessed are colonies of cormorants, spoon bills, storks and egrets.
Bharatpur is a short drive from the Taj Mahal in Agra, about 55 kms. The park is officially called the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Some of the locations that are nearby include the 18th century Lohagarh Fort with its massive iron structures conceived and designed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the founder of Bharatpur.
Within the precincts of the fort are three unique palaces – the Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas. Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj with eight imposing towers were built by Maharaja Suraj Mal to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and the British, can be seen here. The Deeg Palace, about 32 kms from here is another location worth visiting.