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Bharatpur, Faithful lover’s return

by on August 8, 2007

bharatpur.jpgKeoladeo Ghana Bird sanctuary is full of exotic, foreign winged visitors who migrate here from across the globe in Bharatpur. Spring is the time for courtship and nesting, when all the species become lovebirds. The other seasons also have their own attractions. The rains are for breeding and rearing young, with nests across the parklands brimming with mottled and specked eggs of many colours. Once the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Bharatpur, the scrub, swamps and marshes of the 29-sq km Keoladeo was later turned into a bird sanctuary and now ranks among the most visited in India.

To take in the essence of the park, divide your trips over the different times of the day. An early morning sojourn into the park means being at the main gate by 6.30 am. Get a ticket and find yourself a guide. No motor vehicles are allowed inside and if you do not want to exert yourself then there are cycle- rickshaws and bicycles. There are lots of paths to be explored in the sanctuary, bharatpur2.jpgbut the maximum sightings are on the paths bothering the swamps. Make a particular route for yourself for the morning trip like reach the main tank, Sapan Mori, and then turn right towards the Keoladeo Temple. Along this route you will be delighted by encounters with the star visitors, the Great White Siberian Cranes, if it’s winter.

Post lunch trip is the time to catch anything in the bright sun and one of the most spectacular sights is not of birds, but the pythons. Head for Sapan Mori again, this time going left towards the pythons sunning ground. Keep silent and soon you will see these majestic creatures lazily lying around in loose coils near their holes.

The Mansarovar and Hansarovar marshes and the swamps and lakes of Bharatpur constitute one of the most important heronries in the world. For this Keoladeo is a World Heritage Site. The park guarantees good sightings of purple heron and several other species. You will see long- toed jacans walking magically across the water and large flocks of pelicans and flamingoes fishing in the deeper water.

At the tourist reception center boat rides can be booked if there is enough water in the lakes and boating season is on. This is a unique experience, as one can get much closer to the birds and is an ideal opportunity for keen photography.

Lohagrah Fort was built by Raja Suraj Mal in the 18th centaury, is a flamboyant amalgamation of Mughal and Rajput architecture over the years. There is a government museum in the Fort, which exhibits the art and culture of the region, including various inscriptions and sculptures.

bharatpur-laxmi.jpgMost of the places to stay are along Dr Salim Ali road, which runs from Bharatpur to the entrance of the park. You can stay at Laxmi Vilas Palace, Kadam Kunj, The Birdies Inn and many more. There are many restaurants like Hotel Sunbird while Nightingale is a good option for a tandoori dinner. However Sunbird can also organize dinner with a born fire, even if you aren’t staying there

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