Welcome to Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bharatpur) - India
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.
wildlifeThis 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.
RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK
WILDLIFEThis 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 frequent here.
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.