of the finest bird parks in the world, Bharatpur
Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana Natiuonal Park) is a
reserve that offers protection to faunal species as
well. Nesting indigenous water- birds as well as
migratory water birds and waterside birds, this
sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital,
Nilgai and Boar.
More than 300 species
of birds are found in this small wildlife park of
29-sq-kms of which 11-sq-kms are marshes and the
rest scrubland and grassland. Keoladeo, the name
derives from an ancient Hindu temple, devoted to
Lord Shiva, which stands at the centre of the park.
'Ghana' means dense, referring to the thick forest,
which used to cover the area.
Made Natural World
many of India's parks have been developed from the
hunting preserves of princely India, Keoladeo,
popularly known as Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary, is
perhaps the only case where the habitat has been
created by a maharaja. In earlier times, Bharatpur
town used to be flooded regularly every monsoon. In
1760, an earthen dam (Ajan Dam) was constructed, to
save the town, from this annual vagary of nature.
The depression created by extraction of soil for the
dam was cleared and this became the Bharatpur Lake.
At the beginning of
this century, this lake was developed, and was
divided into several portions. A system of small
dams, dykes, sluice gates, etc., was created to
control water level in different sections. This
became the hunting preserve of the Bharatpur
royalty, and one of the best duck - shooting
wetlands in the world. Hunting was prohibited by
mid-60s. The area was declared a national park on 10
March 1982, and accepted as a World Heritage Site in
major attractions of tourists visiting the park are
the numerous migratory birds, who come from as far
away as Siberia and Central Asia and spend their
winters in Bharatpur, before returning to their
breeding grounds. Migratory birds at Bharatpur bird
sanctuary include, several species of Cranes,
Pelicans, Geese, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Shanks,
Stints, Wagtails, Warblers, Wheatears, Flycatchers,
Buntings, Larks and Pipits, etc.