Keoladeo National Park (AKA Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) is a former royal duck-hunting spot that today hosts some 350-odd of species of migratory birds throughout the year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is lush and expansive; depending on when you visit, you may spot everything from pelicans to osprey to elusive Siberian cranes.
Keoladeo is a wide, flat expanse with multiple ponds and marshes and lots of thick deciduous plant life. While the park can be explored on foot, many visitors opt to hire a bicycle rickshaw to take them on a ride through the park; the drivers, who are quite adept at spotting birds, often act as de facto guides. Many Golden Triangle tours also stop here, and going with a guide can be particularly useful if you aren't an experienced birdwatcher yourself.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Keoladeo National Park is great for nature lovers and anyone wanting a break from noisy Indian cities.
- Bring a pair of binoculars to make bird-watching easier.
- The park can get hot and muggy, so remember to wear sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat.
How to Get There
The park is located in the Rajasthani city of Bharatpur, right off the main strip where many of the area’s mid-range hotels are located. Getting to the Taj Mahal city of Agra takes an hour to 90 minutes, while Delhi is around 3.5 hours by train or four hours by road. Jaipur is a 2.5-hour drive away.
When to Get There
The park is open throughout the year, and the best time to visit depends on what type of birds you want to see. Local species tend to hang around the park in August and September, while migratory bird season starts in October and continues through March. Note that May and June can get very hot—for people and birds alike.
The Animals of Keoladeo National Park
No matter when you visit the park, you're likely to see birds: lots of them, from hornbills to warblers to eagles and cranes. However, there are also plenty of other non-avian species that call the park home. There are all sorts of turtles here along with frogs, lizards, bats, and porcupines. Like most natural areas in Rajasthan, there are also plenty of monkeys, along with civets, mongooses, deer of various varieties, hyenas, and even leopards.