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Bharatpur Tourism

INTRODUCTION
Bharatpur is a popular city at Eastern Rajasthan state in Northern India. Usually it is used as a synonymous of Keoladeo national park but it is not so. Better we can say that Keoladeo national park is part of Bharatpur district. It is part of Braj region in which we includes Mathura, Vrindavan etc. The history of Bharatpur dates back to 5th century BC, when the Matsya kingdom flourished here. The Matsyas were allies of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war. Legends say that the origin of the name Bharatpur is traced to Bharat, younger brother of Lord Ram. Laxman, the other brother, was given the most prestigious position as that of the family deity of the ruling family of Bharatpur. His name also appears in the state seals and coat-of-arms.

The Keoladao National Park or Keoladao Ghana National Park or widely known as Bharatpur Bird Century is one of the finest bird park in the world. This Park is a reserve that offers protection to faunal species as well. 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. Nesting indigenous water- birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar. Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a man-made and man-managed wetland and One of the National Park of India. The reserve protects Bharatpur from frequent floods, provides grazing grounds for village cattle, and earlier was primarily used as a water fowl hunting ground. The 29 km2 (11 sq mi) reserve is locally known as Ghana, and is a mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps and wetlands. Over 230 species of birds are known to be resident. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of Ornithologist arriving here in the hibernal season. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a World Heritage Site. This is the only park in India that is completely enclosed by a 2 m high boundary wall that minimizes the possibilities of any encroachment and biotic disturbances, but there is no possibility of a buffer zone. As the wetlands of Keoladeo are not natural, they are dependent on the monsoon and on water pumped in from outside, traditionally provided from the “Ajan Bandh” reservoir. The water shortage caused by the erratic rainfall in the region is being addressed by initiating two large water resources projects that will bring water from permanent water sources in the region. There has been some concern expressed over possible air and water pollution effects from the adjacent city of Bharatpur, but these effects are unknown at present.

BHARATPUR HISTORY
The sanctuary was created 250 years ago and is named after a Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. While 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 Surajmal, The ruler of the princely Bharatpur between1726-1763. In the early 18th century, Maharaja Suraj Mal captured the fort of Bharatpur by vanquishing Khemkaran, the rival chieftain and laid the foundation for Bharatpur. The valiant Maharaja was very keen to expand the cities and is credited with building the numerous forts and palaces that dot the kingdom, including the Pleasure Palace Complex at Deeg.

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. The lake is so beautiful and fulfills the necessity of water for all the habitats. Dam was created at the confluence of two rivers, the Gambhir and Banganga. The park was a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Bharatpur, a tradition dating back to 1850, and duck shoots were organized yearly in honor of the British viceroys. In one shoot alone in 1938, over 4,273 birds such as mallards and teals were killed by Lord Linlithgow, the then Governor-General of India. After India's independence, the rulers of the princely states were allowed shooting rights until 1972. The park was established as a national park on 10 March 1982. Previously the private duck shooting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur since the 1850s, the area was designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1976 and A Rasar site under the Wetland Convention in October 1981. The last big shoot was held in 1964 but the Maharajah retained shooting rights until 1972. In 1985, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site. Under the world Heritage Convention, It is a reserve forest under the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953 and therefore, is the property of the State of Rajasthan of the Indian Union. In 1982, grazing was banned in the park, leading to violent clashes between local farmers and the government. The Keoladeo National Park, One of the finest water bird century in the world. The Maharaj of Bharatpur artificially created the lake and wetlands in the 19th century. By building Small decks and demes are diverting water from an irrigation Canal. He converted this low lying area in to a fine wild fowl shooting preserves. In a few years, the new wetland surrounded by marginal forests was able to support thousands of water birds.

ATTRACTIONS
Bharatpur was the royal hunting place. The dam and dykes and gates are man made. Now a days, this hunting preserve is a conservation point where huge variety of birds from many countries can be seen together. Keoladeo national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site which attracts large number of tourists from all over the world to visit this magnificent place. Apart from Keoladeo national park, their are many other Bharatpur tourist attractions listed below:

Bharatpur Palace & Museum
Located within the premises of the Bharatpur Palace is Kamra Khas, a museum that contains a vast number of antiques, over 581 stone sculptures, 861 local art and craft wares and ancient scriptures that represent the art and culture typical of Bharatpur. The palace itself was built in stages by various Maharajas and is a fine fusion of Mughal and Rajput architecture. The various apartments in the palace have a variety of richly patterned floor tiles decorated with exquisite designs.

Ganga Mandir
The Ganga Mandir, which is located in the heart of the city of Bharatpur is one of the most beautiful temples in Rajasthan. In it lies the attractive deity of Ganga Maharaj made of pristine white marble. Maharaja Balwant Singh started constructing this temple in the mid-19th century. However, he had a very unique request that required all the affluent inhabitants of the city to donate one month’s pay to help towards the temple’s creation.

Laxman Mandir
This temple is dedicated to Laxman, brother of Lord Rama, and is famous for its typical Rajasthani style of architecture and beautiful pink stonework. Visitors will enjoy the intricate carvings of flowers and birds on doorways, ceilings, pillars, walls and arches.

Lohagarh Fort
The invincible Lohagarh Fort, which was remain unconquered despite several attacks by the British regime. Lohagarh Fort differs from others is that it is not flamboyant, but radiates an aura of rugged strength. The fort is surrounded by a moat which used to be filled with water to keep enemies out. Interesting monuments inside the fort are Kothi Khas, Mahal Khas, Moti Mahal and Kishori Mahal. Raja Suraj Mal built Jawahar Bhurj and Fateh Bhurj to commemorate victories over the Mughals and the British.

Deeg Palace
Situated just 32-kms away from Bharatpur is the Deeg Palace. A strong and massive fortress, Deeg Palace was the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur and houses numerous beautiful palaces and gardens.

Band Baretha
Band Baretha is an old wildlife reserve of the rulers of Bharatpur, currently under the administration of the Forest Department. The construction of the dam on Kakund River was started by Maharaj Jaswant Singh in 1866 AD and completed by Maharaj Ram Singh in 1897 AD. The palace inside the reserve was built by Maharaj Kishan Singh and is the private property of the Bharatpur royal family. Band Baretha is a bird watcher’s paradise because of over 200 species of birds, including the elusive Black Bittern.

Kaman
The locals also know Kaman as Kamaban. This old town is located at the north of Bharatpur and is a part of the Brij area where Lord Krishna spent his early years. It is a place of pilgrimage and is annually visited by a large number of Vaishnavs in the month of Bhadhva as a part of the Banyatara. The ruins of a temple / mosque consisting of 84 pillars named Chaurasi Khamba are the main attraction.

Dholpur Palace
The Dholpur Palace renowned across the country for its locally quarried sandstone. It is originally belonged to the Rajputana kingdom. This famous red stone was widely used in construction of spectacular forts and palaces as a mark of protection around the widely spread dominion. The palace’s classic exteriors and rich heritage is alluring to the onlookers and invites them for a journey of its vibrant history.

Ajan Bandh
In 1733 Bharatpur became the new capital of Bharatpur State under the rule of the Sinsini Jats, to choose this part because surrounding land could be artificially flooded and thus render the city doubly fortified against attack. The Ajan Bund or dam to the south-west of the city is one of the many irrigation works in Bharatpur State and contains the water of the Banganga. It fed into the Atal Bund adjoining the city which in turn supplied water to the moat around the city's fort and its wells. It was constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh (r.1776-1805) and after falling into disrepair was improved in the late 19th century, when it measured 19.3 kilometres (12 miles) in length and supplied water to 77 villages.

FLORA & FAUNA
'Ghana' means dense, referring to the thick forest, which used to cover the area. Nesting indigenous water- birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar. A similar habitat with short grasses, such as Cynodon dactylon and Dicanthium annulatum also exists. Woodlands with thickets of huge Kadam trees (Neolamarckia cadamba) are distributed in scattered pockets. Richness and diversity of plant life inside the Park is remarkable. The Park’s flora consists of 379 species of flowering plants of which 96 are wetland species. The Wetland is a part of the Indo-Gangetic Great Plains. The north east area of the park is mostly dominated by jamun (Syzygium cumini), babul (Acacia nilotica) and kadam (Mitragyna parvifolia). The open woodland is mostly babul with a little amount of ber and kandi. Ber and kair dominates the Scrublands.

Piloo (Salvadora persica) are also present in the park and happens to be only woody plants found in saline soil. The aquatic vegetation is rich and provides food source for waterfowls. Over 350 species of birds find a refuge in the 29 sq km of shallow lakes and woodland, which makes up the park. A third of them are migrants, many of whom spend their winters in Bharatpur, before returning to their breeding grounds, as far away as Siberia and Central Asia. Migratory birds at Keoladeo include, as large a bird as Dalmatian pelican, which is slightly less than two meters, and as small a bird as Siberian disky leaf warbler, which is the size of a finger. Other migrants include several species of cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, shanks, stints, wagtails, warblers, wheatears, flycatchers, buntings, larks and pipits, etc. But of all the migrants, the most sought after is the Siberian Crane or the great white crane, which migrates to this site every year, covering a distance of more than half the globe. These birds, numbering only a few hundred, are on the verge of extinction. It is birds from the western race of the species that visit Keoladeo, migrating from the Ob river basin region, in the Aral Mountains, in Siberia via Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are only two wintering places, left for this extremely rare species. One is in Feredunkenar in Iran, and the other is Keoladeo Ghana. The journey to Bharatpur takes them 6,400 kms from their breeding grounds, in Siberia. They arrive in December and stay till early March. Unlike Indian cranes, the Siberian crane is entirely vegetarian. It feeds on underground aquatic roots and tubers in loose flocks of five or six.

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LOCATION
Keoladeo (Bharatpur) National Park (27°10'N, 77°31'E) is a World Heritage Site situated in eastern Rajasthan. The park is 2 kilometers (km) south-east of Bharatpur and 55 km west of Agra. The Park is spread over approx 29 square kilometer area. One third of the Keoladeo National Park habitat is wetland systems with varying types of micro-habitats having trees, mounds, dykes and open water with or without submerged or emergent plants. The uplands have grasslands (savannas) of tall species of grass together with scattered trees and shrubs present in varying density. A similar habitat with short grasses, such as Cynodon dactylon and Dicanthium annulatum also exists. Woodlands with thickets of huge Kadam trees (Neolamarckia cadamba) are distributed in scattered pockets. Richness and diversity of plant life inside the Park is remarkable. The Park’s flora consists of 379 species of flowering plants of which 96 are wetland species. The Wetland is a part of the Indo-Gangetic Great Plains. The Park is a fresh water swamp The Park is a fresh water swamp and is flooded during the monsoon. For most part of the year, effective wetland is only 10 km2. The rest of the area remains dry. Dykes divide the wetland into ten units. Each unit has a system of sluice gates to control its water level. Depth of water ranges from 1 meter to 2 meter during rains (July, August and September). In subsequent months, October to January, the level gets lowered. The area starts drying from February. In May and June, the entire area dries. Water remains only in some depressions. This alternate wetting and drying helps to maintain the ecology of the fresh water swamp, ideal for water-fowl and resident water birds. Arrangement to pump water from deep tube wells is settle here. Small depressions are filled by the pumps to save seeds; spores and other aquatic life also exist in dry season. They are also helpful in extreme years of drought.
DISTANCE CHART
Distance from
Distance
From Jaipur Airport
190 Kms.
From Railway Station
04 Kms.
From Bus Stand
05 Kms.

HOW TO REACH
Let us check, how to reach Bharatpur by various means of transport. Bharatpur is well connected by road and train options. All the trains running from Agra to Rajasthan area, passes through Bharatpur railway station. Agra to Jaipur trains, passes through Bharatpur station. At the same time, it is just 50 kms to Agra city so if anybody reaches Agra can easily visit Bharatpur as excursion tour. Road connectivity from Agra to Bharatpur is very good. It is the same route which connects Agra to Jaipur. Other places like Jaipur, Ranthambore are also at manageable distance.
By Flight Bharatpur is having its own air-strip in which charter planes can land but its connectivity through airline companies is poor. Its nearby airport options are Jaipur airport (190kms) and best option is Delhi airport (220kms). If anybody is interested reaching Keoladeo national park by flight option, then they may use these available options and further journey by train or road.
By Train The nearest railway station is Bharatpur Junction which is 5 kms. Away. Bharatpur is well connected from all the major cities by railway like Agra, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Mathura, Delhi etc.
By Road Bharatpur is well connected with other parts of the country by very fine roads. You can travel through your own vehicle too. Although there are regular buses are available from Delhi, Mathura, Jaipur, Alwar and neighboring. The Park gate is close to the bus stand and railway station.

CLIMATE & WEATHER
Bharatpur is located on the border of the Thar Desert. This marshy land has very warm climate. Summers are invariably hot and winters are not very cold. The temperature ranges from a maximum of 48°C in summers (May and June) to around 5°C in winters (December to February).Carry light cottons during summers and woolens during winters. Rainfall is less but sufficient.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary is open throughout the year; still the ideal visiting months are from August-November for resident breeding birds and October- February for migrant birds. Climate of summers are too hot so it is not easy for anyone to visit the park in too hot timing.

ACCOMMODATION
Their are large number of Bharatpur hotel options, available to tourists. Here we can find accommodation options in all category like budget hotels, standard hotels, deluxe hotels, luxury hotels. Here we can also find heritage hotel options to understand this place and its culture.

NEXT DESTINATION
Bharatpur lies in Rajasthan, in Eastern state border with Uttar Pradesh state. Other tourist destinations around Bharatpur are Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Pushkar, Gwalior etc.
ADJOINING DESTINATIONS
Destinations
Attractions
Jaipur
City of forts and palaces.
Agra
World heritage sites like Taj Mahal, Agra fort, Fatehpur Sikri etc.
Madhura
City of temples, land of Lord Krishna.
Sawai Madhopur
Popular tiger reserve and wildlife destination.

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