Incredible India - Episode - #14 Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India


Welcome back to another episode of Incredible India. In the previous episode, I talked about one of the strongest forts in Rajasthan, the Lohagarh Fort.

In this episode, we will continue to explore Rajasthan and visit the Keoladeo National Park, a World Heritage site and one of the biggest breeding and resting grounds for migratory birds in India.

Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park is one of the most important breeding grounds for birds in India. It was listed as UNESCO's World Heritage site in 1985 for being a safe reserve for many rare and endangered bird species and an important site for migratory waterfowl.

This park contains many natural habitats like swamps, dry grasslands and wetlands. It was formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for having these diverse habits and hosting birds from all over the world.


How to reach

Keoladeo National Park is located 2 km southwest of Bharatpur in Rajasthan. It is just on the outskirts of Bharatpur city and is close to the major city of Agra (55 km).

It is very well connected to the railway line. Bharatpur railway station is just a few kilometres away. Moreover, the road infrastructure is getting better and better each year.

I travelled on road from Gurgaon. Here is the route map I took.

Many foreign tourists often visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and they can easily take a little detour (55 km) and explore Bharatpur as well.


According to the official website's page of Rajasthan Tourism, this place was a popular hunting reserve among the Maharajas and British back in the 1850s. There used to be hunting parties organised annually where British officials along with the local royals used to enjoy their game.

In fact, Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India from 1936 to 1943, shot over thousands of ducks with his hunting party in a single day!

Thousands of ducks in a single day!? No wonder most of them are on the brink of extinction.

In 1976 it was declared a Bird Sanctuary as it is home to over 370 species of birds including some rare migratory birds. It was later declared a National Park in 1982. Further, in 1985, it was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

Exploring the Park

This is one of the most unique parks in India. There are many options to explore this one. You can go on foot (not recommended, if you want to go deep into the plains) or rent a bicycle or take rickshaws or even a tonga.

I went with a friend and rented bicycles. There were Rs.150 each. If you opt for a rickshaw or tonga or decide to go on foot. You will miss most of the park. Although the rickshaw drivers are trained and can serve as a guide to the park.

There is only one entryway for visitors. The central pathway is well maintained by the state. You will reach the swamps after a trek of a couple of kilometres.

We spotted some lizards and birds here. They were well camouflaged in the trees, it was harder for us to spot them let alone capture them with our phone cameras.

We went further down the road and both sides turned into a marshland with a few trees standing. Some Painted Storks were perched on the top of trees.

A lot of small birds were sitting on the ground and finding food from the wet ground.

While most of the water was covered with blue-green algae it turned into much cleaner water as we went deep into the forest.

Many people were sitting along the way and watching birds. Some were taking pictures with their big heavy cameras while some were just looking through their naked eyes. This is a paradise for bird watchers. Many migratory birds had come to India for spending winter and they all added to the beautification of this place.

We branched off to one of the smaller trails that seemed to be going inside the lesser travelled section of the Park. We spotted some Chitals (axis deer) but they got easily spooked by our bicycle and went into the bushes before we had the chance to take pictures. We even parked our bicycles and went after them in the forest but who were we kidding, we knew we can't catch them in their home haha. They know how to run from threats.

But there are predators who know how to hunt as well.

We came across a place that looked like an eating ground for predators. We spotted some skulls. Our guess was they were Nilgai's skulls. We counted at least 5 similar skulls and hundreds of bones.

We were not sure who killed them, and then we spotted a jackal crossing our path. I don't think jackals can take down one of the biggest antelope species in Asia. Any experts here!? I suspect Hyenas as well.

But large predators are absent in this park.

We came back to the main central road/path. We made a big semicircle and now at the deepest part of the park. It is relatively a smaller park when you compare it to other parks in India. We got to know that there is a canteen at the centre of the road. We decided to go there and found a large no of visitors.

There were many small lakes you will find around this canteen. Some of the lakes had watch towers on the boundary and wildlife photographers were waiting patiently for their perfect shots at this place.

Here is a shot of my bike next to one such beautiful lake. This makes me feel like a place in Kerala.

After resting for some time and watching water birds doing tricks we picked our bikes and continued our journey.

You can take a tonga ride as well. There are only a few such rides per day. They have fixed routes but it is one of a kind experience as well.

And don't underestimate the rickshaw drivers, they know this place very well and make for a great guide as well. Perfect if you are coming with your family.

At last, when we got tired of paddling for hours and chasing after deer and jackals, we decided to say goodbye to this natural paradise. It was one of the best experiences one can get. You will feel connected with nature and would not want to leave. Although we didn't capture birds and animals on cameras they became part of my core memory and I will never forget this place.

I will try to come back here the next winter as well with a proper camera and lenses and will take so many pictures. One of the best places for a nature and wildlife lover like me.

Let me know what are your thoughts about the place. Would you like to visit this place when/if you come to Rajasthan? I know I would come back again. This is as close as one can get to nature.

Namaste 🙏

Stay tuned for more episodes...

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I would love to visit there and spend hours or even days getting bird photos. There would be so many birds that I have never seen before and I would love to share them with everyone in The Feathered Friends Community. It looks like a beautiful place,all except for that bone yard!


I will come back next year with a proper camera and other bird-watching equipment and spend some days taking pictures of all the exotic birds. Some of the birds have travelled thousands of kilometres to come here.

We found that bone yard when we went deeper into the park haha. But there are no big predators here, we were surprised to see that.

You are welcome to visit us. I will be waiting to receive you. Maybe I can give you a tour of New Delhi if you decide to come to visit us. 😉



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