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Bharatpur

It is considered as the eastern gateway to Rajasthan and better known for the Bird Sanctuary. It was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733 AD and in the past was a well fortified city originally carved out of the Mewat region. It was named after Bharat the brother of Lord Ram. The Jats dominated the city in 17th century and the most prominent ruler was Suraj Mal.

Bharatpur

The places of tourist importance include

The Keoladeo Ghana National Park: It is one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries in India. This pristine park is located in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan and is also known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is interesting to know how a duck shooting preserve for Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur was converted into a National park. A shallow depression formed at the confluence of River Gambhir and River Banganga was later converted into a reservoir by damming the rainwater in monsoons. The sanctuary has the distinction of being listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1985.

The Keoladeo National Park is famous as one of Asia’s most prominent breeding grounds for birds with over 380 resident and migratory species. The bird species present here include Buntings, Cranes, Flycatchers, Ducks, Eagles, Geese, Hawks, Larks, Pipits, Pelicans, Shanks, Stints, Wagtails, Warblers and Wheatears. The most prominent among these is the Siberian cranes, which flock either in Iran or this particular sanctuary during winters. The birds have characteristic red beaks and facial patches.

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It is common to spot the painted storks, open bills, spoonbills, egrets, comorants, white ibis and numerous others, tending their young during winters. It is indeed an ornithogist’s paradise. You will see harriers and eagles circling overhead in search of prey. The pied kingfisher is also a spectacular sight. There are numerous storks and cranes and the local sarus crane is the most elegant with a tinge of grey and red.

The forest cover that envelopes the sanctuary include animal species namely sambar, chital, nilgai, jackal, hyena, fox, mongoose and porcupine. There is a python point here at the jungle where you can see pythons basking in the sun. Though they are found in other parts as well, the probability to spot one here is quite high.

To move around in the park there are well defined forest trails which can be covered on foot or bicycle. You may also hire a rickshaw and explore the sanctuary. The best time to visit is early in the mornings or in the evenings. Boat rides are also available. While you pay a visit to this natural paradise, you may also want to explore some significant places in and around Bharatpur.

Bharatpur Government Museum: It provides a glimpse of the past heritage of Bharatpur. It is located in the centre of the famous Lohagarh Fort; the museum houses a collection of archaeological wealth of the nearby areas. It was once the administrative Block of the Bharatpur rulers and was converted into a museum in 1944. The Kamra Khas is situated within the fort and has been converted into a museum displaying an exquisite collection of sculptures, inscription and antiques.

Bharatpur Palace: It is a spectacular structure having a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture. It houses the Museum, which has a display of ancient artifacts. The museum has collectibles dating back to 2nd century and demonstrates the art and skill of the region.

Ganga Mandir: This is an architectural wonder. It was built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in 1845 and this temple has a unique story attached to it. There is a fascinating story behind its construction; it was built by donations of people employed by the state government, which mainly comprised of either one month’s salary or any increment in the salary.

Lohagarh fort: Apt for its name this fort remained unconquered by the British. It was built in the 18th century by Maharaja Suraj Mal who also built two more towers known as the Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and the British. Though the fort is in ruins from the towers you could view the city.

It is interesting to note that unlike the other forts Lohagarh fort does not look ornate or grand. It is a massive structure depicting great strength and invincibility. The fort is surrounded by moats which were always filled with water thus protecting it from enemy attack.

There are two gates to the fort. The one facing north is known as Ashtdhaatu and the one facing south is known as Chowburja or four pillared gate. The ashtadhaatu has paintings of huge elephants. There are some monuments namely the Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, Moti Mahal and Kothi Khas.

There are several excursion destinations from Bharatpur

Deeg: It is a garden town 34 km north of Bharatpur. You can enjoy nature at its pristine best and also the well maintained palaces which are an architectural extravaganza. Make sure to visit the gardens which are ornate with beautiful fountains.

There is a fort built by Raja Duraj Mal which is a must see. It is surrounded by moats, ramparts and gateways and the interiors of this place are mostly in ruins now. There is a watch tower which has a gun captured from Agra and a cannon.

Gopal Bhavan: Located at a distance of 113 km, this is a creatively designed building complex with fantastically laid gardens at its entrance. The rear overlooks the Gopal Sagar lake, hence the name. There is an exquisite looking swing which was got as a trophy and was brought in by the famous Jat King, Raja Suraj Mal. It was brought from the Mughal Court in Delhi. There is a well proportioned Banquet Hall with a double row of pillars. It houses a huge collection of curious souvenirs and Victorian furniture.

Bengal Chamber: Houses the dining room and has sloping arches with cozy cushions along the outer edges. There is a royal chess room painted in soft red.

Dhaulpur: The famous red-stone from Dhaulpur is famous throughout the country. It was used in the construction of the red fort. It is a place of great historic significance. Because of its proximity to Agra it has witnessed many battles and was once plundered by Sikander Lodi in 1501 AD .All its gardens were uprooted. The oldest Mughal garden built by Babur is present in Jhor about 16 km from Dhaulpur.

Mach Kund: It is located about 5 km from Dhaulpur. Mach Kund has a lake with over a hundred temples on its bank. It is well known for the Van Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Talab –E –Shahi and the fort were built by Firoz Shah in 1286 AD. From here you could visit the Damoh Waterfall and Ram Sagar Sanctuary.

Reaching There

By Air: The International flights are easy to get exclusively from New Delhi.

By Train: Bharatpur is well connected by trains to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other major cities of India.

By Road: Bharatpur is linked to Agra, Jaipur and other major cities through good roads.

Staying There

Hotel Bharatpur Ashok
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, 321 001,
Rajasthan

ChandraMahal Haveli (Heritage)
Bharatpur, Rajasthan,
25 kms from Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Udai Vilas Palace(Wildlife resort)
Fatehpur Sikri Road, Bharatpur- 321 001, Rajasthan

The Bagh Resort Bharatpur(Wildlife resort)
Fatehpur Sikri Road, Bharatpur- 321 001, Rajasthan