Better known as Bharatpur, this is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Winters can be very cold and foggy, especially in the early morning.
Climate: Temp. range: 49?C to 2?C.
Rainfall: 650 mm
Bharatpur’s 29 sq. km piece of marshland is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world, with over 360 species. It used to form the hunting estate of the Maharajas of Bharatpur, and the daily shoot was reputed to be as high as 100,000 birds. However, Maharaja Brajendra Singh converted the estate into a bird sanctuary in 1956. He had inherited both the crown and an interest in wildlife from his deposed father, Kishan Singh, who was dismissed in the early 1920s on the grounds of gross misrule. Kuldip Singh has written that having bought 30 Rolls Royces and always being accompanied by his private jazz band, Kishan Singh succeeded in spending twice the annual revenue of the whole princely state. Part of this excess was incurred in buying extremely costly wild animals including ‘dozens of lions, elephants, leopards and tigers at astronomical prices” and releasing them into Bharatpur’s jungles. Brajendra Singh, having played a minor part in Rajasthan’s politics, retired to his Bharatpur estate where he devoted much of his life to establishing the sanctuary and his love of books, collected in his excellent library. He died on 8th July 1995.
It is especially good from Nov. to Feb. when it is frequented by Northern hemisphere migratory birds. The rare Siberian Crane failed to arrive in late 1993; it is possible that the ancient migratory system believed to be 1,500 years old, may be lost since young cranes need to learn the route from older birds (it is not instinctive). These cranes are disappearing – eaten by Afghans and occasionally employed as fashionable `guards’ for protecting Pakistani homes (they call out when strangers approach). Sep-Oct. is the breeding season but it’s worth visiting any time of the year.
Among many other birds to be seen are egrets, ducks, coots, storks, kingfishers, spoonbills, Sarus cranes and several birds of prey, including laggar falcon, greater spotted eagle, marsh harrier and Pallas’ eagle. There are also chital deer, sambar, nilgai, feral cattle, wild cats, hyenas and wild boar whilst near Python Point, there are usually some very large rock pythons.
The South of the reserve is better for viewing. Dawn (which can be very cold) and dusk are the best times; mid-day may prove too hot. Carry a sun hat, binoculars and plenty of drinking water. Allow a full day but you can spot numerous birds even in 2 hours.