|Bharatpur Bird sanctuary|
Bharatpur- The 'Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan', was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733 AD, it was once an impregnable well fortified city, carved out of the region formerly known as Mewat. The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur has played an important part in the history of Rajasthan. The place was named as Bharatpur after the name of Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, whose other brother Laxman was worshipped as the family deity of the Bharatpur. The legends say the rulers Laxman's name is engraved on the state arms and the seals. Bharatpur is also known as 'LOHAGARH'. It is bound on the north by 'Gurgaon' district of Haryana, on the east by Mathura and Agra districts of Uttar Pradesh, on the south by Dholpur and Karauli, on the southern west by Jaipur and on the west by Alwar, all in Rajasthan. There is a forest called 'GHANA' means dense forest within a distance of about 5 Km. from District Head Quarter which remains green during the rainy season. Bharatpur Ghana's plan was prepared in 1896 by the State Engineer for driving and confining the wild cattle in the dense forest with 250 species of migratory birds during the monsoon season and 'winter' season, which is famous all over India and world for being a great sanctuary of birds.
History of Bharatpur :
Bharatpur along with Deeg and Dholpur holds an important place in the history of Rajasthan. The history of Bharatpur traces the rise and fall of Jat power in eastern Rajasthan. These jats were active during the late 17th century and the rulers like Churaman, Badan Singh and Suraj Mal dominated this region. Bharatpur was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733 AD. Maharaja Suraj Mal took over from Khemkaran, the son of Rustam and established the empire. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around the city. He also built the Lohagarh Fort or the Iron Fort in the year 1732. This fort took about 60 years to be completed and is still the focal point of the town. This fort shaped the history of Bharatpur
The place was named as Bharatpur after the name of Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, whose other brother Laxman was worshipped as the family deity of the Bharatpur.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park:
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to late February when many migratory birds can be seen, including the highly endangered Siberian crane. According to recent reports, of birds have been identified at the beautiful Keoladeo sanctuary. The sanctuary was formerly a vast semi-arid region, filling with water during the monsoon season only to rapidly dry up afterwards. To prevent this, the maharaja of Bharatpur diverted water from a nearby irrigation canal and, within a few years, birds began to sattle in vast numbers. The maharaja was compelled not by conservationist motives, but by the desire to have a ready supply of waterfowl, affording fine shooting (and dining) possibilities. Indeed, Keoladeo continued to supply the maharajas’ tables until as late. An inscription on a pilllar near the small temple in the park bears testimony to the maharajas’ penchant for hunting. It reveals that on one day alone ducks were shot!
The park is open daily. For Indian/foreigners, which entitles you to enter the park as many times as you wish in one day. A still camera is free but there’s whopping video charge. There’s also an entry fee for bicycles and cycle-rickshaws. A horse- drawn tonga per hour (maximum six people). Motorised vehicles are prohibited beyond the checkpoint, so the only way of the getting around is by foot, bicycle or cycle-rickshaw.
An excellent way to see the park is to hire a bicycle. There are bikes for the hire at the bicycle on the park entrance. Some hotels rent bicycles as well. This allows you to easily avoid the bottlenecks which inevitably occur at the nesting sites of the larger birds. It’s just about the only way you’ll be able to watch the numerous kingfishers at close quarters – noise or human activity frightens then away. A bicycle also enables you to avoid clocking up a large bill with a rickshaw driver. If you plan to visit the sanctuary at dawn (one of the best times to see the birds ), you should hire your bicycle the day before. The southern reaches of the park are virtually devoid the humanus touristcus, and so are much better than the northern part for serious bird-watching. They are a very good way of getting close to the wildlife.
A small display of photos, stuffed birds, nests and aquaticspecies found in the park’s lakes is at the main entrance to the park, next to the Keoladeo temple.
Lohagarh, or Iron fort, was built in the early and took its name from supposedly impregnable defences. Maharaja Suraj Mahl, the fort’s constructor and founder of Bharatpur, built two towers within the ramparts, the Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj, to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and the British.
The fort occupies the entire small artificial island in the center of the town, and the three palaces within its pre precincts are in an advanced state of decay. One of the palaces houses a museum exhibiting sculptures, paintings, weapons and dusty animal trophies. The museum is open daily.
How to reach Bharatpur:
By Air : The nearest airport is Agra which is about 55 km.
By Train : Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with several cities on Delhi-Mumbai trunk route. Rail services also connects Bharatpur with Jaipur and Agra.
By Road : A network of bus services links Bharatpur with several cities within and outside Rajasthan.