Birding In Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, is an important bird sanctuary and was declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The park is nearly 29 square kilometers and can be explored on foot, by bicycle or cycle rickshaw. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the park.

We visited the park on 7 and 8 March, 2006.

We rented bikes from our hotel, the Falcon Guest House. There are several budget and mid-range hotels located within cycling distance of the park entrance. With names like The Spoonbill, Hotel Nightingale, Birder’s Inn and Hotel Pelican, the hotels know their clientele well and many offer bike rental. Binoculars and guidebooks may also be available, though it is also possible to rent binoculars as well as bikes at the entrance to the park itself. Of course, we saw many serious birders who brought their own equipment.

At the main entrance of the park you can buy admission tickets (good for one entry only – bring lunch with you) and hire binoculars of bicycles if required. Cycle rickshaws are also for hire; official rickshaws have a yellow plate on the front and the driver will act as a guide.

The park has a great new visitor center, the Salim Ali Visitor Interpretation Centre. Inside, there are interesting displays on the important role water plays in life on earth, plus dioramas of bird life and other animals that can be found in the park.

After purchasing an admission ticket, visitors proceed down the main road into the park. A hotel and restaurant are located about a mile past the main entrance. The second checkpoint is nearby; motorized vehicles may drive to the restaurant and hotel, but cannot proceed past the second checkpoint. There is also a small bookshop by the checkpoint, offering Indian bird and wildlife guidebooks and some souvenirs such as t-shirts, postcards, stickers, caps, and paintings of birds.

Past the checkpoint, the paved road continues south through the park. Cycle rickshaws may only drive on the main bisecting road. There are benches along the way and some informative signs giving details on the kinds of birds you can find in the park. There is a paved trail across the water at the Ghana Canal, and from that road you can find a brick trail. This and the many other side trails in the park are better navigated on foot rather than bike.

Over the two days we visited the park, we saw many birds. [Edit March 2012: apparently I didn’t keep the best of records during this trip. Here are my two eBird lists for Keoladeo: S6497553 and S6497566]

Related articles:
India Bird Sanctuary: Rickshaw Drivers Trained As Guides
Water Brings Birds Back To Indian Bird Park

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