BHARATPUR TRAVEL GUIDE
Bharatpur is well-known for it world heritage listed bird sanctuary Keoladeo Ghanna National Park. This is one of the few places in the world where you can hope to sight hundred of different species of birds in just a few days. Over 400 species different birds have been identified in the park and you see them all over the place. Many tourists travelling to this destination have rate it as the highlight of their visit. It is just 55 kilometres from Agra and 176 kilometres from Jaipur. The history of Bharatpur goes back to the epic age of Mahabharta when the Matsya kingdom flourished in the 5th century BC. Some archaeological remains of this period can be seen in the Bharatpur Museum. The city is supposed to be named after Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama. Bharatpur was the stronghold of the Jats in the 17th and 18th century. They maintained considerable autonomy though they were allied to the Mughals; this was largely due to their prowess in the battle and their marriage alliances with the Rajputs. Their fort in Bharatpur even withstood attacks from the British in 1805 and 1825 but later they signed a treaty of friendship with the East India Company. It merged with the union of India at independence. The walled city of Bharatpur has typical medieval period and characterizes the security concern of that period. The walled city is irregular in shape and elongated in the northeast to southwest direction. The street pattern in the walled city is curvilinear typical of medieval townships. Religious building like the Ganga Mandir, Laxman Mandir and Jama Masjid are located on the town central spine between Mathura Gate and Kumher Gate. The hotels are mainly located in a cluster near the Park in the south of the town. The Keoladeo Ghanna National Park is about 5 kilometres from the town and approachable by cycle rickshaw. Only cycle rickshaws are permitted inside the park for maintaining ecological harmony.
Places to See
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
This magnificent bird haven in actual came into being paradoxically as a duck shooting preserve for Maharaja Suraj Mull of Bharatpur. He transformed the shallow depression formed by the confluence of River Gambhir and River Banganga into a reservoir by damming the rainwater in monsoons. Flooding of water created shallow wetland ecosystem causing it to be a perfect habitat for an astounding variety of birds. The park that was a hunting preserve for the Maharaja and the British continued to be so till 1964, after which the hunting was banned. A forestation policy of planting acacias was vigorously followed. However the ecosystem at the Park continues to be fragile due to pressures of tourism and need for water from surrounding villages. However the environmentalists won the day in 1985 when UNESCO listed it as World Heritage site and earlier in 1982 it was declared as National Park. And, today the Park is recognised as the most important breeding and feed grounds for the birds in the world. Some species are still endangered and especially the Siberian crane. Visitors are advised to maintain low noise level and avoid littering the park. The Park opens from sunrise to sunset around the year. The ticket is Rs 200 per foreign visitor and Rs 25 for Indian visitor. Vehicles are permitted upto Shanti Kutir about 1.7 kilometres inside at Rs 50 per vehicle. After this you can choose to walk, bicycle, or go by cycle rickshaw, Tonga or boat when the water level is high. The cycle rickshaw wallah s displaying yellow plate meaning authorised double up as guides also carry binoculars. Hotels do supply packed lunches and you can get a bite at a canteen on the second gate and even at Forest Lodge.
The massive iron fort structure built in the early 18th century. With its impregnable defences its sustained itself even after a number of British attacks . The fort was conceived and designed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, The founder of Bharatpur.The fort has three palaces within its precincts- kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, Kothi Khas.
A rich collection of artefacts, exquisitely carved sculptures and ancient inscriptions can be admired in the government museum located in the palace. All these items speak volumes about the rich heritage, arts and crafts of the region.
This royal edifice is a fusion of the Mughal and Rajput architectural styles with magnificent apartments and intricately designed floors tiles having interesting patterns. One can marvel at the ancient exhibits displayed in the museum in the central part of the palace.