Bharatpur, mostly known for its superb bird reserve, Keoladeo. This reserve was founded by the Jats, a community of landowners. Their Jat leader fortified the city in 1733, with what was considered to be a masterpiece of construction. In the centre of Bharatpur itself you can see the Lohagarh - the Iron Fort.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, popularly known as Bharatpur and often regarded as one of the world's most important bird sanctuaries. This 28.7 square kilometre mixed wetland, woodland, grass and scrub is home to 400 plus species of birds. Only 175 kms from New Delhi, Bharatpur is on the Agra - Jaipur road. It has the very high status of being both a Ramsar and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Keoladeo Ghana gets its name from a Shiva Temple (Keoladeo) located within a dense forest (ghana). This land was developed by the Bharatpur rulers in the mid 18th centuries by diverting the waters of a nearby irrigation canal to create a private duck reserve. Extravagant shooting parties were held here by the British and other royal members. Wildfowl were killed in horrifying numbers, sometimes shooting over 4,000 birds in a day!
Keoladeo is a beautifully easy place to view some of India's most striking birds. It has paved walkways, with cycle-rickshaws, cycling-tracks and, best of all, an abundance of easy to approach birds. In recent years, small boats are also being used. These expert boatman are on hand to take those who wish, along the deeper channels for superb photographic opportunites, not just for the birds, but for the mammals, such as the Nilgai (Blue Bull).
Bharatpur is geared for birding, like few places in the world. A day's birding in the park can reach 150 plus birds. Keoladeo has been famous for the wintering western race of the Siberian Crane. Unfortunately, the last pair visited the park in 2002-3 and it is likely that this species is now extinct in India. However, it is the sheer number of waterfowl and waders which congregate here that makes such spectacular viewing.