An article about the migratory birds had piqued my interest in Bharatpur. These birds used to migrate to the Bharatpur wetlands (Keoladeo Ghana National Park) every year. Sadly, they were not visiting this place any more.
I was interested in knowing more about it. And that led to my exploration of this offbeat destination in Rajasthan.
My personal connection with Bharatpur is that it’s my mother-in-law’s maternal home and the place where my husband and his siblings spent some part of their childhood and vacations.
Where is Bharatpur situated?
Bharatpur is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located at a distance of about 200 Km from Delhi, 180 Km from Jaipur and about 50 Km from Agra.
It is a part of the National Capital Region and was also the capital of the earlier princely state of Bharatpur.
Bharatpur is a perfect weekend getaway from Delhi. If you are traveling by car, it would take 4-5 hours to reach here from Delhi.
Is Rajasthan on your travel Bucket list but not sure which places to start with? Read about these 10 awesome places to visit in Rajasthan.
What is the best way to reach Bharatpur?
Bharatpur is well connected with the national capital Delhi and other main cities by train and road. Distance between Delhi and Bharatpur is about 200 Kms. Train would take about 3 hours to reach from Delhi to Bharatpur. For a more comfortable and convenient journey, hiring a taxi would be the best way to travel. The nearest airport is located in Agra at a distance of about 56 Km from Bharatpur.
What is famous about Bharatpur?
Bharatpur is famous for its Wildlife sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana National Park), Banke Bihari Temple, Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur Palace and Museum, Brij Holi festival. It is an offbeat destination suitable for travelers who are looking for an immersive experience of the local culture minus the chaos of a famous tourist place.
Keoladeo National Park
Keoladeo National Park was earlier known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is what made this place famous among the bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.
Keoladeo National Park was established 250 years ago. It was used as a hunting reserve by the royals before that. The park was named after Keoladeo temple located in its premises.
Home to hundreds of floral species, over 370 bird species and many other animals like basking python and painted stork, this national park is the most popular attraction of Bharatpur. Grasslands, swamps and wetlands covers the area of the of the park.
Spread over an area of 29 square kilometre, Keoladeo National Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985. The wetlands of this national park are dependent on monsoon and reservoir for water.
Timings and entry ticket
Keoladeo National Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The ticket counter closes about 1.5 hours before sunset.
Tickets for Indians costs INR 91 and non-Indians INR 571. Concessional ticket for Indian students costs INR 31 only. There are additional charges for professional photography.
One of Asia’s finest birding areas, Keoladeo National Park is a great place to watch birds like bulbuls, warblers, Indian Grey Hornbill, parakeets, cranes, ducks, eagles, hawks, geese and many more.
Animals like nilgai, sambar, blackbuck, wild boar, cheetal deer, golden jackal, mongoose and cats can be seen here. There are plenty of kadam, jaamun and babul trees in this area.
Migratory birds Siberian Crane were a popular attraction in Keoladeo National Park but these have not been seen since 2002. The reason for this probably is hunting along their migration route and destruction of habitat.
Hiring a cycle-rickshaw is best for visiting Keoladeo National Park. These are available outside the national park. Usually these rickshaw-pullers have good information about the park.
If you want to explore riding a bicycle yourself that option is also available. You can hire a professional guide who would provide you valuable information about the wildlife in the park.
It is a good idea to explore this park walking. Winter is a good time to visit it leisurely and soak in the sun. But it can get unpleasantly hot during summers when temperature soars.
Tips for visiting the Keoladeo National Park
Carry sunglasses, a good camera, binoculars, drinking water and sunscreen while visiting the national park. You can see the birds more clearly with binoculars and a good camera would help in getting better images.
I’d also suggest using mosquito/bugs repellant.
Wear comfortable shoes if you are planning to explore the place walking.
Avoid making noise and wearing too bright colors as that could distract the birds and animals.
Besides observing the wildlife and photography, Keoladeo National Park is an awesome place to spend some peaceful time in nature to rejuvenate.
Bharatpur Palace and Museum
Bharatpur Palace and Museum has been constructed in a combination of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles. A museum is housed inside this palace exhibiting various stone sculptures, arms, arts, crafts, paintings and ancient scriptures.
You can visit the Palace and museum for its architecture and the items at display which give an insight into the history of this place. The entry fee for this place is INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for Non-Indians.
Lohagarh Fort was built by Maharaja Suraj Mal during 1733. If you have some free time, it is a place worth visiting. This fort was considered the strongest and invincible fort in India.
A deep moat surrounds the Fort making it a difficult fort to attack. There are two gates in this fort. The one on the north side is called Ashtdhatu Gate and the other on the south is called Chauburja.
A government museum housed inside this fort gives a lot of information about the history, art, and culture of this place. Old stone sculptures, inscriptions, artifacts, coins etc are on display in this museum. These attract the history and art enthusiasts from different places.
Banke Bihari Ji Temple
Another important place not to miss while visiting Bharatpur is Banke Bihari Ji Temple.
The temple is situated inside the Lohagarh Fort and dedicated to Lord Krishna. For the ambience full of devotion, spirituality and love, make it a point to spare some time for this temple.
It is a beautiful place to get yourself recharged and find some solace. Trust me you will not regret it.
Along with being a place of worship, temples in India can be a place for learning and insight into the local religious rituals for the travelers.
If you love visiting temples but are not sure what to do and what not to do there, read this detailed post about temple etiquette in India.
Braj Holi of Bharatpur
Bharatpur is a part of the region called ‘Braj’. ‘Braj’ or ‘Brij’ is the place where Lord Krishna was born and spent his childhood. Braj Holi is a festival dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm a few days before the Holi festival.
People put color on each other and literally paint the whole town in various colors. Raas-leela (dance form depicting the love of Radha and Krishna) is an important part and attraction of this festival. Make sure to grab your chance to get soaked into the colors of Braj Holi.
India is famous as the land of colors and festivals. How can Rajasthan be left behind? There are more than 20 fairs and festivals that are annually celebrated in Rajasthan. Read more about the vibrant fairs and festivals of Rajasthan here.
What is the local food in Bharatpur?
Local food in Bharatpur includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Rajasthani thali, Kachori, Aaloo ki sabzi, Paneer tikka, chicken tikka and rabri are some of the must-try dishes. The local food cooked at home usually includes the north-Indian food items like- roti, dal, sabzi, poori etc.
Rajasthani Thali is a platter on which various dishes are served together. These include- dal, baati, choorma, gatte ki sabzi , panchmel dal, ker sangri, kadhi, rice, paapad, and some sweet dishes like imarti, malpua, halwa.
Dal-baati-choorma is my favorite among Rajasthani dishes. When in Rajasthan, I never miss on relishing it.
There won’t be any corner of an Indian local market where you won’t find a street food seller. The List of Indian street food is endless. Read this detailed post about must-try Indian Street Food.
Places to stay in Bharatpur
Royal Farm is located at a distance of 3.5 Km from Keoladeo Wildlife Sanctuary. The property has its own organic produce which is used in cooking fresh delicious meals for the guests. Click here for reviews and booking.
If Keoladeo National Park is your only reason to visit Bharatpur then the Birder’s Inn is the right place for you to stay. Located at a walking distance from the national park, this boutique lodge provides comfortable stay in spacious rooms with a private garden. Click here for reviews and booking.
The Bagh Bharatpur is a four star resort providing a luxurious stay to its guests. Large rooms, beautiful decor, good food and warm hospitality make this property a popular choice among travelers. Click here for reviews and booking.
Who should visit Bharatpur?
Bharatput is an awesome place for anyone with interest in birdwatching, wildlife and photography. It’s a good place to take a break for someone who needs a break from the nearby famous tourist destinations swarming with people.
Bharatpur was a princely state and it is a part of the Braj region. Hence, it has some worth-visiting places for people interested in history.
It is also a great place to spend some quality time with friends and family. Visiting the Keoladeo National Park with children can be a good opportunity for them to learn about wildlife and nature. If you haven’t already been there, it’s time to plan for that well-deserved short vacation!
frequently asked questions
The road distance between Bharatpur and Mathura is about 41 Km. It would take about half an hour to cover this distance by train. Regular buses and trains are available on this route. You can also hire a taxi for a comfortable journey from Mathura to Bharatpur.
Bharatpur is located at a distance of 180 Kms (approx) from Jaipur. Trains and buses are easily available on this route. It would take about 3 hours or more to reach Bharatpur from Jaipur by train.
October to March is the best time to visit Bharatpur considering the weather. For birdwatching also, October to February is the best time when you can spend long hours in Keoladeo National Park and observe birds and wildlife.
The famous places near Bharatpur are Mathura, Vrindavan, Alwar, Agra and Jaipur. Bharatpur’s proximity to these famous tourist cities made it an emerging destination among travelers on these routes.
Depending upon the time of your visit and your interest in wildlife 2 to 4 hours are sufficient for Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.