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You are here : India Taj Mahal Tours > Tourist Places >> Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Guide
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Guide
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The Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary was initially created by Maharaja Suraj Mal, because he had some great ideas - not of conservation, but of the possibility of a constant supply of waterfowl for the royal dining table. At that time, it used to be a scrubby depression of land, seasonally enlivened by ephemeral ponds of water following the monsoons.

These ponds attracted some unsuspecting migratory ducks and geese in the winter months, and so Suraj Mal decided to turn it into a permanent reservoir, the Arjun Bund. and soon, Bharatpur, Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary became one of India's most productive hunting reserves.

India Taj Mahal ToursThe 16 square miles of marsh known as the Ghana jheel (ghana means dense, and jheel lake) hosted such grand duck shoots that no serious sportsman could afford to miss it. Colonel Sawai Brijendra Singh, a later maharaja of Bharatpur, explains: "The jheel had islands to which I constructed little roads that were wide enough for cars to take VIPs out to their butts… Each duck shoot took months to arrange and to see that VIPs were not given bad butts was like making the seating arrangement for a dinner party. At the last moment someone would say, "Sorry, I can't come", and you then had to go through the list seeing who should go into a VIP butt and who could have his place." Yet when it came to the largest bags, even Bharatpur had to give way to the imperial sandgrouse shoots at Bikaner.

Flora & Fauna
India Taj Mahal ToursThe Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary is now home to more than 370 species of birds. This large number comes somewhat as a surprise, considering what went on earlier in the name of a game. The site has gone through some of the worst events of duck shoots in the world. In November 1938, the then Viceroy Lord Linlithgow and his party massacred as many as 4273 ducks and geese. Linlithgow had with him two loaders to help him reload, and his guns got so hot with the rapid firing that they had to be sloshed regularly with cold water!

During Springs The Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary Comes To Life
India Taj Mahal ToursBest time to visit this bird sanctuary is during summers.The first shower of the season makes the park come alive, teeming with hundreds of feathered species. Cormorants, darters, spoonbills, ibises, herons, egrets, cranes, pelicans, flamingos, geese, ducks, larks, chats, kites, buntings, eagles, harriers, owls, vultures, kingfishers and many more are the part of this vibrant wetland, building nests in an estimated 50,000 trees. There are few places in the world where such a variety of birds can be so easily observed.

Visitors have claimed to have seen at least 80 species of birds among the 370 apart from some animals like the jackal, mongoose, sambar (large Asiatic deer), wild boar, turtles, monitor lizards within just half an hour of stepping into the park.

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