Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or the Keoladeo Ghana National Park is most certainly a birders paradise. (ghana means dense)

Though I have been taking pictures for more than two decades, I am fairly new to bird photography.  I had heard a lot about Bharatpur and wanted to try what this place has to offer for a nature or bird photographer. 

This Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Photography tour was really special for us because we did this just before the lockdown and we lived through the difficult period remembering the good times we had there.

More than 350 species of birds come here every winter, most of them are migrants from outside the country as far as Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. There are more than 70 species that are local residents of this place. 

My Bharatpur Pictures

See my pictures of Ladakh in better resolution here .

(for computer users)

You will be surprised to know that at one time, it was a hunting ground for the Maharajas. There is a board just outside the sanctuary gate which displays how many thousands of ducks each visitor killed when they visited this place. I was wondering how cruel these people can be. Thankfully, it got the status of National Park in 1982 and is now a World Heritage site declared by UNESCO in 1985. It was also declared as a Ramsar Wetland Site 

I came here with zero expectations and was delighted to be here. I realised that this is the best place for anyone who wants to start with bird photography. 

Bird photography is one of the most challenging genres of Photography. A landscape photographer will come back with at least something, but in bird photography there are times when you come back with no a single acceptable picture. It has happened to me many times.

But, this can never happen in Bharatpur. You can never go back disappointed. Here the birds are so used to human presence that they don't bother. In fact, when we had our breakfast inside the park, there were many jungle babblers who came close to us expecting us to give them something.

Keoladeo is named after the ancient Shiva temple located inside the park.

Where Is Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur is located in the Indian state of Rajasthan, very close to the border with Uttar Pradesh. It is at a distance of 55 kms from Agra on the Agra Jaipur highway. 

If you are a visitor to India doing the golden triangle (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra) Bharatpur will be on the way.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Map


How To Come To Bharatpur

How To Come Bharatpur from Agra

The nearest airport to Bharatpur is Agra which is just 55 kms away. On the way you have to come via Fatehpur Sikri, so if you are a history buff as well, you might like to spend some time here. 

If you are coming by train to Bharatpur, this place has a station with limited connectivity. You will get a lot more trains to Agra. Fortunately, there is a train from Mumbai that stops at Bharatpur.


How To Come to Bharatpur from Delhi / Gurgaon

From New Delhi airport, Bharatpur is 210 kms and will take about 4 hours to reach.


How To Come to Bharatpur from Jaipur

From Jaipur airport, the drive to Bharatpur is 186 kms and takes about 3.5 hours.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary - Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bharatpur is from November to February when the place is filled with migratory birds. The weather is also pleasant. The fog adds to the beauty of the place.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary - Ticket cost / Entry Fees

Indian Rs.75, Non Indian Rs.500 
Rickshaw - Rs.150/hours

Most of the Rickshaw wallas have good knowledge about birds too.

Cycles are also available for rent at a nominal cost and is one of the best ways to travel around. You can also try walking, but if you want to cover more area, a cycle is the best.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary - Open Timings

The park is open from sunrise to sunset (6am to 6pm). Timings might vary based on the sunrise timing.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary - Official Website

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Famous for which Bird

At one it was famous for the Critically Endangered Siberian Crane which is not found here anymore. Personally, I love to see the Sarus Cranes, especially their courtship which is a great experience to witness.

There are many birds that stay in Bharatpur all year-round. There are other local migrants. The majority of the birds come from outside India during the winter.

Here is a list of some species - herons, storks, cormorants, ducks, kingfishers, owlets. There are quite a lot of raptors here as well.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Accommodation / Best Hotels

You will find hotels of all budget ranges in Bharatpur. The best ones might not suit everyone's budget. 

My personal favorite is the Forest Rest House inside the park but that has very limited access.

For most people, you will find hotels on the highway. If you are staying in any of these hotels, you will have to spend about 30 minutes to reach the park gates, so please plan for that.

The best hotels are - The Bagh, Udai Vilas Palace, Regenta Resort and Laxmi Vilas Palace.

Iora Guest House is cheap and good if you are on a budget.

Be there before the park opens. Mornings and evenings are the best times. 

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Pictures







































Tips for photographers

Be there before the park opens. Mornings and evenings are the best times. 

Wear comfortable shoes. Be prepared to walk a lot, there are many places where cycles or rickshaws cannot reach, and the only way to reach those places is by walking.

Carry water with you, preferably a bottle that you can bring and refill. 

Don’t speak or laugh too loud, it will disturb the birds.

Bring your hat or cap, at times it can be sunny.


Equipments for Photographers at Bharatpur

A telephoto lens is a must if you want to take great shots of the birds. There are also a lot of opportunities for landscape photographers. So, your kit lens will also be useful.

If you want to spend time at one place watching and shooting birds, a tripod will be very helpful.


Many thanks to Chotu Afzal Khan our very knowledgeable guide who showed us the best of Bharatpur.

This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.He strives to make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks.
All rights reserved. No copying without permission of the author Saurabh Chatterjee

Share with others