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Rajasthan wildlife

 
 
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, one of the most spectacular bird sanctuaries in India, nesting indigenous water- birds as well as migratory water birds and water side birds. It is also inhabited by sambar, chital, nilgai and boar. More than 300 species of birds are found in this small park of 29 sq. km. of which 11 sq. km. are marshes and the rest scrubland and grassland. Keoladeo, the name derives from an ancient Hindu temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, which stands at the centre of the park. 'Ghana' means dense, referring to the thick forest, which used to cover the area. While many of India's parks have been developed from the hunting preserves of princely India, Keoladeo Ghana is perhaps the only case where the habitat has been created by a maharaja. In earlier times, Bharatpur town used to be flooded regularly every monsoon. In 1760, an earthern dam (Ajan Dam) was constructed, to save the town, from this annual vagary of nature. The depression created by extraction of soil for the dam was cleared and this became the Keoladeo lake. At the beginning of this century, this lake was developed, and was divided into several portions. A system of small dams, dykes, sluice gates, etc., was created to control water level in different sections. This became the hunting preserve of the Bharatpur royalty, and one of the best duck - shooting wetlands in the world. Hunting was prohibited by mid-60s. The area was declared a national park on 10 March 1982, and accepted as a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
Over 350 species of birds find a refuge in the 29 sq km of shallow lakes and woodland, which makes up the park. A third of them are migrants, many of whom spend their winters in Bharatpur, before returning to their breeding grounds, as far away as Siberia and Central Asia. Migratory birds at Keoladeo include, as large a bird as Dalmatian pelican, which is slightly less than two meters, and as small a bird as Siberian disky leaf warbler, which is the size of a finger. Other migrants include several species of cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, shanks, stints, wagtails, warblers, wheatears, flycatchers, buntings, larks and pipits, etc. But of all the migrants, the most sought after is the Siberian Crane or the great white crane, which migrates to this site every year, covering a distance of more than half the globe. These birds, numbering only a few hundred, are on the verge of extinction. It is birds from the western race of the species, that visit Keoladeo, migrating from the Ob river basin region, in the Aral mountains, in Siberia via Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are only two wintering places, left for this extremely rare species.One is in Feredunkenar in Iran, and the other is Keoladeo Ghana. The journey to Bharatpur takes them 6,400 kms from their breeding grounds, in Siberia. They arrive in December and stay till early March. Unlike Indian cranes, the Siberian crane is entirely vegetarian. It feeds on underground aquatic roots and tubers in loose flocks of five or six.

Ranthambhore National Park
Near the township of Sawai Madhopur, in the state of Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is an outstanding example of Project Tiger's efforts at conservationin the country. The forests around the Ranthambore Fort were once, the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The desire to preserve the game in these forests for sport, was responsible for their conservation, and subsequent rescue by Project Tiger. The Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 sq kms. Steep crags embracea network of lakes and rivers, and a top one of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambore Fort, built in the 10th century. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bushland. The forest is the typically dry deciduous type, with dhok, being the most prominent tree. The entry point to the Park, goes straight to the foot of the fort and the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal. The latter boasts of the second-largest banyan tree in India. The Padam Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Milak Talab are some of the lakes in the area, that attract the tiger population . They have been spotted at the edges of these lakes, and Jogi Mahal itself. Old crumbling walls, ruined pavilions, wells, and other ancient structures stand witness to the region's glorious past. The entire forest is peppered with the battlements and spillovers of the Ranthambore Fort - tigers are said to frequent these ruins, too. As a result of stringent efforts in conservation, tigers, the prime assets of the Park, have become more and more active during the day. More than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers are easily spotted here in daylight. They can be seen lolling around lazily in the sun, or feverishly hunting down sambar around the lakes.

When to visit : The best time to visit the park is between October and April. The parkis closed during the monsoon, from June to October.

Getting there : By air: Jaipur (165 km) is the nearest airport.

By rail : The Park is around 12 km away from Sawai Madhopur railway station, that lies on the Delhi to Bombay trunk route.

By road : A good network of buses connect Sawai Madhopur with quite a few areas around.

Where to stay : RDC Hotel Jhoomar Baari, RTDC Hotel Kamdhenu, Sawai Madhopur Lodge, PWD Rest House, and Jogi Mahal which lies within the park premises, are some of the available means of accomodation.

Desert National Park

The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar desert and its diverse fauna. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major landform consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes which are quite suitable for the chinkara to move at high speed. The blackbuck is another common antelope of this region. Its other notable inhabitants are the desert fox, Bengal fox, wolf and desert cat.Sudashri forest post is the ideal place for observing the wildlife of Desert National Park and is the most suitable in the entire 3162 sq. kms. of this park for watching and photographing the activities of the animals from behind cover.
Birdlife in this sandy habitat is vivid and spectacular. Birds such as the sandgrouse, partridges, bee-eaters, larks and shrikes are commonly seen. Demoiselle crane and houbara arrive in the winter. CranesThe birds of prey seen here are tawny and steppe eagles, long legged and honey buzzards, falcons and kestrels. But the most outstanding of the avifauna is the great Indian bustard. This tall, heavy bird is an epitome of confidence and grace. It is good to see five or six bustards near Sudashri water hole.
This park is also very rich in reptiles. Spiny tail lizard, monitor lizard, saw sealed viper, Russel's viper, Sind krait, toad agama and sandfish are found in large numbers.18 kms. from Jaisalmer is the Akal Wood Fossils Park which is about 180 million years of age. Sea shells and massive fossilised tree trunks in this park record the geological history of the desert.

Sariska National Park
Sariska became a sanctuary in the year 1958. The sanctuary came under the project Tiger in 1979 and became a national park in 1982. It is located at Kankwari fort, near Alwar, on the Delhi Jaipur Highway. The terrain is predominantly hilly, as it lies in the Aravalli range. It has total area of 788 sq. kilometres, with a core area of approx. 47sq. kilometres. At last count in 1985, there 35 tigers were reported. Other carnivores of the area are the panthe, jungle cat, jackal and hyena. Three caracals were also reported during the last census in 1985. Other animals include the sambhar, chital, wild boar, hare, nilgai and umpteen porcupines. The birdlife comprises of the pea fowl, gray partridge, quail, sandgrouse, tree pie, white breasted kingfisher, golden woodpecker and great Indian horned owl.
When to visit : November to March is the best period to visit.