As someone who loves spending time in nature and clicking landscape and animal/bird photographs, it was only a matter of time before I planned a visit to the amazing Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. What I didn’t realize is that there are several amazing places to visit in Bharatpur apart from the Bird Sanctuary.
While this city is perfect for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts, there is a lot you can do around here. You can plan a proper weekend trip and enjoy a relaxed and peaceful getaway from Delhi.
In this guide, I have shared all the information that you need to know to plan a trip here and a few places to visit in Bharatpur on a trip.
Where is Bharatpur?
One of the most frequently asked questions by people who don’t know about Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is ‘Where is Bharatpur?’.
Well, Bharatpur is a small city in Rajasthan and is close to Agra and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. This city is around 180 km from the capital city of Delhi and is a part of the National Capital Region (NCR). Known as the ‘Eastern Gate of Rajasthan’, this city was once considered to be impregnable due to the Lohagarh Fort and the surrounding moat.
Most importantly, this city is known for its diverse flora and fauna and is a paradise for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts. And there are many places to visit in Bharatpur and around this city that make it a must-visit place in Rajasthan for all travelers.
History of Bharatpur
Did you know that the history of Bharatpur dates back to 5th century BC?
Yes, that’s right! It has been found that Bharatpur was ruled by the Matsya Kingdom who was an ally of Pandavas in the Kurukshetra Battle. A legend also says that Bharatpur was named after Lord Rama’s younger brother, Bharat. And since Laxman was given the prestigious position of the family deity, his name appears in the coat of arms and state steals of this city.
In the 18th century, Maharaja Suraj Mal defeated Khemkaran and captured Bharatpur and laid the foundation of this city. He was quite enthusiastic about expanding the kingdom and build a lot of forts and palaces in and around this city.
As you already know, Bharatpur is also home to one of the world’s best bird sanctuaries – Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Around 250 years ago, the Bharatpur ruler allowed the area to be flooded and turned into a marsh. And now, this man-made wetland sees several migratory birds every year such as raptors, geese, flycatchers, waders, and so on. In the winter season, avid bird watchers and ornithologists visit this bird sanctuary to learn more about these feathered beings.
How to Reach Bharatpur
There are several ways to reach Bharatpur depending on your starting destination. Here are a few modes of transportation to consider when planning a trip to Bharatpur.
The nearest airport to Bharatpur is Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Airport in Agra. This airport is situated at a distance of 55 km from Bharatpur. You will find regular flights connecting Agra to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, etc. so you can reach here via a flight.
From Agra, you can take a cab or bus to reach Bharatpur.
If you are planning to visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary from Delhi, then one of the cheapest and fastest ways to reach Bharatpur is via a train. Bharatpur Junction is connected to major cities in India such as Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, and so on.
So, you can easily find a train and reach Bharatpur.
One of the best ways to make the most of your trip to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary from Delhi is by driving a car to Bharatpur. It can be a fun road trip and will take you barely 4-5 hours to reach Bharatpur from Delhi. This road trip is possible if you are planning a trip from Jaipur, Agra, Alwar, and other adjoining places as well.
Apart from road-tripping, you also have the option to book a bus from nearby cities but this can be a little uncomfortable and long journey.
Best Time to Visit Bharatpur
The best time to visit Bharatpur is between October and March as you can enjoy watching migratory birds in the Keoladeo National Park during this time. Usually, the birds migrate back to their original homes from mid-February. So, if you don’t plan a visit during these 3-4 months, you could miss out on these birds.
It is also a pleasant time to visit as it is winter in Rajasthan and the average temperature ranges between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius. However, you will need some warm clothes to keep you cozy during these months so pack carefully.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Details
One of the top places to visit in Bharatpur is the Keoladeo National Park and here is everything you need to know about this park.
Over 230 species call this National Park their home and it was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and receives thousands of ornithologists throughout the year. This nature reserve is a mixture of grasslands, woodland swamps, woodlands, and wetlands and is popularly known as Ghana by the locals.
This habitat is home to over 350 bird species, 379 floral species, 13 species of snakes, 50 species of fishes, and so on. And every year, thousands of migratory birds visit this area for wintering and breeding.
Modes of Transportation in the Park
There are four modes of transportation available in the park.
Walking – You can enjoy a walk on the 11 km paved path inside this national park. The walk is easily doable and offers you a chance to properly observe your surroundings to watch the birds.
Bicycling – Another option is to rent a bicycle here and then explore the park on your bicycle. This will save a lot of time and gives you the flexibility of stopping wherever you want too.
Cycle-Rickshaw – If you are carrying heavy lenses with you or are here on a trip with your family then a cycle-rickshaw is the best way to enjoy the park.
Horse Carriage – If you are in a rush, then a ride in the horse carriage is the best way to make the most of your time here. It is perfect for kids and the elderly too and allows you to enjoy a ride in nature.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is open throughout the week and is only closed in May and June. Here are the timings for this National Park:
6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Summer season)
6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Winter season)
Fees and Costs
Entry Cost for Indians – 75 INR per person
Entry Cost for Foreigners – 500 INR per person
Video Camera Fee – 600 – 90,000 INR (depending on the camera type)
Bicycle Rent – 50 to 100 INR per day
Cycle-Rickshaw Charges – 150 INR per hour
Guide Charges – 250 INR per hour
Places to Visit in Bharatpur and Things to Do Here
As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of places to visit in Bharatpur to make the most of your stay here. Take a look at a few places that you can visit in Bharatpur.
Identify the Birds in Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary)
Of course, one of the best places to visit in Bharatpur is the Keoladeo National Park, aka Keoladeo Ghana National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. This national park is famous for its fauna and birds and has a lot to offer in terms of view and natural surroundings.
If you are an ornithologist or a bird enthusiast then you are going to love visiting this place. Make sure that you set aside a complete day to spend time inside this park to spot the different birds and animals that can be found here.
Visit the Government Museum in Bharatpur
If you love historical facts and findings then one of the best places to visit in Bharatpur is the Government Museum. This museum in the Lohagarh fort reflects the local culture and is home to many ancient artifacts on history, ancient traditions, and art. In this museum, you will find terracotta items, coins, stone sculptures, weapons, and a lot more.
That’s not all, there is an art gallery here where you can admire the ancient art preserved on mica, old lithe paper, and peepal tree and is available for viewing.
Visit the Dholpur Palace Made Out of Red Sandstone
Do you love red sandstone architecture?
If yes, then you should visit the Dholpur Palace in Bharatpur. Also known as the Raj Niwas Palace, this place was built in the 19th century and easily catches your eye with its stunning red sandstone work. The intricate architecture along with the strong structure makes this an impressive palace to admire and visit in Bharatpur.
Enjoy a Walk or Cycling in Nature
If you are not a fan of wildlife photography or bird-watching, Bharatpur National Park is still a great place to visit. You can choose to just enjoy being surrounded by greenery and can walk or cycle around the area. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon unique species such as Star Tortoise, Golden Jackal, Fishing Cat, and so on.
Make sure that you start early morning for this national park to enjoy the golden light during the sunrise time. Trust me, walking on this path is truly reinvigorating and will make you instantly calm and relaxed.
Spend Time at the Water Palace (Deeg)
Deeg is a small town that is mainly comprised of the Palace complex and is popular for the 3-day Deeg festival that is held here every September. Deeg is also just 37 km from Bharatpur which makes it one of the prominent places to visit in Bharatpur.
Make sure that you visit the Deeg Fort here which has gorgeous architecture, similar to the famous Jal Mahal.
Learn the Local Culture at Chawad Devi Temple
Are you looking for a little solitude? If yes, then the Chawad Devi Temple in Bharatpur is the perfect place for you to visit. This temple allows you to learn more about the history, culture, and traditions of Bharatpur while providing you with a tranquil and peaceful environment. Plan a visit in the morning to enjoy the serenity around here.
Explore the Lohagarh Fort
Another one of the top places to visit in Bharatpur is the Lohagarh Fort which is also known as the Iron fort. One of the strongest structures in Rajasthan, the Lohagarh fort is a popular tourist attraction in Bharatpur and currently houses the city and its people. You can explore the fort to admire the beautiful architecture and learn why this fort was called impregnable at a time.
Go to the Bankey Bihari Temple and Laxman Mandir
Built under the Mughal rule, Bankey Bihari temple is located inside the Lohagarh fort and is a must-visit attraction in Bharatpur. Here, you can enjoy some peace and calm while taking in the auspicious atmosphere.
On the other hand, if grand arches, embellished walls, intricately carved doors, and imposing idols impress you then you should visit the Laxman temple. Here, you will historical and cultural inscriptions on the temple walls that are priceless. And although this temple was dedicated to Lord Rama’s brother, Laxman, you will find here statues of Bharat, Shatrughan, and Urmila here made out of the ‘Ashtadhatu’.
Visit the Bharatpur Palace and Museum
Bharatpur Palace is one of the top places to visit in Bharatpur as it combines both Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. With a rich flooring pattern and decorated walls, this palace looks extremely glamorous.
There is also a Kamra Khas i.e., museum inside this palace that is filled with several stone sculptures, ancient scriptures, and local art and crafts. So, you learn about the history and culture of Bharatpur here.
Enjoy a Day Trip to Fatehpur Sikri
Located around 24 km away from Bharatpur, Fatehpur Sikri is another destination that you cannot miss out on your Bharatpur trip. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century and is also known as the ‘City of Victory’.
This city is an example of the Mughal architectural finesse with a blend of Hindu and Islamic elements in both style and design. The entire city is predominantly made of red sandstone and comprises of several buildings. A few of the buildings that were built here were the Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-Khaan-I-Khaas, Palace of Jodha Bai, Daulat Khana-I-Khas, and so on.
You can plan a day trip here from Bharatpur and marvel at the gorgeous architecture while learning the history and culture of the Mughals that ruled at the time.
ATMs in Bharatpur
There are several ATMs available in Bharatpur, both in the city and around Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary too. So, if you need to withdraw cash, you won’t face any issues over here.
Mobile Network in Bharatpur
Airtel works the best in Bharatpur city while other carriers like Jio, Vodafone, and Idea offer intermittent network service here. So, if you have an Airtel Sim, you don’t need to worry. For other networks, it would be better to inform your friends and family members beforehand about the low network availability here.
Where to Stay in Bharatpur
There are many resorts in Bharatpur that offer you a relaxed and enjoyable stay during your visit. And the best thing is that most of these hotels in Bharatpur are close to the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. So, it will take you just a few minutes to start early and reach the National Park for bird watching.
During my stay, I stayed in one of the resorts in Bharatpur known as the Pride Kadamb Kunj Resort. Here are a few things which made me enjoy my stay in this resort in Bharatpur.
Close Proximity to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
This resort was just 3 km from Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and we could easily walk and reach the National Park gate.
You can also enjoy a Keoladeo National Park day package from the resort to make the most of your trip. They arrange the guide, transportation, etc. for your day trip to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
And if you have your car, then it is extremely convenient to stay here. The highway in front of the resort is usually empty and you won’t experience any traffic when you make your way to the city or the Bird Sanctuary.
Comfortable and Cozy Rooms
Another great thing about the Pride Kadamb Kunj Resort in Bharatpur is that the rooms are quite spacious and cozy here. They offer you warm bedding and you can always ask for an extra blanket if you feel cold.
There is also an attached bathroom and toilet where you get hot water in the mornings. It is quite clean too and you get basic amenities like shampoo, soap, etc. here to use.
One of my favorite things about this resort is that it is situated away from the city hustle-bustle. So, you can enjoy some peace and solitude here. The resort premises are surrounded by fields and greenery and you will encounter a lot of birds in the resort itself. So, if you love to spend time in a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed by road noises or people then this is a great location for staying.
Good Services and Amenities
Finally, Pride Kadamb Kunj also has a swimming pool, game room, and a dining room that are accessible to all the guests staying here. You can enjoy a nice buffet breakfast here as well which consists of both Indian and western cuisine. Plus, I had a lot of fun playing billiards in the game room where they keep other games as well.
They also offer you a heater in your room if you tend to feel cold during your stay here.
Food Options in Bharatpur
There are a lot of snack shops and restaurants available in Bharatpur where they provide you with delicious food. If you are staying in a hotel or resort, then you can simply order the food over there and enjoy a scrumptious meal.
If you are sightseeing in Bharatpur then you will find several restaurants available here where they serve authentic food. A few restaurants that you can try in Bharatpur are Celebrations, Italian Pizza House, City Spice, and so on.
As for the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, there aren’t many food shops here as they try to preserve the area for the birds and animals. So, if you would like to have a filling breakfast or lunch, you will need to check out a restaurant or food stall outside the National Park. There is one canteen area inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. However, it is a little out of the way and is not recommended if you are short on time.
How to Travel in Bharatpur
Bharatpur is a small city but there are several ways to travel around here.
Rickshaws and Auto-Rickshaws
You will find a lot of rickshaws and auto-rickshaws here ready to take you wherever you want. In Keoladeo National Park, you can easily get a rickshaw if you are not interested in cycling or walking around to explore this national park. The cost of a cycle-rickshaw inside the Bird Sanctuary is 150 INR for an hour.
For longer distances, you can get an Auto-rickshaw here too. However, make sure that you bargain the price beforehand else they will charge you an exorbitant amount.
Rent a Cycle or Walk
One of the best ways to explore Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is by renting a cycle for 50 – 100 INR for a day. Another option is to walk around the national park and explore nearby places too.
Finally, if you are planning to travel short distances then a bus is a great way to travel too. You can reach Agra, Mathura, Fatehpur Sikri, etc. via buses and it is quite reasonably priced as well.
Overall, my trip to Bharatpur and the Keoladeo National Park turned out to be a lot of fun. I am so glad that I decided to visit otherwise I would have never known about the amazing places to visit in Bharatpur. So, if you are looking for a peaceful weekend getaway from Delhi then this place is perfect for you.
You can even plan a road trip and cover nearby places like Agra, Mathura, Jaipur, and so on. And if you are planning a proper Rajasthan trip then make sure you add Bharatpur to your itinerary too.