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Bharatpur

 

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Bharatpur district:

181 km (112 miles) E of Jaipur.

Total Population

204,500

Dargah ,Ajmer
 

 

MosT FAMOUS for its bird sanctuary, the kingdom of Bharatpur was founded by the fearless Jats, a community of landowners. Their most remarkable leader, Raja Suraj Mal (r.I724-63), fortified the city of Bharatpur in 1733 and used the loot from Mughal buildings to embellish the forts and palaces of his kingdom.


In the centre of the town is Lohagarh ("Iron Fort"), a masterpiece of construction. Its massive double rampalts of packed mud and rubble surrounded by impressive moats withstood repeated attacks by the Marathas and the British until it was finally captured by Lord Lake in 1805. Three palaces built in the fOlt display a fine mix of Mughal and Rajput stylistic detail. One is now the site of a pharmaceutical college, while the other two, around the Katcheri Bagh, house the State Museum. Its artifacts include a rare collec­ tion of Ist- and 2nd-century stone carvings. An interesting sunken hamam (bath) is close by. In 1818, Bharatpur became the region's first princely state to sign a treaty with the East India Company.


Keoladeo Ghana National Park

A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE regarded as one of the world's most important bird sanctuaries, Keoladeo Ghana derives its name from a Shiva temple Keoladeo) within a dense forest (ghana). This once-arid scrubland was first developed by Bharatpur's rulers in the mid-18th century by diverting the waters of a nearby irrigation canal to create a private duck reserve. Extravagant shooting parties for British viceroys and other royal guests were held here, and horrifying numbers of birds were shot in a single day. Today, the park spreads over 29 sq km (11 sq miles) of wetlands, and attracts a wide variety of migrant and water birds who fly in each winter from places as distant as Siberia. Keoladeo's dry area has mixed deciduous and scrub vegetation and is home to many animals, including the famed nilgai.

The park attracts over 375 bird species belonging to 56 families. Egrets, darters, cormorants, grey herons and storks hatch nearly 30,000 chicks evety year. The park'S most eagerly awaited visitor is the Siberian crane, now an endangered species. Other birds include the peregrine falcon, steppe eagle, garganery teal, snake bird and white ibis. Among the large variety of storks are the open-bill stork, the painted stork and the black- necked stork, considered to be the world's tallest stork. Standing on coral-colouredlegs, the bird is 2 111 (7 ft) tall. with a wingspan of 2.5 m (8 ft). The Sarus crane. a symbol of fidelity in Indian mythology it partner for life with an elaborate mating dance.