Keoladeo Ghana National Park – Ramsar Wetland Site & UNESCO World Heritage site

Keoladeo Ghana National Park alias Keoladeo National Park is a famous avifauna sanctuary that is home to  thousands of birds, situated at Bharatpur, Rajasthan state, India.  It is also a Ramsar Wetland Site and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, BharatpurKeoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur.

Keoladeo wildlife national park was previously known by the name Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, as it is situated at Bharatpur.  It was named as a national park on 10th March, 1982. It was previously declared as a bird sanctuary on 13th March, 1976. In October 1981, it was declared as a  Ramsar site. In 1985, this national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a man made wetland, built around 250 years ago mainly as a waterfowl hunting ground. A bund was constructed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the king of the princely state of Bharatpur,  at the confluence of two rivers, the Gambhir and Banganga river. The reserve is spread over an area of  29 square kilometers (11 square miles) and is locally known as Ghana.  Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India from 1936 to 1943, shot thousands of ducks at this park in a single day!

There is a boundary wall along the sides of the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, thus restricting the encroachment by humans. Cattle gazing is banned inside Ghana National Park. Unlike other national park,this one does not have any buffer zone and is surrounded by heavenly populated villages numbers around 15.

Flora and Fauna at Keoladeo Ghana National Park

The park is rich in flora and fauna. 379 floral species are found in this wildlife park.  50 species of fish and 13 species of snakes are foound in this national park.  It is also habitat for a large number of other fauna. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is believed to be one of the world’s best bird sanctuaries.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park is home to around 230 species of birds. A large number of migratory birds comes to this park during the winter months.  A total of 366 bird species were found in this park. Ornithologists  throng this sanctuary in large numbers. It is a bird watchers paradise. There are three watch towers inside the sanctuary.

How Do I Go to Keoladeo Ghana National Park?

Keoladeo Ghana National Park is situated at around 2 kilometers from Bharatpur town. It is close to the

Agra city, famous for the world wonder, Taj Mahal, is at around 55 kilometers from this wildlife national park. The nearest airport is at Agra.

Jaipur and New Delhi are  at around 180 kilometers distance from Keoladeo National Park. Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna, is at around 35 kilometers from Keoladeo Ghana National Park  at Bharatpur.

Accommodation  is available at Bharatpur Forest Lodge, inside the national park. There are 17 air-conditioned rooms at Bharatpur Forest Lodge. It is  run by the government and is situated inside the National park. There are many hotels and restaurants at Bharatpur city.

Vinay Vilas Mahal or City Palace and State Museum at Alwar

Vinay Vilas Mahal or City Palce at Alwar in Rajasthan state, India, is a magnificent palace which was built in 1793 CE, by Raja Bakhtawar Sing.
State museum inside Vinay Vilas Mahal (City Palace) at Alwar

This ancient palace is a fusion of Rajputana and Islamic architectural styles. The city palace has marble pavilions on lotus shaped base in the courtyard. There is a golden Durbar hall in the palace.

The palace houses the state museum. It has a good collection of manuscripts. One such ancient manuscript depicts the life of Emperor Babur. Among other items on display are Ragamala paintings and miniatures. Ancient swords that once belonged to Emperor Akbar, Emperor Aurangzeb and Muhammad Ghori are also on display at Alwar Government Museum. Writings and Paintings on palm leaves by scholars, kings, etc, are on display at this local museum. This ancient museum was started in 1908.

Vinay Vilas Maha has been converted into a District Administrative office. It houses the District Court offices also.

Alwar fort or Bala Qilla as is known, is situated in the Aravali Mountain Ranges in Alwar town. This fort  has never been  conquered nor invaded by any kings.

How Do I Go to Vinay Vilas Mahal at Alwar?

Vinay Vilas Mahal is centrally located with frequent bus services to other parts of the city.

Alwar Junction railway station under Jaipur railway division (on the New Delhi – Jaipur railway line), is situated at around 4 kilometers from the city palace. AWR is the station code for Alwar.

New Delhi Airport is the nearest airport at around 143 kilometers away. Jaipur Airport is  at around 165 kilometers away from Alwar.

Get Treated like Royals at Lallgarh Palace Hotel in Bikaner

Lallgarh Palace is a century old palace located at in Bikaner in Rajasthan state,India. It is located deep in the heart of the Thar Desert.

Lallgarh PalaceLallgarh Palace at Bikaner in Rajasthan, India.

Lallgarh Palace was commissioned by Maharaja Ganga Singhji (1881–1942) of Bikaner. It was built in Indo-Saracenic style of architecture in between 1902 and 1926, as the existing Junagarh Palace was thought to be  unsuitable for the young and  modern monarch like him.

Bikaner Laxmi Niwas Palace, which is part of the Lallgarh Palace,  was constructed in 1902. Remaining three wings were completed in stages with final completion of the place was  in 1926. The Karni Niwas is the palace with Durbar Hall (King’s noble court) and an indoor swimming pool.

Lallgarh Palace  is at a distance of around 5 miles from the old Junagarh Palace. Junagarh Palace is located inside the Bikaner Junagarh Fort.  The three story Lallgarh palace is coated in red sandstone obtained from Thar Desert. The dining room have a capacity to  seat 400 diners!

The palace was named after Maharaja Lall Singh, father of the young monarch. The architect was Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob (British architect).

Two wings of the Lallgarh Palace,  and  have been converted into luxury heritage hotel. There are  59 rooms in this hotel. The palace is also available for corporate conferences and weddings as well as film and photography shoots.

The Maharaja Ganga Singhji Trust was formed in 1972 by the legal heirs of the royal family and  transferred two wings of the palace into the Trust. In 1974, this trust started running this heritage hotel from those two wings.

How Do I Go to Lallgarh Palace Hotel?

Lallgarh Palace Hotel, the best among hotels in Bikaner, is located near the roadway bus stand in Bikaner city. Bikaner is well connected by roads, train and flight to other parts of the country

Bikaner Junction railway station (station code BKN) is the railway station located in the city.

Bikaner city is well connected by roads. NH  11,  NH 15 and NH 89 joins at Bikaner. There is an airport at Bikaner which is connected with daily flights to Jaipur and New Delhi.

Alila Fort Bishangarh – Get Treated like Royalty at this Heritage Palace Hotel

Alila Fort alias Bishangarh Fort is a 230 year old fort on top of the only granite hill in the Aravalli Range of mountains,  at Bishangarh in Rajasthan, India. It is situated near to Jaipur city. The fort and the palace has now been converted into a luxury heritage hotel named Alila Fort Bishangarh. There are 59 suite rooms in this heritage resort or hotel. The hotel is the fusion of its grand majesty with its well preserved history and modernity.

This ancient fort was is built in Jaipur Gharana architecture (a combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture styles). The Shahpura and Shekhawat royal families which built this fort, owed their allegiance to the Jaipur royal family.

This warrior fort is spread over an area of 100,000 square feet. 30,000 square feet area is covered with Rajasthani marbles, while the rest is covered with local sandstone. Royal residences and soldier’s quarters has all been renovated, keeping in mind the historical value of the buildings.

This fort has never seen any war.

The palace hotel is available for weddings and meetings.

How Do I Go to Alila Fort Bishangarh, the Heritage Palace Hotel?

Alila Fort Bishangarh is in Jaipur district. Alila Fort Bishangarh is situated at around six kilometers off National Highway 8 (Delhi-Jaipur National Highway) at Manoharpur in Bishangarh Village.  It takes around 1 hour to reach the fort from Jaipur airport, which is situated at a distance of around 60 kilometers.

Hawa Mahal Jaipur Palace is at around 57 kilometers away from this palatial  hotel.  Amber Palace Jaipur is at around 49 kilometers distance from the palace hotel at Bishangarh.

New Delhi International airport is at a distance of around 180 kilometers from Bishangarh  fort alias Alila Fort.  Agra Taj Mahal  is situated at around 260 kilometers from Bishangarh fort hotel. Fatehpur Sikri is at around 221 kilometers from this  heritage palace hotel, Alila Fort Bishangarh. 

 

Chand Baori! Can you imagine a Stepwell with 3500 steps across 13 stories?

Chand Baori is an ancient step-well built by Nikumbh dynasty ruler King Chanda, between 800 CE and 900 CE. It is situated at Abhaneri village in  Dausa district, Rajasthan state, India.

Chand Baori step well
Chand Baori step well in Rajasthan state, India.

The step well here is made-up of 3500 steps across 13 stories. It has a depth of 30 meters, this making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India.

The state of Rajasthan is arid. Thar Desert is situated here in this state. To conserve water, a scarce resource in the state, the the ancient kings of Rajasthan state made a few massive step-wells like this one.

At one side of Chand Baori at Abhaneri, there is a resting room and pavilion for the royal family. This stepwell used to be the  gathering place for the locals, during the peak summer season.

Super hit movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Batman) and  ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ are two movies with scenes at Chand Baori step-well site. It has also been featured in many Indian movies.

Harshat Mata Temple

Ruins of Harshat Mata temple is a nearby ancient historic temple, situated very close to the step wells site. This temple is known for its exquisite carvings.

Harshat Mata Temple was built in-between 7th and 8th centuries.  The temple was destroyed by Islamic invaders, in the 10th century. The temple remains are proof to the of architectural and sculptural styles prevalent those days.

How Do I Go to Chand Baori?

Chand Baori step wells is situated at around 290 kilometers distance from Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan. Kota  is the nearest major town at around, 40 kilometers distance.

As the place is currently abandoned, there are no buses to Chand Baori step-wells site. From Sikandra town, you can hire a taxi or a jeep to go to Abhaneri village. The distance from Sikandra to the step wells site is  around 7.5 kilometers. The charges for a return journey is around Rupees 300. Before hiring the vehicle, please confirm the rates with the driver.

Chand Baori Stepwell Timings

The stepwell site is open on all days, except major public holidays. There are no entry fees to be paid at  this majestic stepwell.