Trip to Bharatpur bird Sanctuary

We had a three day long weekend coming up in September,2009 and wanted to drive down to someplace close to Delhi in a radius of 200 kms. After a lot of searching on the internet and asking around, we zeroed in on the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary. The next challenge was to find a place to stay. Again, internet came to the rescue and we decided that we’ll stay at The Birder’s Inn ( ). However, the decision to book the place was left at run-time and we didn’t reserve the birder’s inn beforehand (we were really thankful for that afterwards)

The Road
We started at 9:30 a.m. in the morning in our Maruti Swift. Took the road via Faridabad towards Mathura, onto the NH-2 and then there s a right turn for Bharatpur.The road is real good except for the last 10 kms which does not have a road at all. It has only potholes and mud. We reached bharatpur at around 2:30 p.m. One can reach quicker than we did. We just took a lot of frequent breaks in between.
En-route, the only good option to eat is either one Mall towards your left when you enter Mathura (which has a Pizza Hut) or a Mc Donald’s which is near the Mathura Refinery. If you choose to eat at the Mc D’s then you’ll have to go straight for about 8-10 kms and then come back again to take the cut towards Bharatpur. So, stick to Pizza Hut or carry your own food. We had our food so din’t stop anywhere.


Bharatpur doesn’t look like a tourist-kinda place. It’s just a small town. There are no directions at all to the Bird Sanctuary (now known as Keoladeo National Park). Stick to the Indian GPS system of asking people around and the locals will direct you there.The bird sanctuary is situated on the outskirts of the town on the Agra-Jaipur highway.

Place to stay

We first went to the bird sanctuary and found out that there is a Bharatpur forest lodge right inside the national park. Anyhow, decided to check out ‘The Birder’s Inn’ first. It was located 200 mtrs from the National Park. On entering, I can’t even say that I was disappointed. I was completely heartbroken. It didn’t look even a spec of what is advertised on its website. It had NOTHING!!! Just a small lawn surrounded by few rooms: not even qualified to be called a resort. I thought that we’ll somehow spend one night there, check out the sanctuary and then head out to either Jaipur or back to Delhi. No way was this place worth spending two nights!!!

However, decided to check out the Bharatpur Forest Lodge, took an entry inside the park (Rs. 50/- for the car and Rs. 25/- per person). Was completely surprised by the location of the lodge. The term “lodge” is quite misleading and I would categorize it as a 3-star hotel. It’s a government undertaking, situated amidst the natural greenery of the park. From the balcony rooms, all we could see was lush green forest all around and hear the birds chirping. A perfect place for relaxation and spend two nights J. Jackals roam around in the night in the hotel’s lawn, so be careful.

Since it was off-season, the rate was Rs. 2500/- per night including breakfast. The rooms were pretty decent. The staff, very friendly and the services were good. The food was good too. For breakfast, you can choose from their pre-defined combos of poori-sabzi or paranthas or bread-jam alongwith tea/coffee/juice, etc. The poori-sabzi combo was the best.

I’d highly recommend this Hotel for your stay in Bharatpur. It is the best one.

Bharatpur Forest Lodge amidst the green jungle

From Bharatpur Trip : Setp 2009

Enjoy your morning breakfast in the lap of nature.

From Bharatpur Trip : Setp 2009

The National Park

We had our morning cup of coffee next day at 6 a.m. in the morning sitting outside in the hotel’s restaurants amongst the chirping birds and trees all around. Decided to hit the park right after that. The park’s entry was just 100 mtrs from the hotel. No vehicles are allowed, only the approved cycle-rickshaws ply inside the park. They charge Rs. 70/- per hour and the rickshaw puller doubles up as a guide, spotting birds and giving you all the details. There is also an electric van which charges Rs 200/- for a ride but its not worth it. They take you straight inside, without stopping much en-route and then come back. Not much of bird-watching is possible if you take the van.

Coming back to the rick-pullers: they are very friendly people and know everything about the birds and the park. In our 3-day stay, they recognized us and knew everything about us as well. In general, we found the people of Bharatpur very cordial and friendly:quite a contrast from the other tourist places that one visits.


From Bharatpur Trip : Setp 2009


Since bharatpur is a sleepy little town, all places close at around 10 o’clock in the night. So, don’t make it too late of you want to eat dinner outside. The Forest lodge serves dinner till 9:30 p.m. ONe good place to eat is the restaurant at the Laxmi Niwas Palace which is a Heritage Hotel around 4-5 kms from the lodge. I experimented with a continental dish there and it was really really goo, much above my expectations. Since a lot of foreigners stay there, so guess those people know how to make these exotic dishes. Other then that, the nearby hotels serve above average food.

The temple experience

There is a temple, walking distance from the hotel so we decided to check it out in the evening.The temple is a small one with a small pond adjacent to it. Seeing us, the pujaari came forward with a big thaali of aataa , made some huge balls of it and started throwing in the pond. Around 300-400 huge turtles came up to eat that. I’d never seen turtles so big till then. The pujaari was also the caretaker of some animals who used to visit him regularly. He told us some interesting stories on how he took care of a young deer and fed him milk from the bottles and left him in the park when he grew up. He din’t want anything in return. We gave him some money to get food for the animals and his response was: “ Aap mujhe in kachuon ke liiye aataa de do, mujhe paise nahin chayie.” So selfless!!!

Feeding the turtles

From Bharatpur Trip : Setp 2009

Overall, our trip, our experience was really great and I’d highly recommend Bharatpur if you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway near Delhi.

Check out more pics at :


  • sanjay says:

    oh rumjhum. nice sound to your name and you got us hooked to bharatpur sanctuary. thanks for your sharing your story.

  • tiger says:


    i have been to keoladeo sanctauary once. it was really a wonderful experience. having left the delhi mathura at the flyover about 3-4 km from that turn there is a dhaba, i forget its name on the left which has excellent food. but its basic, i must admit.

    i must thank you you for reminding me of the same.

  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome aboard Rumjhum. Der aaye durust aaye.

    I guess we deserved this post to the lovely lodge. I am not a great fan of state run places in general but if one of them is trying hard and succeeding in getting fans then we definitely should be promoting it.

    More pics please and more info on birds please. Its a shame that I am so close to this one-of-the-few bird parks but I never managed a trip, not even like driving by the side kind of trip. This winters for sure.

    Looking fwd to read more from you. Bhopal is so less represented at Ghumakkar, do something for Bhopal :)

  • Rumjhum says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    @Nandan: Yeah I focussed more on the trip and the hotel since I wanted to give the lodge what it deserves :) ..

    More pics at :

  • Deepak says:


    Nice post ….been to mathura .agra several times …missed bharatpur

    you could have added more pictures on this …and turtles match the color of lake …they looks like a stone ….

  • Smita says:

    for no specific reason, and then maybe some, I have been resisting Bharatpur for quite a while now. went there as a child long back and dint remember much. so till now, i felt there was enough to do. Thanks for proving me wrong! :)

  • smitadhall says:

    typo – till now, i felt there was *NOT* enough to do

  • Patrick says:

    Rhumjhum (did i spell that right?) is there any way of booking that lodge through state tourism?

  • Deepak Behl says:

    Dear Patrick ,

    its not totally ..a state Run lodge GMVN or Hptdc..which are entirely
    state run & dedicated to one state

    its a property which belongs to the Itdc Group …(Ashoka,samrat… Delhi)

  • patrick says:

    Yes Deepak. I checked. But the website has a malicious infection advisory – i just could’nt get to the home page of the ashoka group let alone the reservations page.

  • Rumjhum says:


    I don’t think there is any way to book it online. We just went there and got it..

  • Later please says:

    Hey… we were planning a trip to Bharatpur next weekend. This was really helpful! Thanks!

  • Amit Aggarwal says:

    Hi All,

    We all just went to Bharatpur sanctuary from Delhi in JAn2010. Please take my following advice:

    1) If you reach there, only pick the ranger cycles
    2) don’t go for any guide, rickshaw walas are better one.
    3)Take your binocolars or hi zoom camera
    4)Be ready for ponds without water
    5)if you can, don’t go there. Delhi’s ZOO is much better.


    • PANKAJ JAIN says:

      Agreed but can you advise me what is the latest status (Jan 2011) there because in 2010 there were ample rains so there is a possibility of much activity of birds there ?????????

  • Shailinder says:


    We are planning a trip to Bharatpur for two days. Please suggest is it the right time to visit Bharatpur considering the weather conditions (getting hotter). Or advise suitable time to visit.


  • Thanks Rumjhum for your post. Ghana Bird sanctuary is always on the radar, I am waiting for the year when their would be good rains and good winters, so that it would be possible to see the Siberian cranes and other birds. Till it happens, post like this will help to know what and how to do.
    Thanks for it.

  • PANKAJ JAIN says:

    Can somebody help me to advise as to whether this is the right time to visit bharatpur (Jan 2011). I heard a few years back that now there is not much water and birds there because of shortage of water. Later I saw in the news papers that govt has released water from some source and now the birds will come. What is the latest there ? Should we plan?

  • Ashish says:

    Excellent Review


  • After going through your travelogue which was very useful, I had gone to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary on 7th Nov 2011 and stayed in Hotel Ashok Bharatpur of ITDC. It was very nice trip and we were lucky to get a good sardar as our Rickshaw cum Guide for two days. I had mistook that breakfast was complimentary. But I enjoyed the Breakfast after a good early morning visit to the spot the Birds. He had given me a Binocular for the second day for my use.


  • Shankar Ganguli says:

    thank you, Rhumjhum. Very useful information especially regarding the accomodation. Nice photos too.

    Shankar Ganguli, Pondicherry

  • Ajay Datt says:

    Hey Rhumjhum,

    Very well documented, straight from heart. Every description is very informative.

    Reading this I have decided to go on this weekend.

    Warm regards,


  • Rumjhum says:

    Hi Ajay,

    Did you visit the place? I’d been there 3 years back, so would love to know how is it now?


  • Vivek Kumar Srivastava says:

    Nice post, I was there in 2010 winter. Bharatour Bird Century really a great place. We enjoyed cycling and saw lot of birds species.

  • h.l. singh says:

    been to this place bfor; really amazing for nature lover…

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Rumjhum for helping us republish this old gem. The post has been attracting a lot of comments so I am guessing that it has helped a lot of travellers. Great.

    Write back when time allows. Wishes.

  • Rumjhum says:

    Thanks Nandan for republishing it. Glad to see that fellow Ghumakkars are benefiting from it.
    Hoping to write another one on the long US road trip, once am back.

  • payal says:

    What is the name of this turtle temple ?

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