Keoladeo National Park formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is located in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. It is the only avifauna sanctuary which is also a World Heritage Site since 1985. The park is named after Keoladeo (Shiva) whose temple is located inside the sanctuary.
The park used to be a hunting preserve for Maharaja and British till 1964 and it got declared as the National Park in early 1982. The 29 square km area of the sanctuary comprises of dry grasslands, woodlands and wetlands. These diverse habitats house various bird species, floral species and animal species.
The park is also known as Ghana National Park due to the dense forests that covers the whole Bharatpur area. Most of the north-eastern part of the forest is occupied by Babul (Acacia nilotica), Jamun (Syzygium cumini) and Kadam (Mitragyna parvifolia). Apart from Babul, the open woodland also houses small amount of Ber (Zizyphus) and Kandi (Prosopis cineraria).
Today, the park is known for being the breeding and feeding ground for many species of birds. Over 230 species of birds are known to be the residents of this sanctuary.
Due to its strategic location to attract migrating birds, the sanctuary is a perfect host for several bird species. The migrating birds include several species of Cranes, Pelicans, Geese, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Shanks, Stints, Wagtails, Warblers, Wheatears, Flycatchers, Buntings, Larks and Pipits, etc. These birds spend their winters in the sanctuary before fleeing back to their native places like Siberia and Central Asia. The sanctuary is known to be the only place in India where the endangered and rarely spotted Siberian Crane regularly comes for wintering.
The Sanctuary opens throughout the year. However, the best time to visit is during August-November for the resident birds and for the migrating birds, it is October-February.