Bird-watchers’ Paradise

From November to late March, this sanctuary at Ghana, Bharatpur, becomes a bird-watchers’ paradise–they come from all over the country and the world to watch them, to photograph them, to study their habits. In fact birds from colder climates flock not only to Bharatpur but also to other lakes and reservoirs in Rajasthan, including those in the Western parts of the State, like Gajner near Bikaner. Duck shooting used to be a common pastime during the winter months, along with other types of shikar, through it is gradually on the decline.

 The palace and the city walls give a strange, picturesque glamour when touched by the rays of the rising or the setting sun. For the traveler coming from any direction, there emerges suddenly out of the confusion and wilderness this shimmering symbol of man’s conquest of nature.

 Jaisalmer is well known for some of its old buildings which have beautifully carved balconies, cornices and facades. It is a very valuable collection of old manuscripts in the Jain Badhra Suri Gyana Bhandar, which is said to have about 1200 palm –leaf manuscripts and 2500 manuscripts in handmade papers, dating back to the 12th century.

 The fort palace of Bikaner dominates the surrounding scene. Also situated in Bikaner is the State with its thousands of precious documents of historical importance covering the history of medieval times?

 The Karni Mata temple at Deshnok and Kolayat are two places of pilgrimage near Bikaner and Gajner. There is also a palace perched on the side of a manmade lake where migratory birds come in a large numbers.

 Only about 12 percent of the state is under forests, which is much below the desired area. However, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to preserve forests and wildlife.

 A few sanctuaries have come into existence where animals roam about with the utmost abandon. Amongst these sanctuaries, mention has been made of Sarsika on the Alwar –Jaipur road. Also worth mentioning are the new sanctuary being developed around Ranthambhor, near Sawai- Madhopur, under what is called the Tiger project; a small sanctuary at Dara, south of Kota on the Kota-Jhalawar- Mumbai Road; and a similar sanctuary near Lake Jaisamand; south of Udaipur, where tigers, panthers and other wild cats-whatever remains of their species- are sought to be protected against the hunter’s and the poachers’ gun. Of greater interest is the sanctuary at Ghana, near Bharatpur, where every winter thousands of winged messengers migrate, encamp and breed.