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Bharatpur: India’s Bird Paradise “The Crown Jewel of Asia”

A short distance south of the Taj Mahal in India lies a stunning 29 sq km national park, known simply the world over as Bharatpur. The heart of this reserve is its wetlands, an artificial habitat that was created by diverting water into a natural depression, which became the duck-hunting grounds of the maharajahs and British nobility during the early 20th century. In 1956 it became a bird sanctuary and within 10 years the guns were silenced. In 1985 the park was declared a World Heritage site and is now one of the world’s premier wetland. Surrounded by woodland and savannah, the ruling force of this ecosystem is the monsoon, which triggers nesting for over 130 species. A superb array of birds and mammals including the only wintering site for the Siberian Crane in the Indian subcontinent can be found here.