A Birder’s Paradise – Through My Lens (The Keoladeo National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary)

After 7 years of relentless bird photography in many places, I finally made up my mind to visit Keoladeo National Park, also known as  Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. I had always heard of people claiming it to be a birder’s paradise, but I did not really believe in it until I saw it in my own eyes.

Here is my story of what I saw, felt, and experienced in Keoladeo National Park…

Every morning at 6:30am the gate opens to many tourists, bird watchers, and bird photographers from across the world. The cycle rickshaw-walas will be waiting to take the tourists inside the 29 sq. km. park. Park authorities have standardised the process of rickshaw selection by lottery scheme and also the prices are fixed per hour. They have skilfully controlled any lobbying that usually happens with the tourists in such places. There is also a provision of renting the cycles for the tourists who like to go on their own.

For photographers with bigger telephoto lenses, they have made provision for Hotel guys to book the rickshaw for pick-up and drop service. Rickshaw-wala plays a very important role of being a guide as well as your assistant to carry your equipment. First time when he was holding my tripod and the camera, my heartbeat was uncontrollable. He was carrying my several years of savings,  Nikon D750 + Nikkor 600mm f/4 VR + Gitzo 5542LS Carbon-fibre Tripod + Benro GH2 Gimbal Head, on his shoulder!

The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Cycle Rickshaw-wala, guide, and photographer 🙂 Beerender is directing me to take Sarus Cranes photo. He has over 30 years of experience!

It was a great relief after a days’ time knowing that he was more capable of handling the camera equipment and tripod than me, at that time.

The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Cycle Rickshaw-wala, guide, and a nice gentleman Paramanand. He is well known in the park by his nickname Gabru or Gabbar Singh!
He is walking back unable to find the Sarus Cranes in their usual spot. He cared for me like his Son. What an amazing person!

The moment you enter the park you will forget about the whole world and get immersed with the beauty of nature. The bird’s chirping, misty mornings of winter, amazing Sunrise behind the bald trees, everything makes you live the life to the fullest.

These graphically designed bald trees are a launching pad for our National Bird, Indian Peafowl. They are so beautiful, I love their call, and their hidden orange feathers as they fly. I have spent several days and hours waiting to capture that stunning moment when the Peacock is silhouetted against the rising Sun.

Want to see how the scene gets transformed when that happens? Here it is!

Amazing silhouette of an Indian Peafowl in Sunrise. Art in Nature. Fine Art Photography. Sundisk photography. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

I waited for 7 successive days to get this photograph of an India Peafowl in Silhouette as the Sun rises behind the tree creating this stunning graphical photograph.
I was rather very lucky to get an amazing Sunrise with little bit of clouds that makes it more beautiful

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What an extraordinary way to begin your day when you get to experience a scene like this. Truly amazing experience!

The Sun rays peeping through the trees as you enter the second gate of the park takes you to another world. There is nothing more beautiful than watching the Sun beams through the line of trees as the rickshaw-walas ride slowly through the mist.

Tourists amidst the thick fog on a foggy morning. Creating mood in photographs. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Tourists getting into the Keoladeo National Park on a foggy morning

On your way you will be greeted by these monkeys who are quite nice guys. They do not seem to disturb the tourists as they generally are famous far.

Monkey in thick fog on a foggy morning. Creating mood in photographs. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Unlike the normal behavior of the monkeys in other places, these monkeys seem to be more nice to us.
Perhaps our rickshaw-walas have trained them!

Many birds are already doing their morning karmas as they get ready to feed their night long hunger. Whether it is bathing, preening, or flying to another lake to feed it is a visual treat.

Marsh Harrier Stretching. Birds or Animals Behavior. Art in Nature. Fine Art Photography. Shallow Depth of Field (DoF) or Bokeh photography. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

A Marsh Harrier Stretching on a Bald Tree in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan

What makes Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary a preferred choice by many photographers from different parts of the world is the background that you get. Showing the birds and mammals in their natural habitat requires lot of visualization and needs complementing background.

A Cute Spotted Owlet in its natural habitat. Small birds. Birds or Animals in their natural habitat. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

A Spotted Owlet Perching on a Tree in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan

There are several key attractions to Keoladeo National park that makes tourists to keep coming back. Be it the tallest flying birds Sarus Cranes, Spotted Owlets, Nightjars, Great White Pelicans, and Indian Darter to name a few.

Sarus Cranes Dance. Tallest Flying Birds in the World. Ritual Dance. Birds or Animals Behavior. Art in Nature. Fine Art Photography. Shallow Depth of Field (DoF) or Bokeh photography. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Sarus Crane dances to reassure its bonding with its life time mate. Sarus Cranes are the tallest of flying birds. They are ofcourse the main attraction of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

The delight of watching these birds in amazing light in their natural habitat is a rejuvenating experience for anyone. I have met a fantastic people out there who visited the park as a one day trip out of there several days of trip to Rajasthan. But were so thrilled with the beauty of nature that they stayed there for several days!

I think this is the story with anyone who loves nature. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is magical. You have to be there to experience that magic. I must say Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is undoubtedly the best bird sanctuary in India.

Amazing silhouette of an Indian Darter or Snakebird or Anhinga in Sunset. Beautiful red clouds of golden hour. Art in Nature. Fine Art Photography. Silhouette Photography. Sundisk photography. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Beautiful Silhouette of an Indian Darter or Snakebird or Anhinga in the golden hours of dusk in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

It’s not only about birds; it also houses lot of mammals that are in no way discountable. You would love to watch them as they roam around without any fear of predators. You can watch their behaviour up close and make some unique and memorable photographs.

An Antelope in its natural habitat in thick foggy morning. Moody photograph. Creating mood in a photograph. Animals in their natural habitat. Art in Nature. Fine Art Photography. Sundisk photography. The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. Best Bird Sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife and Bird Photography by Prathap. Beautiful Nature and Bird Photos. Nature Photography Simplified.

Antelope in Misty Morning in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Nationa Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan

I can keep writing about Keoladeo National Park, but would I be able to make you feel the same way I feel about it?

That’s a question you have to answer!

Like what you read about bird photography? Want to learn more about how to make such beautiful photographs?

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Do check out more photographs from this birder’s paradise in my portfolio website Prathap Photography.

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68 Responses to A Birder’s Paradise – Through My Lens (The Keoladeo National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary)

  1. marc February 9, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    photos sublime du grande qualité..félicitation bonne continuité……grace a la photographie ,,,on peut montrer les plus choses sur la terre..mais malheureusement l homme détruit son environemt,par soif économique…et non responsable…….de son état naturel……puissons en sauvegarder le plus possible……..grace a vos photos ils prouvent qu ils existent.encore d endroits magnifiques sur cette planète…..terre…..

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

      Merci beaucoup for wonderful comment Marc. I am so glad that you liked it. I appreciate your words on environment conservation. Thank you!

  2. Jim Hill February 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Hi Prathap,

    I always look forward to your next news letter or posting and the great advice that you provide in no nonsense language understandable by all.

    In this blog you have surpassed yourself, your photos are excellent and fill me with a desire to visit the place. The early morning misty atmosphere is beautifully portrayed and allows the viewer to sense the peace and tranquillity.

    I now look forward to your next posting with keen anticipation.

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

      Dear Jim Hill, I am so overwhelmed by your kind words. Your words are truly inspirational. Thank you so much. I would recommend everyone to visit the place atleast once. It is one of those places where you can find your inner voice as a photographer. The serene nature makes you so relaxed. The experience in itself is worth a million.

  3. Bob Smith February 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank you for a lovely guided and illustrated tour of a beautiful paradise on my 68th birthday Prathap.

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

      Dear Bob Smith, On behalf of all our readers, I wish you a belated Happy Birthday. Thank you so much.

  4. Pierre Pomerleau February 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Prathap,

    Your work is fantastic, your photos are outstanding, your vision is sublime, and as a human being, you are simply an example to follow by all of us around the world.

    You take a lot of time to do this and share your work and thoughs with all. Those words are not enough to thank you for this.

    As Jim Hill just wrote, I too look forward to your letter. You are a example to follow in a world that is running to disaster.

    Many thanks to you, from Quebec, Canada.

    Pierre P.

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

      Dear Pierre P, I feel so honored. I don’t have words to thank you. This is probably the best thing which could happen to a photographer. All of you have made my work worth a million. Thank you so much.

  5. amrita raj February 9, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi Prathap ——– Thanks for sharing your pics.You are an example to follow . I have shared your post on Facebook .Keep up the good work .Shall look forward to viewing more of your photos !

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

      Thank you so much Amrita Raj. I am so glad that you shared my post. I hope to bring more and more photographs to “inspire and be inspired”.

  6. Ravikumar February 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    Mr. Pratap… Your description about Bharatpur Bird sanctuary are very true… I recall visited the park for a day of photo shooting.. I was totally satisfied with the beauty of the park and the large amout of birds that are housed there… I promised my inner self that I will come back to this park for a longer trip… Thanks for the story .. Keep writing

    • Prathap February 9, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

      Dear Ravikumar, Thank you for acknowledging my story about Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. I am sure you will go back for many number of times. The more you go to that place more you feel like going back again and again. There is something truly remarkable about that place.

  7. Gerrie Malan February 9, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    Thanks Prathap. Some wonderful “storytelling” photos there. Keep it up – you’re blessing many with your passion.

    • Prathap February 10, 2015 at 11:37 am #

      Thank you so much Gerrie Malan. I am blessed to have passionate people in our blog. Thank you!

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  8. Manohar M G February 9, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    Wow, you report is tempting me to visit this lovely place for bird photgraphy. Thansk for sharing your wonderful experiance.

    • Prathap February 10, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      You must plan to visit coming winter Manohar. You would be delighted for sure.

  9. Pinakin February 10, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    Nice article.

    • Prathap February 10, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you Pinakin.

  10. Prabhath February 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Great Photos Prathap and your narration about Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary has made me crave to visit this beautiful place, atleast once in my lifetime.

    • Prathap February 15, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      Thank you so much Prabhath. I think you should plan for it this winter, now that you have 100-400 lens with you 🙂

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    I am a passionate photographer with interest in product , Landscape and portrait photography. However your this blog has inspired me to try my hand in Bird Photography. Tamaron’s new lens 600mm is it a good starting point for my 5DMIII if I have to dive into Bird photography?

    • Prathap February 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Himanshu Dalvi, That’s amazing to know. Bird Photography is definitely amazing. I think you are talking about Tamron 150-600mm lens. I am not very sure about this lens as I have not used it personally. But, I have met few people who were happy with it. I am not sure if it would be a real deal when it comes to auto focusing system and the image quality since I do not own any third party lenses.
      I would strongly suggest you to test it out by renting it. Another alternative is to check Canon 100-400 IS II which is suppose to be good. I have used Canon 100-400 IS I for an year and it was very good.
      Another important thing to consider is the resale value of the lens. The Nikons and Canons will have greater resale value compared to the third party lenses, I think.
      I hope this helps. Good Luck!

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  12. Aditya Makharia January 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Hey I have D5300 with 18-135 mm lens is it good enough for a start at bird photography

    • Prathap February 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Aditya, It’s a bit short in fact. You would need at least 70-300mm to begin with. But, don’t be disappointed. Go out and photograph bigger and more approachable birds like pelicans, storks, egrets. Learn all the essential skills and then upgrade.

  13. Rupa February 5, 2016 at 2:38 am #

    On my next trip to India, I MUST visit this place. I have already been dreaming of a trip to Rajasthan and now I can’t miss this sanctuary! I am a recent subscriber and have been thoroughly enjoying your posts and newsletters. I have much to learn, my passion doesn’t match my skills 🙂 Thanks for explaining many topics in a simple way instead of overly technical jargon!

    • Prathap February 9, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Thank you so much, Rupa. I am glad that my article made you wish to visit the Sanctuary. It’s in fact a birder’s paradise.
      It’s always a good sign when passion doesn’t match the skills! Because, then you are on a constant learning path 🙂

  14. Sripathi March 24, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    Hi, I have been wanting to visit Bharathpur for a long time now, whenever I pass through Delhi going to one or the other sanctuaries but never been able to. After reading your article it is now numero uno on my list. I am in Bangalore and Delhi is not that far for a some good birding :). Thank you so much Prathap for the article.
    With Regards

    • Prathap March 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Thank you so much! Sripathi. I am so glad that I inspired you to visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Let me know how it goes.

  15. Bekir Demirağ January 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    Thank you very mouch my friend. All photo best.

  16. Divya Pal Singh March 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

    I am an amateur. But your infectious enthusiasm has inspired me to try harder. I have a basic Nikon P900 camera. I have downloaded you eBook and carefully perused it.
    Could you please comment on a few of my photos taken at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary? It is truly a fantastic place and a paradise for bird lovers.
    I hope that one day I can take just one photo that is like yours.
    My blog is http://divyaphoto.blogspot.in/
    Thanks.

  17. makhon bareooah March 25, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    no comments…nice

  18. Joseph Leo June 14, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    Hi Sir,

    I own a Nikon 5300.

    Yesterday evening I was searching for tutorials on the net to shoot photos using the manual mode available on Nikon dslr. I happened to visit your blog and read through the steps for the manual mode adjustments using NIKON dslr.

    This morning I tried your tips, Wow! I got the amazing pictures.

    I took the photograph of my mom with various lighting conditions adjusting the dial.
    Shots were so natural.

    In our recent visit to North India, I took the photos using P mode.
    If I would have got into your blog b4 our trip. I would have taken amazing photos.

    I hope the next trip would be amazing.

    I understand that your tips are to adjust dial using the natural light.
    Is there any way to adjust the setting using the in built flash.

    When I take the pictures in a low light condition the symbol ? is blinking and also a symbol for flash is blinking. Kindly advise What they are meant for

    Thanks a lot! Prathap Sir.

    • Prathap June 18, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Hi Joseph, That’s great to know. I am so happy to see that you were able to get results. That’s something I always look forward to hearing from my readers.
      I don’t use the flash at all. So, I am not the right person to talk about it. I hope you can get practical tips from other blog or YouTube.

  19. Raut suresh August 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    I would like to have information or any e-book by u on macro photography.raut

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  1. 11 Professional Bird Photography Tips & Techniques That Will Change Your Photography - Nature Photography Simplified - April 30, 2016

    […] you would go to Keoladeo National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary to get the best possible bird photography […]

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