Keoladeo National Park India: A Cold Weather, Beautiful Birds and The Ninja 250R

A Quick Log of Keoladeo National Park India Trip:

The Keoladeo National Park India or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season.

– Wikipedia

The place is a paradise for bird watchers and photographers. During the winter months the sanctuary is flocked by noisy tourists, annoying kids, avid bird watchers and photo enthusiasts – Amateurs & Professionals.

Keoladeo National Park Trip Collage

This is one place that has become a ritual in my annual rides. Its now the 3rd year, during winter I have rode to the park from Mumbai. Every time the ride was at ease but this year time was the biggest constraint. January 26th had comes on a Saturday and Sunday is the usual off. I just took Friday off from work and left from Mumbai on Thursday evening.

Based on the calculations I had made on distance, along with other study and analysis I was totally aware that I’m gonna play chicken race with time. But knew the gravity of the situation so I was mentally and physically fully prepared for the ride.

Bike Ridden:

Kawasaki Ninja 250R, 2010 Model

Total Kms Covered:

2600+ kms via NH-8 and NH – 3 spread over 4 lane, 2 lane and single highway, with little offroad and traffic jam city roads.

Lessons Learned:

  • 1 litre of water should always be in your bag.
  • 1 pair of cloth comes always handy.
  • Keep a very cool mind in city roads of any State.
  • Fuel up much before the tank of Ninja hits reserve.
  • Do not ever underestimate cold of the North.
  • Dry fruits now should become a must for long rides.

What Was The Best:

  • The Super Duper cold wind blowing on my face near Udaipur.
  • The cheapest and comfortable stay at Bharatpur.
  • New contacts made with authority people of the park.
  • Covered almost the entire park (25 sq.kms) on foot.
  • Some of my best bird shots.
  • Longest night ride ever; 10+ hours.
  • Endurance has gone a level up.

What I Missed:

  • No python shot this time either.
  • Was very keep to take photographs of Woodpecker and Siberian Crane.
  • Boat ride in the park.
  • Full frame DSLR.

The Story:

Day 1 (At Dusk): Realizing Cold

Started the ride around 4.30pm from Mumbai on 24th January, 2013. Plan was to reach as far as possible by midnight. Reality is that I was so excited I landed riding all the way upto 6 in the morning and reached somewhere near Udaipur.

The weather was so cold that despite wearing all layers and jacket, it was becoming unbearable. So I checked into a hotel for few hours nap and a break from the chill. By 11am I started the ride again… with least number of halts I was in Bharatpur by evening 7pm.

Found a very cheap and clean place to stay for the 2 nights and prepped my gear for tomorrow’s shoot.

P.S. The vegetarian food of Rajasthan is just finger licking delicious.

Day 2 (At the Park):Nature at its Best

Bharatpur park is 25 sq kms in size. The cycle or rickshaw are good options to cover the park but nothing beats walking in the entire region to shoot some good bird photos. I have always taken the 11 number bus and had the same intentions this time too.

Within just half an hour of entering the park already I got 5 satisfactory shots. My joy and excitement was totally at the top and I spent every minute looking for those rare and exotic birds.

By lunch time I covered one side of the park and reached the canteen. Got my energy level up and stuffed myself with some nutrients and drinks.

Around evening 5pm I covered almost 80% of the park and was very happy with what I captured since morning. Once it was fully dark I got one rickshaw who for a nominal fare dropped me to the main entrance of the park.

Hotel was just 5 mins away. Went back and got everything ready to leave early morning tomorrow.

P.S. Food in the park is not great; best if you pack your lunch with you. And more than the main track in the park, you’ll catch the real action on the pathways made by the authorities.

Day 3: (At Mad Rush): The Bullet Train

Since beginning I was totally aware that the only tough day would be today. Weather would be bone chilling cold. Strong wind, 4 lane, 2 lane and single lane highway; to cover distance of 1200+ kms… and all this in less than 24 hours.

Without wasting a single minute I started at sharp 6am and just blasted my way through NH – 3 until I hit a 2 lane highway. From here on it was a steady pace under 80km/hr.

After covering some 500+ kms I started to wonder when the hell this highway will turn back on 4 lane. Called up few friends and got to know from Indore onwards is my runway.

But by the time I reached Indore it was past 6pm. Almost sundown.

Even though the night was dark, the 4 lane highway is in such a good condition and I was able to keep pace at 100 mark.

It was tough after 8pm. The moment I had some dinner, I felt the sleep and exhaust slowly creeping in. Had to stop a lot of times to give a break to myself.

Tiring times, but this is something I really enjoy. Pushing the limit and setting new bars for myself.

At wee hours of morning, 4am, I was in my residence. Going flat on the bed just for couple of hours and immediately back to wok (office) to move on with the rest of the day.

No Pain, No Tiredness and No Aches. I think my body just got a level stronger compared to my previous long run.

 I wanted to keep this blog a short one but some how the word count has gone over the top.

Now no talks; enjoy the pics.

Bharatpur National Park
Bharatpur National Park

Just for the birds and not photography

Tourist flocking Bharatpur National Park

The Real Alloo Paratha

Flying Bird

Painted stork

Angry parrots

Antlers

Nil Gai

Owl sleeping in Bharatpur National Park

Evening snack

Painted Stork

The Woodpecker

The END? 😉