Monthly Archives: January 2009

Bharathpur Bird Santuary

We were on a business trip driving through a town called Bharthpur in Rajasthan. Bharthpur has an amazing national park which is also a bird sanctuary called the Keoladeo National Park.

So I got a few of my collegues out of bed before dawn and we had this amazing walk through the national park. Pictures are from our walk there and some birds we caught on camera.

About Bharthpur:

Bharthpur is still a sleepy small town. The town has enormous tourist potential and does attract up to visitors a year.

Interesting Bharathpur Park is over 250 years old and has between 250-350 species of birds.  This is the ONLY World Heritage site in Rajasthan.

Issues:

According to a UNESCO investigation, the park is under serious threat due to lack of water supply and environmental changes.  Since most of the birds at Bharthpur are water birds, they depend on the monsoons and open landscape for their existance.  Over the last 10-15 years, the drop in monsoons, the reduce water supply from natural water sources (from construction of dams) and the growth of new vegetation is seriously affecting the bird population.  A 2008 UNSECO study points out some of these issues.  One serious issue pointed out is of the endangered Siberian Crane species which has always migrated and spotted at the park, is not seen since 2002.

Travel etc:

There are lots of resources online on how to get there.  Our itinerary was quite convoluted and not aimed at traveling to Bharthpur in particular so I cannot add much value here.  One thing I can talk about is the lack of hotel accommodation.  We had a tough time making a booking over the phone and ended up in a guest house / rest house run by an ex-army gentleman.  He was a great host and very accommodating but the facilities were terrible.  The key issues for a place this beautiful is that there are few clean hotels and even fewer clean places to eat.

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Micro-business Kullad chai

Here is another very typical Indian micr- enterprise.  This is a highway tea stall some where in Rajasthan.    He is boiling milk in the big vessel on the left.  The red round device is to pump air into the coal stove.  It has a hand crank that he turns and air is supplied through a pipe.

Now on the right is a big stack of clay cups (Kulhad).  These are locally made single use cups that add to the flavor and experience of the tea.   The cups are made all around in villages by local units typically run from in a person’s home or farm.  The cups provide an additional revenue stream to the households.

The cups are fired in small home made ovens.  Apart from the carbon produced in the firing, this is a very eco-friendly product.  The production uses all-natural, local resources and are hand made.  The used cups are crushed and blended into the surrounding soil in the local farms.  This is definitely refreshing compared to the increase use of plastic cups all over India.  The biggest issue I have noticed with the plastic cups are that they tend to litter the entire area and will eventually go into a landfill, be burnt or disposed of in other noxious ways.

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