Archive | February, 2010

Everything but the Bird(s)

19 Feb

My earliest memories of Bharatpur go back to a trip we made in the 80s. The Birla‘s ran a Wagon factory there and my father being in the Railways meant that we were put up at the Birla Guest House. We were well looked after by them and served some excellent vegetarian fare throughout our stay. In the mornings we would venture out to the Bird Sanctuary and spend a couple of hours in a boat gaping in awe at a variety of avians including the much coveted Siberian Crane. Our boatman and guide was not only knowledgeable in the matter but could mimic pretty much every bird he spotted!

We were lucky then to have been guests of the Birlas for the only other boarding option at the time was the horrid ITDC Ashok, which had ‘government undertaking’ written all over it!

More than two decades have passed and a lot has changed in Bharatpur. The lake levels have all but dried up, the Siberian Cranes don’t come there anymore and the boatmen have all left. Meanwhile, like every other Government enterprise worth its salt, the Bird Sanctuary has managed to secure a World Heritage listing! The Birla factory closed in the early 90’s, only to reopen recently, and with the passage of time, the town has grown in leaps and bounds. But most importantly, Bharatpur today has plenty of nice places to stay, including The Bagh..

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