Sunday, February 19, 2012

Few minutes ago these birds were wading peacefully in the serene water at Sultanpur National Park but they soared to the skies intercepted by some commotion. I don't know whether it had to do with the roar of plane passing by or the threat of some larger birds. But they settled within no time.

Dark asphalt road surrounded by yellow mustard fields and beautiful country Dhabas and houses in between  is how anyone will describe Haryana countryside in February. A ride on this vibrant landscape was so refreshing after being in the city for more than a year. Sometimes it takes just a ride to make you realize how much you've missed out on travelling. Travelling only makes you want to travel more.

I had been planning a trip to Sultanpur National Park, but once I boarded the train I realized how poorly equipped I was with information. I took a train straight to Huda City Centre. I was pretty confident of finding this place just like I had seen on Google map, but it takes a lot more than that. If you ask for Sultanpur National park, Autowallas or bystanders will simply give you a blank look and shook their head like they've never heard that place before. I thought I was in the wrong place until traffic police solved the conundrum. It is popularly known as Jheel by the locals. It's a lot more easier if you have your own car but if you want to travel on bus you've to take a bus from the Gurgoan bus stop towards Farukh Nagar and get down midway. The ride is enjoyable. I got to see the rural India in all its splendors and colors.
When the bus swayed and came to halt in the middle of nowhere, I got down and scouted the place. The first impression of this place was very cold. There was just a small ticket counter and a house where one can access more information. But apart from that the Park is poorly equipped. Throughout my stay there, I didn't see a single forest guard. It could be dangerous for lone travelers because the place is too forlorn. But interestingly the park is serene and pristine. The huge lake in the middle surrounded by bushes and thin forest made an interesting landscape. The expansive lake dries up in winter but the authorities have kept it perennial by bumping water from Yamuna River. It attracts thousands of migratory birds in winter. As many as 250 species of birds have already been sighted here. This Park was borne out of Peter Jackson's efforts. In 1972 it became a Bird sanctuary with special intervention from the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi and was converted into a National Park in 1989. 
If you can cover the entire circle of 1.43 square kilometers radius on foot you'll  see cows freely loitering in the Park. It's a threat to the animal population living here. There's so much to be done about this place but it can offer so many things too. The best thing to do is to cover the whole area because you'll be able to see different species of birds from different bird watching points. It also gives you that sense of accomplishment. 
The highway and the mustard field
Bird watching tower like this gives a Bird's Eye View of the whole area but a serious bird watchers cannot do without a good pair of binoculars.  
Sultanpur National Park is a serene place away from the hustle-bustle of the city. It's a nice place to nurse one's mind and soul.
Indian Pond Heron keeping watch over the Lake
Bar headed Geese
Prinia are small and always on the move. It was such a pain to catch them steady.
Sarus Crane basking grandly in the evening sun. They are non-migratory bird and are huge in size. The tallest of them can attain 5.9ft. in height. These pair of Sarus Crane have manned the park for some time and they are photographer's delight.
Great Egret
When this Nilgai came face to face with me, I was as amazed as this fellow. You can see it on his face. But before he dart off into some bushes he posed long enough for one good shot. 
A small finch 
This is what zoom lens does to one's mind. This herd of deer wading through the lake and group of people watching them were relatively afar off. But it looks much closer.
A muster of peacocks ran into the bushes as soon as they saw me. Earlier they were circling around a little rise and clearing.
Acacia Tortilis also known as Umbrella Thorn is mostly a native plant of Savanna of Africa but Sultanpur National Bark has few of this beautiful canopied trees. They can survive dry spell and drought. Some trees that are popular with birds like Berberies and Neem have also been planted .
A guest house at the Sultanpur National park. They have lodging and dining facilities. 

Note: Carry food and water as there are no shops or hotels at the periphery of the Park. 
Best Time to Visit: Winter, migratory birds visit. November-February
Location: The park is 50 km from Delhi and 15 km from Gurgaon on the Gurgaon- Farukh Nagar Road. 
Entry fee for adults: Rs 5
Camera charge (Still Camera): Rs 25


  1. The pictures of your article are very beautiful, charming, and fabulous. The birds look very pretty. I really wish to visit these adventurous places. Condo Rentals.