Situated 48 km from Delhi, Sultanpur National Park in Haryana is a haven for birds, both resident and migratory.
Covering an area of 1.43 sq km, the national park is currently home to over 250 species of resident and migrant birds. During the winter months, it attracts more than 100 varieties of migratory bird species from Siberia, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkey and East European countries.
Sultanpur and Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur National Park) in Rajasthan are the most popular bird sanctuaries in North India. Till 2003, Bharatpur and Sultanpur were the only home for Siberian cranes in India.
Although the migratory birds are the prime attraction of the park, the sight of over 150 resident bird species also promise to enthrall nature lovers and bird watchers. The resident population of birds includes black necked stork, cattle egret, Indian roller, white throated kingfisher, red collared dove, rock pigeon, little egret, great egret, laughing dove, red wattled lapwing, rose ringed parakeet, common mynah, etc.
Photographers are sure to love the sight of migrant bird species that include great flamingo, striped snipe, spot billed pelican, spotted redshank, wood sandpiper, black tailed godwit, Eurasian wigeon and many others. Around 11 species of migratory birds such as black crowned night heron, comb duck, blue-cheeked bee-eater, etc. move to the park during summers.
Various species of stork, ibis and spoonbill are a common sight in the park.
Sultanpur Lake, around which the park has been established, is an excellent spot to watch the birds and animals.
The four watchtowers within the park are excellent places to view the rich avian population of the park. It also offers a panoramic view of the national park.
Dr Salim Ali is popularly credited for the establishment of Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. However, it is a little known fact that Peter Jackson, a former Honorary Secretary of the Delhi Bird Sanctuary had observed the phenomena of a wide variety of birds flocking around Sultanpur Lake. He persuaded the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi to declare the region as a bird sanctuary.
Covering an area of 359 acres, in 1972 it became Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. Since then, the lake that earlier had to depend on monsoon for its water was provided water from Yamuna River enabling it to remain full with water all through the year.
In July 1989, the bird sanctuary was declared a National Park.
Although Sultanpur National Park is predominantly a bird sanctuary, it is also home to the striped hyenas, blue bull, wild dog, wild cat, four horned antelope, Indian porcupine, hedgehog, etc. The park is not the original habitat of the animals. Various efforts have been made by the forest authorities to maintain the ecological balance of the area. One of which included the introduction of these animals to the park.
The educational museum also known as Interpretation Centre is an excellent place to get information on the various resident and migratory birds of the park. It also houses some of Dr Salim Ali’s finest research works.
Listing image: By Ekabhishek/Wikimedia commons
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SULTANPUR BIRD SANCTUARY
There aren’t too many accommodation options within the park. Haryana Tourism Department runs a guest house within the park. Since, the park is a one-day destination; most tourists prefer staying in Gurgaon or Delhi where one can find innumerable accommodation options catering to everybody’s needs and budget.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SULTANPUR BIRD SANCTUARY
There are limited eating options within the park. A canteen attached to the guest house serves snacks and refreshments. Those who opt to stay in the guest house are also served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eatables and water can be carried inside the park. It is advisable to carry food stock and water.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SULTANPUR BIRD SANCTUARY
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is as given below. The best time to visit Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is also specified.