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Sultanpur National Park
- Star Attraction
- [+] Quick Facts
- [+] Ecosystem
- [+] Planning Your Trip
- Did You Know?
- [+] Getting There
- Nearby Destinations
- Park Rules & Regulations
- In the News
[ Edit ] Star Attraction
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary's Star Attraction are the the hundreds of different migratory birds, who fly in from Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan and East European countries, every year during the winters.
[ Edit ] Overview
Sultanpur National Park, along with Keoladeo Ghana National Park (or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary), form the two most popular bird sanctuaries in North India. Given its short distance from Delhi (46 km), it is now a popular weekend getaway for residents of Delhi & NCR. Established in 1971 as a bird sanctuary, Sultanpur was declared a National Park by the Govt. of India in 1991. The park is run by the Govt. of Haryana under its Ministry of Tourism, which has undertaken much effort to sustain the habitat for birds.
Sultanpur National Park is a popular destination mostly in the winters, which is when hordes of birds migrate to it from all over Eastern Europe and Asia. In addition to the resident birds, the migratory bird population forms the key attraction of the park.
[ Edit ] History
While some people credit Dr. Salim Ali, India's most well known ornithologist, with the creation of Sultanpur National Park, it was actually identified by Peter Jackson, a keen bird watcher and the then Honorary Secretary of the Delhi Bird Watching Society.
Peter Jackson, along with his friends, used to frequent the Najafgarh Lake to watch birds in the early 1950s. This lake was created as a result of excessive monsoons and a blocked drain into the Yamuna. However, by the mid 1960s, the govt. of Delhi had cleared this blockage in the drain, and the Najafgarh lake had disappeared, and so had the birds. Jackson travelled further north to see where the birds could have moved on to, and discovered another lake created by the monsoons. This was the Sultanpur Lake. The lake was full of fish and insects and had lush surroundings, all of which attracted birds from all over the region.
Over the next few years, Jackson took many bird lovers, including Dr. Salim Ali to this lake. Finally, in 1970, Jackson approached the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, with a request to convert the lake and its surrounding areas into a bird sanctuary. Indira Gandhi, also the founder of the Delhi Bird Watching Society, took keen interest in it and wanted to visit the location herself to assess. While she could not visit it finally, she instructed the Govt. of Haryana to undertake the project. Thus, in 1972, the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary was created from the 359 acres of land surrounding the lake.
The Govt. of Haryana took many steps to ensure the long term sustainability of the sanctuary. While the lake was originally a monsoon-fed lake, the Govt. made arrangements from the Yamuna river to ensure that the lake now functioned through the year. Additional trees such as neem and acacia were planted along the lake, as these trees are known to attract birds. Few artificial islands were also created in the lake, to facilitate the roosting of the birds.
Twenty years later, on the 13th of July 1989, Sultanpur was upgraded to the status of a National Park.
Sultanpur was incidentally, also a key region for production of Salt under the British regime in India, until the year 1923. Post 1923, the salt industry was shut down due to economic reasons.
[ Edit ] State
[ Edit ] Location
[ Edit ] Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sultanpur Bird Santuary is between the months of November to March when the weather is optimal. This is the season when the migratory birds fly down to Sultanpur Lake from various parts of India and Asia.
However, the peak time / main peiod for the migratory birds visiting the park is during December and January. As such, it is best to visit Sultanpur National Park during these months.
Birds are typically the most active right after sunrise for a few hours or for a couple of hours before sunset. As such, it is best to plan your trip to Sultanpur National Park accordingly.
[ Edit ] STD Code
[ Edit ] Geography
Sultanpur National Park falls in the Gurgaon district of Haryana, surrounded by Kaliwas village in the North, Sadhrana village to the South, Sultanpur village to the West and Chandu village to its East. Typical of the area, the geography is semi-arid (it borders Rajasthan), and has been notified as an Eco Sensitive Zone by the Govt. of India (Ministry of Environment & Forests).
Sultanpur Lake itself is a lake that originally used to fill up in the monsoons, but is now fed with water from the Yamuna river. It is surrounded by marshes around it, and lush greenery, especially in the monsoons. The area surrounding the lake is filled with reeds and grasses, but no large trees.
Aside from the lake, rest of the park is filled with trees and bushes that are common to the area, including Banyan, Jamun, Ber and others. There are some natural and some man-made mounds in this area.
[ Edit ] Wildlife
Sultanpur National Park has over 250 different bird species, bulk of which (150+) are the resident avian population and the remaining (100) are migratory birds, who come from as far as Siberia, Turkey, Afghanistan and East European countries.
Resident Bird Species
Purple Sunbird, Eurasian Thick Knee, Common Hoopoe, Black Headed Ibis, Little Egret, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Common Hoopoe, Painted Stork, Paddyfield Pipit, White Ibis, Black Headed Ibis, Crested Lark, Eurasian Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Red Collared Dove, Little Coromorant, Indian Cormorant, Common Spoonbill, Gray Francolin, Rock Pigeon, Magpie Robin, Weaver Bird, White throated Kingfisher, Red Wattled Lapwing, Plover, Indian Roller, Red Vented Bulbul, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Common Mynah, Bank Mynah, Green Bee Eater, Greater Coucal.
Migratory Bird Species
The Demoiselle Crane is among the key attractions among the migratory bird population in Sultanpur National Park. They usually flock to the lake together, in a chain like formation, in the evenings - as they spend the daytime feeding in the adjoining fields. Other key migrants include Greater Flamingo, Common Teal, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Northern Shoveler, Black Winged Stilt, Ruff, Common Greenshank, Spot billed Pelican, Rosy Pelican, Spotted Greenshank, Starling, Bluethroat, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon. Striped Snipe and Brahminy Duck are also visible in winters, though not very often.
Aside from the bird population, Sultanpur National Park also has a variety of other wildlife in its ecosystem. These include Striped Hyena, Leopard, Blue Bull, Nilgai, Black Buck, Four Horned Antelope, Wild Dog, Mongoose, Hedgehog, Caracal, Indian Porcupine, Wild Cat and Rattle Badger. Not all of these are originally from this habitat; some of them were introduced by the Govt. to create a better overall habitat in the area.
[ Edit ] Flora
Despite the presence of a lake, the vegetation of Sultanpur National Park is dry deciduous, in line with the vegetation of surrounding towns. The primary vegetation is grasses like Savannah, and trees like Jamun, Khair (Acacia), Ber, Tendu, Banyan and Dhok.
The floor of the forest though, is much more fertile and is almost draped in small grasses and bouganvilleas.
[ Edit ] Climate
Summers: 46 deg C (max) to 28 deg C (min)
Winters: 19 deg C (max) to 1 deg C (min)
[ Edit ] Operating Hours & Season
Best season to visit is Winters - ideally December & January.
Early mornings are generally considered to be the best time to experience the park and spot birds although evenings are also rewarding.
Sultanpur National Park operating hours are as follows:
- Winters (1st Oct to 31st Mar): 6.30 am to 4.30 pm
- Summers (1st Apr to 30th Sep): 6.30 am to 6:00 pm
Sultanpur National Park is CLOSED on Mondays
[ Edit ] Fees
- Indian Nationals: Rs. 5 per person
- Child (2 to 12 years): Rs. 2 / person
- Foreign Nationals: Rs. 40 per person
- Still Camera: Rs. 25
- Video Camera: Rs. 500
- Professional Camera Fee: Rs. 5,000
- Two Wheelers: Rs. 5
- Cars: Rs. 10
[ Edit ] Activities in Park
Sultanpur Lake, in the middle of the national park, is the hub of bird watching in the park. The lake is a long open stretch (measuring over 1 sq km), with not too many tall trees on its banks. So, sitting anywhere close to the edge of the lake is likely to give visitors a good view of birds wading in the lake, and flying off from it, without binoculars. However, it is strongly recommended that you use a good pair of binoculars to best experience the wildlife. Binoculars are sometimes available for rent at the Park
There are 4 watch towers (Machans) located around the lake, as well as some "Hides", from where visitors can spot birds around the park and the lake. Birds are typically found in the shallower waters of the lake, and this is where one must focus one's attention.
Aside from the lake, it is also recommended that visitors take a walk around the elevated path in the park. One can spot birds and other wildlife while taking a stroll on this path.
The Park also has an educational "Interpretation Centre" that helps visitors learn more about the different species of birds in the park. The centre has color photographs of birds, along with description and information on them. One room of the centre is dedicated to Dr. Salim Ali, and contains his photographs, some of his research and write ups, some personal belongings and a bust of his image.A library is attached to the interpretation centre, and is well stocked with books, films and slides on the different species of birds.
A vist to the Interpretation Center (also known as the Museum) is ideal to get information on the birds and creatures you are likely to see during your visit to the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary.
[ Edit ] Visiting the Park
There are raised paths all along the Sultanpur National Park, and visitors can easily walk around the park on them. A leisurely walk on the path along the perimeter of the park will take about 2 hours+ to complete.
To faciliate bird watching, the park authorities have created 4 watch-towers (Machans) in the park, from where visitors can easily spot many bird species. These watch towers are located closed to the lake, which is where the most number of birds may be spotted.
While the lake is full of water all year round, visitors are NOT allowed to boat or swim in the lake, in an effort to allow birds to carry on with their daily activities without any human interference.
Binoculars are available on rent, but are in limited numbers only. Visitors are advised to carry their own binoculars/cameras. The park also has basic facilities such as toilets, drinking water facilities and a children's park.
[ Edit ] Lodging inside Park
Haryana Tourism operates one guest house inside Sultanpur National Park, which largely caters to ornithologists. Known as Rosy Pelican, this guest house has decent facilities, including a restaurant and a bar. Tourists may also book rooms in the guest house, via Haryana Tourism.
[ Edit ] Did You Know?
- One of the star attractions at Sultanpur National Park, along with Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bharatpur) used to be the Siberian Crane (flying in all the way from Siberia). Sadly, the last documented sighting of this beautiful bird in India was in 2003.
[ Edit ] Air
Nearest airport is Delhi Airport, which is about 25 km away.
[ Edit ] Rail
Nearest rail head is Gurgaon, which is about 16 km away. Alternatively, Delhi railway stations (Old Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin) are also a good way to get in via train. These stations are between 40 to 50 kms from Sultanpur, and it is easily possible to get a tourist cab from there.
[ Edit ] Road
Driving directions to Sultanpur National Park & Bird Sanctuary from Delhi / Gurgaon:
- While slightly longer, this is certainly the preferred route. Take NH-8 to the last toll both and make a U-turn before paying the toll. Come back about 3-4 kms to Hero Honda Chowk and take a left. A large Oriental Crafts building will let you know that you are on the right track.
Continue on this road through several intersections till you come to a T-Junction in the town of Basai. Take a left here (Basai Road). Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is approximately 10 kms from here.
The road goes through the town of Basai, over a large bridge (that seems to pop out of nowhere), then the villages of Dhankot and Chandu. Once you pass Chandu, start looking out for the Park's entrance. The gate for Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary is on the left after about 1.5 kms.
- Alternatively, you can drive on NH-8 until IFFCO Chowk. From IFFCO Chowk, turn right towards Badshahpur and then keep going straight towards Sultanpur. This route passes through Old Gurgaon Sadar Bazaar and may be a bit crowded, depending on the time of the day.
Driving distance to Sultanpur National Park from:
[ Edit ] Nearby Destinations
[ Edit ] Park Rules & Regulations
[ Edit ] In the News