Taj Nature Park
The Taj Nature Park, spread in the area of 70 hectare, is a hidden gem of Agra. The city, receiving one of the highest tourist footfalls because of the Taj Mahal, is always crowded. People who want to escape the city noises can head over to the Nature Park, just few meters away from the wonderful Taj Mahal. Located on the banks of River Yamuna, the park has separate children playground for kids, and trail which runs through the entire park. From the small hilltops surrounding it, one can watch the Taj Mahal from different angles. The view of sun setting in the backdrop of Taj Mahal, witnessed from the park, cannot be defined in words. Suitable for nature and bird photography, the park is home to local flora and fauna, including peacocks, Indian sparrows, Bee-Eaters and grebes. During winters, the park is visited by few migratory birds. In early morning hours, one can have the best experience. Locals prefer the quite surrounding of the park for exercising and meditation. While mediating in the calm and serene environment of the region, one can feel a connection with the nature. Tourists looking for some offbeat experience should definitely visit the Taj Nature Park.
Wildlife SOS Animal Rehabilitations Center
Aimed at protection and rehabilitation of endangered species, the Wildlife SOS is a laudatory project by Geeta Seshamani and Kartick Satyanarayan. The project aims at safeguarding the biodiversity of the region and educating visitors about the several dangers of animal captivity. Their projects on environmental conservation have been attracting the right audience towards their initiative. Located inside the Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, this place offers excursions where guests can learn about the rehabilitation of the animals suffering from abuse. Tour also includes watching interactive sessions, where visitors can watch documentaries on the subject and how the Wildlife SOS is working towards making the lives of these animals better. One of the biggest attractions of Wildlife SOS is the ?dancing bears?. These bears were captured and trained for entertainment purposes by nomadic tribes. The Wildlife SOS has rescued the animals and provided safe habitat in their rehabilitation center. One can watch the bears foraging for food or interacting with the bear keepers. Visitors interested in taking part in this interactive tour, should book their tour slots in advance. The Wildlife SOS is an extraordinary project that works towards conservation, protection and rehabilitations of the abused wildlife animals. Their initiative against animal cruelty and education of common people regarding the subject is much appreciated by the locals and visitors alike.
Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Surrounded by the river belt of Yamuna, Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is a tiny yet beautiful reserve. Spread in the area of 7.97 sq km, the bird sanctuary surrounds the artificial wetland, Keetam Jheel or the Sur Sarovar Lake. One of the important bird sanctuaries of Uttar Pradesh, this reserve is home to several birds ? migratory as well as resident birds. On the trip to the sanctuary especially during the winter season, one can watch several Grey Heron, Cormorants, Little Grebes, and Darter to be named among few. Tourists can even try boating at the Keetam Jheel to observe the aquatic birds a little better. The park is home to several varieties of snakes, especially the python. According to recent survey, there are approximately 300 varieties of pythons residing in the area. Suitable destination for nature photography and bird watching, this sanctuary is a picturesque location in the mid of wilderness. One of the best ways to explore the park in through foot, but incase walking is not an option then one can hire a cycle rickshaw to tour the park. The Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is an ideal location to escape the noises of the city. According to local legends, the beauty place inspired the famous bhakti poet of India, Surdas, to compose his magnum opus, ?Bhakti Kavya?.
One of the last Mughal style gardens, on the banks of River Yamuna, the Mehtab Baagh is one of the stunning attractions of the city apart from Taj Mahal. Mehtab Baagh translates into ?Moonlit garden? in Urdu. Spread in the area of 300 meters, this square shaped garden is perfectly aligned with the Taj, located on the opposite bank. According to historical records, this garden was built by Babur for recreational purposes. Decked up with luxurious fountains and stunning landscapes, during the period of Mughal Era, the garden provided a stunning view of the palatial monument ? Taj Mahal. However, with time and negligence the beauty of the garden was completely destroyed. However, in late 20th century Archeological Survey of India (ASI) restoration projects were launched to beautify and restore the garden to its previous glory. Several trees, shrubs and flowering plants were planted here, that magnified the beauty of the garden. During the restoration project, ASI took inspiration from the several Mughal garden located in different parts of North India. One cannot stop the stunning view of the Taj Mahal from the Mehtab Garden. Symmetrically arranged garden, with its aligned trees and shrubs, attracts photographers interested in capturing the iconic monument.
Keoladeo National Park
The Keolado National Park, previously the duck hunting reserve of the Maharajas, is a World Heritage Site. Approximately 250 years ago, local rulers of the region founded the bird reserve for their entertainment and pleasure. It is believed that the park was named after a Shiva temple, named Keoladeo. Currently, the park is the major stopover for several migratory birds coming from as far as Central Asia. The reserve is an important region, completely enclosed by a 2 km long boundary, is a manmade wetland. Apart from that, the national park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, scattered in a large area. Several microhabitats, with diverse trees, grasses and shrubs can also be found here. The additional 27 satellite wetlands provide refuge to the several amphibians living in the region. The reserve is dependent on monsoon and the Ajan Bandh for its water supply. This place is suitable for bird watching and nature watching. Interestingly, the cycle rickshaw safari is one of the best ways of exploring the Keoladeo National Parks. Many scholars come to this park to study and monitor the migratory trends of the birds and ecology of the wetland. The trip to the bird sanctuary is beautiful experience for the nature lovers.
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