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India- Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh: Day 5 & 6: 14 Magical Days in India: #4

Updated: Apr 14

Shortly before daybreak Manisha’s family, my husband and I boarded a mini-bus and took a 4 hour drive to Rajasthan.


After entering the national park there, we rented rickshaws and hired a guide. We hopped on and off the rickshaw enough to count it as a day at the gym. The cost of this transportation is low and allowed us to move faster between the noteworthy points. It definitely was an asset when we heard thunder and were so happy to be able to leave without getting caught up in a rainstorm. Clearly, we were oblivious as to what the weather had in store for us in the coming weeks.


If you want to see beautiful birds, Keoladeo National Park is a great place to spend a day or two. A birder’s paradise. Our tour guide knew where the birds were and was an excellent spotter. Additionally he had a scope, which we did not. We saw twenty species of beautiful birds that we had never seen before (“lifers”) and five species that we had seen only once or twice in Greece, other parts of India, and Algeria.

This small owl, smaller than an American Robin with an average height of 8”, with prominent white eyebrows, yellow eyes and spotted head and feathers, was the first bird to greet us when we entered the bird sanctuary.

The Blue-tailed Bee-eater with his prominent black eye mask, red eyes, rufous throat and blueish tail is another example of a beautiful bird that you will most likely see in India.

India is rich in colors where even the white vultures have plumage accented by contact with iron rich soil. The sexes are difficult to distinguish although the males tend to have a deeper orange face color. This photo from Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India appears to be a female scanning the area to decide whether to hunt or scavenge.

These monkeys are quite prolific and love to pose for the camera.


The Indian Roller, also called the Indian Blue Jay is called a roller because of the aerial acrobatics they perform during mating rituals or territorial rifts. This brightly colored bird is common across India where several states have adopted it as the state bird.

The white-breasted water hen is a member of the rail family. Less skittish than most rails, they are often observed walking slowly with their backsides cocked upright as in the photo. Like everything in India, this bird is colorful with a striking black and white torso, rust-colored rump that it loves to display, and vibrant yellow beak. This bird was seen in Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India.


The Sarus Crane could truly be called a lovebird. These magnificent creatures mate for life and in India are considered symbols of marital fidelity. An apocryphal legend suggests the loss of a mate will lead the survivor to forego eating and die grieving. They are easily distinguished by their height, being the tallest of the flying birds and red coloring of the head and upper neck.

If you have traveled to Southern Florida, most likely you have seen an Anhinga spreading his wings in a tree by the water. While this bird looks very much like the American Anhinga he is a different species in the same family. So basically this bird is a cousin to the Anhinga. Like his cousins, the Cormorant and the Anhinga that can be found in the Americas, this avid fishing-bird spends a good part of his time in or near the water and uses his long pointed bill to spear his prey.

The Grey Heron which stands at a meter tall, a little shorter than the Great Blue Heron of the Americas but still of impressive stature can be seen in trees or in shallow water.


To see more photographs of Rajasthan’s birds please go to: https://mariamarkatos.smugmug.com/India/Rajasthan/KeoladeoNationalPark/


The park is not the only place where you will find animals in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. We went for a short walk before breakfast and saw...

Animal magnetism
Animal magnetism

A bovine that befriended my husband. Thankfully, we were not followed back to breakfast.


This fruit vendor had delicious guava. Fortunately we had bottled water with us so we could wash and eat them right there. Make sure to always have bottled water with you so that you can use it as needed.


Shortly after we entered the town of Vrindavan, we saw this beautiful sculpture from our bus.


Maa Vaishnodevi Dham, located in Vrindavan, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India as seen from our bus.


Our next stop was the Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mahdir Iskon temple which closed at 2pm, and with minutes to spare we rushed on a tuk tuk because it was the fastest mode of transportation through the heavy traffic in Vrindavan.


On the way we passed the 'Prem Mandir' of Krishna, famous for its sculptures, architecture and decorative evening lights.

Four miles down the road, we reached our destination and entered the grounds of the beautiful Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mahdir Temple Iskon.

Courtyard of the Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mahdir Temple Iskon with murals depicting Krishna in his divine form (Vishnu)


Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mahdir Temple Iskon
Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mahdir Temple Iskon

The beautiful intricately carved white marble temple was devoted to the spiritual brothers Krishna and Balaram in 1975. It stands at the gateway to the town of Vrindavan and is visited by devotees from around the world.


To see more photographs of India, please visit:


To see more photographs from the Indian State of Rajasthan, please go to:


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