Most people come to Bharatpur, not to visit the town but to go to the adjoining Keoladeo Ghana National Park, one of India's premier wildlife sanctuaries and a World Heritage Site. Created by the Maharaja of Bharatpur in the 19th century by diverting water from an irrigation canal, Keoladeo was founded as a shooting preserve, but given the status of a bird sanctuary in 1956. Upgraded to a national park in 1982, the area today ranks as one of the best waterbird preserves in the world and is a beautiful tree-shaded wonderland of water-bodies and marshes.
The major festivals in Bharatpur are Gangaur Festival, Teej, Brij Festival and Jaswant Exhibition. Apart from religious festivals, Bharatpur sthapana diwas is celebrated in the month of February. It is a three-day festival that is celebrated on February 17 every year. Brij Festival is one of the major festivals celebrated in Bharatpur. The festival is celebrated in February-March in honour of Lord Krishna and is held a few days prior to Holi. During the festival, Ras Leela, a drama enactment is performed on the life of Lord Krishna, highlighting the eternal love story of Radha-Krishna. The local people of Bharatpur organise cultural programmes including folk songs and traditional dance performances. Another prominent festival in Bharatpur is Gangaur Festival that is celebrated in March-April. The festival is celebrated by married women for the long life and prosperity of their husbands. Young girls also take part in this festival and pray for a good life partner. The devotees worship Goddess Gauri with fervour. The festival of swings, also called Teej, is held in the month of July-August. Swings are decorated with flowers and hung from trees. The girls sing love songs in groups. In the month of September-October, Jaswant Exhibition, a big event is held during Dussehra. This apart, the town celebrates Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas with equal fervour and enthusiasm.
Bharatpur is mainly famous worldwide as a National Park. Shopping in Bharatpur is all about buying small items to bring back as souvenirs. Some of the famous shopping items in Bharatpur are jewelry, antiques, marble carvings, brass work and Jaipur textiles (especially bandhej tie and dye print).
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