Haryana came into existence on 1 November 1966 as a newly created state carved out of the Punjab state. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the Apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar. It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north and by Rajasthan to the west and south. The river Yamuna defines its eastern border with Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Haryana also surrounds the country s capital Delhi on three sides, forming the northern, western and southern borders of Delhi. So today, let us have a look at the Sultanpur National Park which is based in Haryana.
Sultanpur named after Rajput Chauhan Sultan Singh, descendant of Harsh Dev Chauhan (one of 21 sons of Raja Sangat Singh Chauhan), who founded Garhi Harsaru and established Dhundhoti, occupied it in 1474. Vikram Samwat, was the biggest village (covering 52000 bighas of land) under Farrukhnagar and many of the present day villages around it have originated as dhanis i.e. temporary farmer s shelters within the boundary of Sultanpur. The region around Sultanpur was called Dhundhoti. Sultanpur was the centre of salt production for use in Delhi and the United Provinces till the late 19th century exporting annually 250000 quintals (680000 maunds) over the Rajputana-Malwa Railway. The railway train service was started in 1873 and at Sultanpur there were a couple of railway sidings for loading salt into the train wagons.
Salt was produced by extracting brine from about 40 wells using bullocks and drying in open plots. Since salt was one of the major sources of Government revenue, the office of the salt superintendent at Sultanpur supervised the levy of Rs 2 tax per maund. With the levy of the heavy salt tax and acquisition of the Sambhar salt works in Rajputana by the British Indian Government the Sultanpur Salt became uneconomical and by 1903-4 the salt industry was struggling for survival with salt export having fallen to 65000 maunds leading to severe setback to the economy of the Sultanpur area. Finally, in 1923 the British shut down the office of the salt superintendent, had all the mounds of salt thrown back into the wells and shut down the salt industry leading to considerable economic misery to the people.
As a bird sanctuary it was the find of Peter Jackson, famous ornithologist, and Honorary Secretary of the Delhi Bird watching Society, who wrote to the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, founder of the Society, in 1970 about the need to declare the Sultanpur jheel near Delhi, a bird sanctuary. She asked him to take her there. She had to cancel the trip at the last minute, but later instructed the Chief Minister of Haryana to protect the jheel and in 1972, the Sultanpur Bird Reserve was established. In the year 1989, the reserve was upgraded to a National Park. It has an area of 1.43 square kilometres.
Approx 250 species of Birds are found at Sultanpur National Park. Some of them are resident, while others come from distant regions like Siberia, Europe and Afghanistan. Some of the resident birds found over here are Common Hoopoe, Paddy field Pipit, Purple Sunbird, Little Cormorant, Eurasian Thick-knee, Gray Francolin, Black Francolin, Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Spot billed Duck, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Black headed Ibis, Little Egret, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, India Crested Lark, Red vented Bulbul, Rose ringed Parakeet, Red wattled Lapwing, Shikra, Eurasian collared Dove, Red collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Spotted Owlet, Rock Pigeon, Magpie Robin, Greater Coucal, Weaver Bird, Bank Mynah, Common Mynah and Green Bee Eater.
Every year more than 100 migratory bird species arrive at Sultanpur in search of feeding grounds and to pass the winter. In winter, Sultanpur National Park provides a picturesque panorama of migratory birds such as Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingo, Ruff, Black winged Stilt, Common Teal, Common Greenshank, Northern Pintail, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Northern Shoveler, Rosy Pelican, Gadwall, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon, Black tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Bluethroat and Long billed Pipit. Sultanpur National Park has birds in summer too, About 11 species of migratory birds such as Asian Koel, Black crowned Night Heron, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Comb duck, Blue cheeked Bee Eater, Blue-tailed Bee-Eater and Cuckoos come here.
In addition to the many birds, animals such as Blue Bull and Black Buck are also seen here. Trees which are popular with the birds like Acacia nilotica, Acacia tortilis, Berberis and Neem have been planted.
This National Park, ideal for birding and bird watchers, is best visited in winters when a large number of migratory birds come here. Sultanpur has the typical North Indian climate of harsh summers (up to 46 Degree C) and cold winters (Low of up to 0 Degree C). Rainy season is short, from July to end of August.
Sultanpur National Park is a popular weekend getaway from New Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida. Sultanpur National Park is located in Gurgaon District in Haryana State, Sultanpur is located at 40 km from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi and 15 km from Gurgaon on the Gurgaon - Farukh Nagar Road.
Sultanpur National Park is an ideal place for birding and bird watchers. It is a bird watchers paradise. So in case you consider yourself a bird lover, then do take out the time and visit it in case you are in or around Haryana.