The Jagadishpur Tal, which is enlisted as the major wetlands of the world, is gradually developing into a tourism destination in recent times.
The Jagadishpur Tal is the largest artificial lake of the country which is located at Kapilvastu municipality-9, some 11 kilometers to the north of Taulihawa, the headquarters of Kapilvastu district.
This lake has become a new destination for the tourists visiting Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, which also lies in Kapilvastu district. The foreign visitors coming to Lumbini have also been visiting the Jagadishpur Tal for sight-seeing.
Many species of birds that inhabit the Jagadishpur wetland area are an attraction for the visitors. The number of visitors coming for bird-watching has also increased. Among the increasing number of visitors coming for bird-watching include students and researchers of forestry and environment. So far, the highest number of tourists visiting the Jagadishpur Lake area is from Britain and Australia.
Although there is no exact record of the number of visitors coming to see around the area, of late, this place has become the destination for bird-watching, senior ornithologist Dr Hem Sagar Baral, said. He said that one could see birds of many species at a time from this area.
“One can see the water birds, which have migrated from Siberia and Tibet crossing the Himalayan mountains, inhabiting, breeding and hatching in this area during winter. These birds can be seen floating and frolicking on the lake and the indigenous birds also join them, which is really very enjoyable to see,” he said.
According to Dr Baral, migratory birds from Siberia, Russia, China, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan come to this wetland area. One can see large number of birds roaming around the bank of the Banganga river and irrigation canals searching for food and rooting on trees and bushes in the area. Visitors also come here for taking the photos of birds.
Recently, British ornithologist Tony Menwood came here along with his spouse for bird-watching. “I felt a different kind of joy to see more than 4,000 birds in a single flock here. It is really exhilarating to see a large population of birds floating and moving around on the lake making all kinds of sounds, that also in a short period,” he shared.
Helen said that she was also overcome with joy when she saw birds of more than 30 species at once. “I felt a kinda peace watching the birds. I knew reading Budhhist literature that peace could be felt by watching birds and I could really experience it here,” she said.
Clyde Odone, a famous wildlife photographer of Austria, comes here every two years to click photos of birds. Bird photographer Om Yadav of Nepal also comes to the Jagadishpur Tal every year for photographing birds.
“My heart became joyous watching the birds. Jagadishpur is a heaven for bird watchers,” said environmental journalist Ramesh Bhusal, who has also worked for the BBC Nepali Service.
Bird Festival is organised at Jagadishpur Lake each year since the last five years for promoting the place.
A total 22,491 water birds were counted in the Jagadishpur wetland this year, according to Baral.
“Although birds are facing problem in their habitat and feeding due to the effect of climate change, Jagadishpur wetland still offers better environment and habitat for the birds. It’s a big lake and the birds can freely roam and play around in the lake,” he said and underlined the need to protect this wetland area. It could be developed into one of the best destination of the country for bird-watching, he suggested.
A study carried out by the IUCN showed that the Jagadishpur wetland area is home to more than 167 species of birds, eight species of amphibians and 38 species of reptiles. One can see eight species of the world’s rare birds.