City Hangout – National Zoological Park, Mathura Road
Into the wild.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Situated between Purana Qila and Mathura Road, National Zoological Park has 75 species of animals, birds and reptiles.
The area is wooded. Squirrels hop across trees with slanting branches. Tired visitors lounge on the grass. Each tree is marked by a steel plate bearing its name. One dead trunk is identified as White Mulberry.
It takes two hours to walk through the zoo. There are benches along the way. Parents with small children ask the shortest route to lions and bears. You can hire a ‘trolley’ to be driven through the garden in 45 minutes (charges applied).
Life in the zoo is lethargic. Mynahs perch listlessly on the backs of sea horses. The duck pond is covered with fallen leaves and plastic bottles. Birds are kept behind wire meshes. (Blue-yellow macaus make quite a racket.)
Larger animals are treated with more dignity. Ringed by moats, their open enclosures have trees, grass and rocks. The two rhinos share their island with eagles and peacocks. Deer tend to ignore the zoo visitors, blackbucks try to hide behind trees. The lion doesn’t easily show himself. The roar of the white tiger, the principal attraction, hints of frustration. The python in the Reptile House looks doped.
Monkeys roam free. The railway tracks run along the boundary. Coca Cola kiosks also sell namkeen packets and ice cream bars. Stuffed animals are sold near the exit gate.
One notice board illustrates a man behind bars. He is surrounded by curious-looking animals. The caption says: “Put yourself in their place.”
Time 9 am to 5 pm, Closed on Friday Ticket Rs 20 Nearest Metro Station Pragiti Maidan
Postcards from Delhi Zoo