As you step past the gates of the Zoological Park in Thiruvananthapuram,an immediate hush falls as all the visitors collectively draw in their breath in awe. There is a furry Macaque staring right back at you while a little ahead the exotic Nilgiri Langur playfully teases you. In a few more steps it dawns on you; you are in a literal jungle, right in the heart of the city.
Said to be among the oldest of its kind in all of Asia, the zoo was built under the reign of the former ruler of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. Dated to about 1857, one can still see some of the older structures that have been renovated over time. The finest avian species, brought here from around the world, dazzle your senses with an exorbitant display of colours. Throughout your walkyou are under a canopy of massive trees like mahogany, teak and fig. There is a pond at the heart of the zoo where one can view nesting Pelicans, Storks and Herons in their natural habitat.
Further on, you find a pride of Lions lazily napping in the middle of their lush enclosure with Bengal Tigers, White Tigers and Leopards giving it company nearby. Towards the exit is the famous reptile house where people can view turtles, pythons, vipers, cobras and the main attraction, the gigantic Green Anaconda. You make your exit with a magnificent peacock saluting you on completing the journey, with thoughts and plans of your next visit already firmly in mind. This park needs to be experienced a number of times to truly realise its sheer magnificence and magnitude.
The park is open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 hrs. It is closed on Mondays.
Entrance fee for adults is Rs 30 and children between 5 and 12 years are Rs. 10. Camera permit costs Rs. 50/-
Contact: +91 471 2316275
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram, about 3 km away
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 5 km away
Latitude: 8.516684, Longitude: 76.95508