Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is also known as the Mysore zoo. It is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in India. Covering an area of 157 acres, this zoo was initially founded in 1892 by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur. The touristy spot boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. German botanist and garden designer, Gustav Hermann Krumbeigel had designed this zoological garden. Also, every year it attracts more than two million tourists.
History of Mysore Zoo Park
This area, initially, was the summer palace of Maharaja Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar, which he later converted into a zoo. He was fond of bringing exotic animals that fascinated him while visiting European and African countries. Bears, chimpanzees, and antelopes formed a part of that collection. Though it started with a land area of only 10.9 acres, it expanded as it sheltered more animals.
Riveting Flora and Fauna
Chamundi hills are situated right next to this botanical and zoological park. Mysore zoo offers an awe-inspiring experience for people of all age groups. The flora is propagated to highlight the beauty of the place, giving it a semblance of being in an actual wild. Responsible officials for the care and maintenance of this Mysore Zoo Park have strived for years to create a natural habitat for the residing animals and birds.
There are over thirty-five species of exotic ornamental plants and over eighty species of trees spread across this zoo. This creates a diverse mix with origins from India as well as abroad. Karanji Lake Park, which became a part of Mysore zoo, is built fenced by naturally erected trees. This lake park has more than 100 medicinal plants grown at the entrance. Moreover, there is also a nursery to cultivate the breeding and expansion of more plants near the lake.
Mysore zoo park acts as a home to various rare kinds of fauna. It has also played a role of an orphanage to a lot of abandoned animals and endangered species. Some of the rarest Mysore zoo animals include red kangaroos, brought from Washington D.C, lemurs, from Duke University, Sun bear, the female chimpanzee, Binturong, Hanuman langurs, White deers, Indian lions, Zebra, Rhea, Red ibis, and Baboons. American Bison, Californian Sea lions, Guanaco, Polar Bear, Secretary Bird, Kangaroo, Penguin, and White Elephant are some of the exotic animals that have made a home here, in the past.
It is the only Indian zoo that has all three species of Rhino, namely The White, The Black and The Indian rhino. This zoological park proudly boasts to be the only zoo in India to possess a Gorilla. They have a considerable number of primate populations from across the world such as Orangutans and Chimpanzees. This practice was started by the founder and erstwhile King Sri Chamarajendra, himself. It is also the main center for tigers in the country and has witnessed a steady fast multiplication of tigers over the years. If you are lucky, you can experience feeding tigers at around 5 pm. The eagerness of tigers while awaiting their meal is somehow the most mesmerizing view one can witness.
Mysore zoo animals have their peers amongst avian fauna as well, which adds to its diversity. Karaji Lake, which was incorporated as the official area of the Mysore zoo park in 1976, is basically ‘walk-through aviary’ and a butterfly park. It also acts as a temporary sanctuary to several migratory birds in winter. On top of it, it also houses a wide variety of permanent birds such as Painted Stork, Hornbill, The Flight Emu and Ostrich, Silver and Gold peasant, Flamingos and most important, White and Blue Peacocks. The largest bird in India, The Sarus Crane, also resides here.
It also provides shelter to the amphibian and the reptile population like The King Cobra, The Cobra, Python, Crocodiles, Alligators, and even the star-studded turtles.
Research center for Scientific Studies
Mysore zoo is involved in well-rounded research and experimentation of various species of fauna including breeding programs for rare and endangered species. The research also centers around the care and treatment of its inhabitants. The world’s first cesarean delivery was performed on an elephant in this very Mysore zoo thereby giving it global recognition.
The zoo authorities regularly carry out educational programs such as youth club activities, literary competitions and summer camp for young children to generate their interest in the country’s fauna. Also, to educate them regarding the same. The main goal here is to educate people and young children about various exotic animals living in their natural habitat. And, also spreading awareness about the situation of endangered species. The insect exhibition always steals the show.
Tips to visit this Mysore Zoological Garden
- The best time to visit is during rainy season i.e between June to September as a lot of animals hibernate during winters and summers
- If you plan your trip during the summer season, try to visit before noon or after 5 pm as most animals hide inside their shelters, due to heat. They are more active during early mornings and evenings, especially birds. If you are an avid bird watcher, it is advisable to come as early as possible.
- Try to be patient. It can be difficult to spot animals sometimes depending on the weather and their behavior patterns. Wait for them to how up. This wait will be worthwhile.
- Do not litter. The zoo prides itself on the lush greenery and scenic beauty. Hence, puts a lot of effort into its maintenance. You will be heavily fined on littering.
Basic Mysore Zoo Visitor Information
- The zoo is open every day except on Tuesdays.
- Timings are from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
- Entry fee for adults is Rs 50 and Rs 30 for children aged between 5 to 12 years on a weekday.
- Weekends and government holidays and relative costs are Rs 60 for adults and Rs 30 for children.
- Charges for still photography are Rs 20 and carrying a video camera is Rs 150.