Ok, I’ll admit it. I cheated. Just a little bit.
My original travel plans for the month of March, and what would have made for a more exciting addition to my #Take12Trips Challenge, got cancelled at the last minute.
Since this happened right at the end of the month, it didn’t leave me much time to make any alternate travel plans. I was pretty bummed for a few days, disappointed that just two months in to the challenge, I had already failed.
But that’s when I remembered that the whole point of the #Take12Trips challenge is simply to explore. It didn’t necessarily have to be a big international trip, neither was a visit to a new city absolutely essential. All we should do is explore something new, and we can do that without ever needing to take a flight / train at all. Just a day out in our own city would do the trick.
With that thought in mind, I headed to the Delhi Zoo, officially known as the National Zoological Park. Because of the previously mentioned plan cancellation, and lack of time in the month of March, this visit actually took place at the beginning of April, hence a bit of a cheat. But I’m counting it as my trip for March because I already have super exciting travel plans for the month of April, coming up in just a few days.
Trust me when I say this, the Delhi Zoo has come a long way over the years and is definitely worth a visit. My last visit was so long ago I couldn’t even recall what the inside of the Zoo looked like, but I was more than impressed.
Set amidst the ruins of the Purana Qila (Old Fort), the Delhi Zoo is gorgeous. Well-maintained paths meander through the lush greenery.
The ruins of the Old Fort sporadically peek out as you make your way through.
Spread over approximately 200 acres, the park was inaugurated as the Delhi Zoo in 1959, and was officially renamed the National Zoological Park in 1982. As per the Delhi Tourism website, there are 22,000 varieties of animals and birds here.
Signs will guide you along your way.
If you’re intimidated by the size of the park, or if you’re just plain lazy, you could hire one of these electric cars to take you around.
But if you prefer to walk, don’t worry; there are ample spots to stop at for a breather.
We made our way to the Zoo late in the afternoon / early evening, and that seemed to be nap-time at the park. Most of the residents unfortunately did not come out to meet us. I would suggest visiting earlier on in the day.
The Delhi Zoo is open from 09:00 am – 06:00 pm with an entrance fee of INR 40/- for Indians and INR 200/- for foreigners. The last entry is at 04:30 pm and you have to exit by 06:00 pm at the latest so plan your visit accordingly. There is also an additional camera charge of INR 50/- for still photography, the charge is a wee bit higher for video cameras.
As most of the enclosures were empty when we visited (residents seemed to all be napping), we were able to cover the entire area in about 1.5 hours (on foot). For a more leisurely stroll, and if you visit at a better time of the day, perhaps 2-3 hours should suffice as a comfortable visit.
So, where are you off to today?