A day at the Delhi Zoo

I remember having visited the Delhi Zoo from a picture of my childhood where I and my younger sister are sitting on my father’s lap. That’s all I remember. And before going any further on the visit – I was in two minds on whether to publish this as a post or not, but then I thought – what harm would my one small story of one tiny trip do to the site?! :-) so here we are…

That’s us, some 28 odd years ago


As one grows up, the desire and the peer-pressure to visit the Zoo decreases a great deal. It keeps on going down and then suddenly shoots up as you have kid(s) of your own.

So when Pihu was born in 2005, we began to feel the pressure. We managed to thwart the plans in first year by putting the case of her being too young. By second year, it was case of not a right weather or some such thing. By the time she was 3, we were running out of ideas and finally in the winters of 2008, the visit happened. Our lethargy and anxiety made way for other family members’ zeal and vigor and we started off on a late winter morning towards the ‘Delhi Zoological Park’ on a lazy Sunday.

The White Tiger

It was to be a pack of 8, spread across a young Mahindra and a trusted Maruti. We reached the zoo by about 12 noon maneuvering our way amid lean Sunday traffic. As we made our way to Delhi Zoo, which overlooks the great ‘Purana Quila’ – considered to be the abode of Pandavas, we were not too disappointed with the car parking arrangements. They have converted few erstwhile gardens into parking places, essentially asking cars to find a way and park. Markings, signage, parking slots are still a luxury thing to expect in parking places in this part of world.

When to visit

In summers it opens at 9.00 AM and the time is 9.30 AM in winters. Indian nationals have to pay Rs 10 as the entrance fee, and its Rs 50 for foreign nationals.

We moved towards the entrance to the park, passing vendors selling ice-creams, soda-pop, kids’ books, calendars to what not. The incessant reminders on the loudspeakers on safety, don’t take food inside, take care of your belongings and a large melee of people pouring in from all parts of neighboring states might make you feel that you are instead going to a Mela than a Zoo. If you have time to look beyond the numbers and actually focus which I had since someone else was in queue for tickets, you would notice that there are herds of school children holding each others’ hands in serpentine queues, there are love-birds trying to find a secluded corner, newly-weds, families rather large families having 5 generations, a very very minority of foreign nationals and virtually everyone and anyone which you could imagine. I think it is the size of our population which brings this amalgamation of color/shape/size/etc for almost any event which happen around us.

Ticket Counters and the Large Open Area in Front

Delhi Zoological Park was setup in 1959 and is probably one of the bigger zoological parks in India, taking in excess of 200 Acres of space and has a varied mix of animals and birds. Its a good idea to buy a small booklet which costs Rs 10 at the time of buying tickets. This booklet has a map which comes very handy and can go a long way in planing your trail.

We went in and noticed that as you get in, you climb down few sets of steps and find yourself along side a narrow stream hosting ducks. If you are attentive you would also notice that you can walk along a arrow-painted guided-path, that way you can cover the Zoo in a better way without getting lost in the myriad of cages, lawns, open enclosures and so on.

2 hours of brisk walk

After ducks, we found a lone Sambhar who seemed pretty bored. Not a very good sight though. It was a grassy/bushy enclosure so I am not sure but there could be more Sambhars idling deep.

The Sambhar

A few steps further, there were the long leg Ostriches busy eating, unmindful of external world. Unlike Sambhar, which I had seen few times in a natural habitat, this was the first time I was looking at an Ostrich. They were really tall.


Post the Ostrich, it was the turn of ‘Neel Gai’ (). It was not a very clear day and hence the pictures are looking washed. We moved on and reached a place where there were these vehicles, rather a contraption created out of heavy-weight mover machines, which one can hop on and take a guided tour instead of the traditional walk. We chose to walk after realizing that we would have to wait for another 30-40 minutes to get a full wagon since we didn’t want to split across cars. We were glad later on our choice.

A little walk later, we found the big cat i.e. ‘The White Tiger’. The tiger was in a open air enclosure separated by a ditch from us. There were infact two back-to-back enclosures and they were in play-ful mood. We were about 50 feet away from the beauty and it was sheer fun to watch the cat galloping across trees and taking a splash in the small pond. After watching it and getting a eye-full we moved on.

White Tiger – Dont miss it

Since it was a large group and we were not too sure whether we could do the whole thing, we had to make certain choices. While there was a general consensus on being able to see Asiatic Lion and Zebras, everyone was dying to be close to a Giraffe. So we took a turn and even though we were not expecting it, we found ourselves facing the bunch or Royal cats.

The leopard being spotted

It was a sheer joy being so close to these gleaming coated cats. We had our share of pics through the cage. This area was a little away, sort of a courtyard with other cages having other animals unlike the large open enclosures.

Up and Close

We stepped out and headed briefly for dear Bear.

Dear Bear

And then on our right, we saw these large and tall animals. As you watch a Giraffe taking those long strides with the tall slender neck swerving to the sides, its difficult to believe that how did they manage to survive throuhg all those millions of years of evolution. As expected, the enclosure for this animal was fitting to its size. Time to rest a while before we move ahead.


Monkey Business

A quick look at monkey business and we found the Asiatic Lion. Something was wrong with him since he was taking these unending circular walk.

Its pretty big and bulky

By now, we were back to the main gate. We passed a Kos Minar before we got out. A sunday well spent.


  • Nice walkover with beautiful pics, and a good reminder for me about Delhi Zoo. I visited Delhi Zoo some time in 1980 on my school trip. Now days, whenever I visit Ghaziabad I always have plans to visit Delhi Zoo, but not able to do so every time.

  • Rahul says:

    Aww I had pictures like that! It used to be a definite winter pilgrimage as a kid. Those were the days…
    I used to like the colourful parakeets and other birds too!

  • Karthik says:

    Had a nice virtual tour of the zoo. Never been to this zoo though I spent good amount of time in Delhi.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Good one.

    The first pic is ‘golden’.

  • Deepender Sehajpal says:

    Pihu is Shagun’s Copy

  • Deepender Sehajpal says:

    Mr. Ram Dhall has been stylish for ever…great picture

  • smitadhall says:

    :) Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Yes, Deepender, I agree with both your observations. Actually I agree with all the comments. :)

  • nandanjha says:

    Visibility was poor and thats why the pics are not very clear. Good fun but would want to visit this place again in leisure.

    Good to see this story, Smita.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thanks Deepender. I am feeling elated.

    God Bless You.

    As far the post, it is beautifully narrated and the first picture made me nostalgic about our stay at Rajouri Garden.

  • Neetu says:

    Ah! Love the Delhi zoo!!!!!!!

  • srijan says:

    Hi Smita,

    this brought back the memories of my first zoo visit in Patna in 1981. yeah, the same city were the bypass road passes through the center of the city :) . My initial days in Delhi were bang opposite the zoo in kaka nagar but the visit never happened. Thanks for the trip.

  • Manish khamesra says:

    The first picture is very beautiful. Looking at it caring & loving Ram Uncle is so evident.

    Smita, you missed to caution visitors that friday this zoo is closed, though its there in when to visit section (we committed this mistake, when I took my BIL there).

    I still enjoy visiting zoos, its always so relaxing. We used to have a chapter about a visit to Delhi zoo in our text books and hence as a kid it was a dream to visit it.

  • smitadhall says:

    Thanks for the comment, Manish, and for ommission.

    p.s. I like this picture of yours that apeears on comments.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    We took this picture in Sikkim and thanks to “Gyurmee” (owner of Bliss resort and now a good friend too) for lending his cowboy hat to me for the photograph.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    I forgot to mention that your and Pihu’s picture appearing with the post is eye catching too :)

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Visited the zoo recently.

    Ostrich or an Emu, Smita?

    Think its Emu.

  • smitadhall says:

    Yes, Patrick – it IS Emu, not Ostrich. Thanks.

  • sachin rathi says:

    white tiger is good….

  • T.S.Pawan says:

    Hi smita,

    Thanks for posting such as useful informetion about delhi zoo. we are planing to visit zoo and we got lots of informetion.

    thanks again.

  • shubhadeep says:

    I am also planning ro visit to delhi zoo but it is the month of august and I have seen in the blogs the the animals can not be seen in this hot weather ,but I din’t have time after that.What should I do?

  • smitadhall says:

    Hi Shubhadeep,

    Yes, it indeed is very hot and sultry. I won’t able to say much here, except for that it depends on your endurance and threshold of heat-tolerance :-)

    Animals would be in their wet dunks and sleeping theough most days. If you can plan your visit during early evenings 4-5, it should work.


  • Sachin says:

    Nice Pictures and thanks for this

  • Nagendra says:

    nice review
    planning to visit soon
    how long will it take totally?

  • Bineet says:

    Thanks for wonderful details.

  • raghav narang says:

    its not ostrich, its Emu !!

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  • Vikas says:

    I vistekd Delhi zoo yesderday ( 13.01.2012). It was a winter afternoon. I was shocked to see the huge neglect of the zoo. The animals look emaciated and unhealthy. One look at the Sloth bears and you know they are sufferring from skin problems . The Emus too look in bad shape. There are hardly any animals. The new feature ,walk through aviary which I was hoping is on the lines of the bird park in singapore turned out to be a big disappointment.Not only was it locked the bords inside appeard in a very bad state.Even the gardens of the zoo were unkempt and there is hardly any lawns top spaek of .The emergency rooms also were locked. The parking was OK .There is now a tatkal ticket seva and you can buy tickets at Rs100 each for entry through the VIP gate. Its a shame that this zoo should be called the National Zoological gardens. The Lucknow Zoo which is smaller is actually a 100 times better in terms of the maintainence,diversity of fauna and visistor friendliness.

  • smitadhall says:

    Thanks for the update, Vikas. It is very, very sad… this state of the Zoo. I have seen a lot of Zoos is smaller towns that are in much better shape, with infrastructure, animals, their care etc. :(

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