The very first destination that we visited during our stay at Bhubaneswar was the Nandankanan zoological park. Both my kids sprang up with joy on discovering that they were about to visit a zoo. This natural heaven on earth is situated adjacent to the Chandaka-Dampara wildlife sanctuary. The Nandankanan zoological park is located in the vicinity of the lake Kanjia. It lies very close to the Baranga railway station on the route from Howrah to Chennai.
As we reached the garden we were enraptured by the panoramic views of this natural forest. As the name suggests, “Nandankanan” has mythological significance in its meaning, i.e. it stands to be a celestial garden on earth. The zoo comprises of 101 enclosures and as many as 202 sub- enclosures. It exhibits both caged animals as well as open moat enclosures. There are a total of 54 cages and 47 open moats for housing a variety of animals.
We were all very excited and eager to discover more and more about this garden that is a proud possessor of 126 animal species. There are 40 species of mammals, 56 bird varieties and 24 reptilian species housed in the premises of Nandankanan zoological park.
It is a glorious keeper of 1580 animals on the whole, out of which 634 are mammals, 812 are birds and the rest134 are reptiles. It also holds 32 exotic animal species which attract tourists from all over the world. Besides this the Nandankanan is the only zoo in the whole nation that houses the Patas Monkey, Open- billed Stork and the Eastern Rosella.
It also acts as a habitat for Oran – utan, Spotted Munia, Indian Pangolin and Burmese Python. It is a dwelling place for very exquisite bird species like Cinereous Vulture, Nicobar Pigeon and the green winged Macaws.
The visiting hours for this famous zoo and botanical garden are 7.30 am to 5.30 pm from April to September and from 8 am to 5 pm during the time span of October to March. The park is open to visitors on all days of the week except for Monday. It was really a relishing treat for the children as well as us to pay a visit to this site.