Seeing animals is always a very exciting moment especially when you see them in their natural habitat. If you want to see something similar then Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling is the perfect place for you. This zoological park is situated at the highest elevation in India at an average elevation of 7000 ft. (2,134 m). Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park is located in the city of Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, India. It is spread over an area of 67.56 acres (27.3 hectares) in the city. It is a special zoological park of the country, which is authorized for the conservation breeding program of the international level red panda, snow leopard, Tibetan wolf and other highly endangered animal species of Eastern Himalayas. This zoological park attracts about three lakh visitors every year.
It was previously known as Himalayan Zoological Park, which was established on 14 August 1958. In 1975, the Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling was named in memory of the late Smt. Padmaja Naidu, former Governor of West Bengal, by the then Prime Minister of India, Late Smt. Indira Gandhi. The park is a paradise for all kinds of animals and is one of the most sought after tourist attraction for the people who are nature and animal lovers.
Highlights of Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
The Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park concentrates on breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions. It also has successfully conducted captive breeding programs for animals like the snow leopard, red panda, and the Himalayan wolf which is an extremely endangered species. The Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling serves as the central hub for the Central Zoo Authority of India's red panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Owing to its unyielding efforts to repopulate these endangered species, the Darjeeling Zoo has been awarded the prestigious honor of "The Earth Heroes" in 2014 out of over 300 zoos worldwide.
The red panda found here attracts tourists like its own. But it is completely different from the kung fu panda. It has a bear-like shape, the ears have white snow and red fur-like hair on the back with white corners like. It is called Panda because its name originates from the Nepali word "Ponia", which means "bamboo eater". And the only features that they share with the black and white pandas. Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling is also called Darjeeling Zoo. This park was formed in the year 1958. This park attracts about 300,000 tourists every year to see the red panda and other animals.
Many other endangered animals can be seen in the Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling. These endangered species of animals include the Siberian Tigers and the Goral or Mountain Goat. Various bird species such as Hill Manas, Rose Ang Parekets, and Blue Gold Mako can be seen. The zoo also has a few animal names like Markhor, Himalaya Thar, Tibetan Wolves, Himalayan Black Bear, Yaks, Blue Shape to name a few.
Apart from wildlife, this zoo is home to more than 200 species, slums, medicinal plants and trees, and about 60 different types of orchids. The oak trees found here are above 100 years old. Some trees are growing at a slow rate and the age is more than 100 years!
How to reach Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra Airport, located at a distance of 96 km. The airport has direct flights from major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Guwahati. Tourists can take a 3-hour journey from the airport to Padmaja Naidu zoological park Darjeeling. Cabs are easily available. Cars are not allowed to go beyond the entrance of the zoo. But you can hire the battery-operated carts from Gorkha Bhavan. It accommodates 8 passengers from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Best time to visit Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
The maximum temperature at Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park Darjeeling is generally the lies between at 26 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius and the minimum is from 5 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit this zoo is between March to June and September to January.
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park Timings: 8.30 A.M to 4.30 P.M (summers), 8:30 A.M to 4:00 P.M (winters). Zoo remains closed on Thursdays.
Padmaja Naidu Zoological ParkEntry Fees; INR 20 for Indian citizens and INR 50 for foreign nationals. To use the camera, you have to pay an additional 10 rupees.