Well, the ‘next few days’ from my last post has turned into ‘next few months’! I did think of writing about the final part of our August holiday, but never got around to doing it. Not until, my friend A point out yesterday that she had visited this space to check for updates and found that it wasn’t updated in a long time! Thanks A, for letting me know that there’re still people who visit this blog to read what I’ve written! So here I am, saying better late than never!
Considering that it has been a couple of months, remembering the details might be difficult, but I will try my best. We had decided that the last day would be ear-marked for the zoo-visit. This was on our to-do list for a long time now, we’d always put off the visits to the zoo/ national park saying let the kiddo grow-up a little so that he can enjoy looking at the animals. So now was the time, we thought. I’d been saying hurry-hurry, otherwise we’ll reach when it’s siesta time for most animals, but as is always the case, it was already mid-day when we entered the Mysore zoo.
The Mysore Zoo (officially the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens), as the Wikipedia will tell you, is a 245-acre zoo located near the palace in Mysore. It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in Southern India, and is home to a wide range of species. It is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It was established under royal patronage in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world.
We started off by looking at the tall and majestic giraffes and moved on to the birds sections, where there was a huge variety of winged wonders in all shapes, sizes and colours. The kiddo was specially thrilled to see all the colourful macaws and his amma was thrilled to be able to point out the ‘toucan’ from one of his books to him! 🙂 After the birds, we moved on to other enclosures – we found the cheetahs and were thrilled to read that the two of them had been adopted by Rahul Dravid’s two sons. Yes, the Mysore zoo has this adoption scheme introduced in the early 2000s, which has been a success – with celebrities, institutions, and animal lovers contributing directly to the welfare of the zoo inmates. Later we saw that several other animals too were adopted by celebrities as pointed out by the boards. We excitedly moved towards the tigers and as I had feared, all of them were enjoying their afternoon nap! But one of them (Rama/ Lakshmana – not sure which one) did get up, showed us that famous feline stretch and majestically walked down the ramp, only to curl up and sleep at the next platform!
We walked on and caught up with several other friends like the zebra, the white rhino, the chimps,the baboons and others. Most of the animals are housed not in small enclosures, but wide open spaces with lots of room for them to move around and rather than wiring and fencing (except for a few like the big cats) the concept of wide moats and glass etc. have been used, which gives this sensation of openess to the entire zoo. Insipte of this, the one place where I truly felt saddened was when we saw the gorilla. The gentle giant was all alone and sitting/ sleeping by itself while scores of visitors gaped at it’s antics 😦
We then rested our legs a bit before moving on to what we hoped was the final section – little did we know that there was still so much to see! The sonny boy was shown the bears and the hippos, but he was very interested in looking at the hyenas (thanks to reading all about their evil menacing laughter in the story of Simba, the Lion King!), but unfortunately due to some renovation work being carried out, their enclosure was covered. We then looked at the various deer species – the sambar, the spotted deer, the nilgai, the barking deer and also the jackals, wolf, wild gaurs and bisons. Then came the turn of another of our favourite mammals – the elephants. The sight of two big ones engaged in a tusk war was enjoyed in awe and so also the antics of the little ones welcomed with squeals.Right behind the huge area housing the Asian elephants were their African cousins, but we could only view them from far – their hugeness with the long tusks and big flapping ears were a sight to behold.
After the elephants it was time to look at more big cats – the panthers and the jaguars – and unlike the tigers, they seemed to be ready for action and were pacing all round their enclosures. Their shiny spotted coats and their lissome athletic figures with flashing eyes and adrenaline charged gait – sent shivers down my spine! In cold comparison the king of the jungle and its clan were happy being lazy and slouching and looked to be in no mood to be woken up from their siesta! We infact had trouble getting S to identify these lions amongst the landscape into which they were blending very well!
Just when we felt that we couldn’t go on walking further, we were welcomed into the cooled enclosures housing the reptiles and the birds like the pelicans and storks. There were so many varieties of crocs – with the garhwals and the alligators and there were not less than 6-10 in each independent lake. Some of them seemed to have fallen asleep with their mouth wide open and the little one had loads of fun pointing them out to us 🙂 The lakes were covered with a canopy of trees which housed the several big birds. Also located close by were the various species of tortoises and turtles – some of them so small and wondrous!
By now, we were completely tired out and so was the little one and were happy to note that we were close to the exit. There was only the snakes section to be covered and we stood in the queue. We looked closely at more than two dozen species of snakes in glass covered enclosures and each one was so unique. Each case also a write-up on the name of the species and their specilities. The final ones were the King cobras and humongous pythons – boy! were we glad to be far away from their reach?! By now we were at the exit and once again said hello to the giraffes and bid them good-bye too.
It was a wonderful day, well-spent getting to know our friends from the animal kingdom and more importantly getting them introduced in person to our little one! All-in-all it was a befitting end to our three-day trip – planned to be a relaxing, educational and entertaining trip for each of us and it turned out to be just that! 🙂