May 05

UPDATE: This post is from the trip to the zoo on 1st Jan 2010. I heard that things are much better now. I am planning to visit again soon. Will update the post with the changes.

Once upon a time, there existed the Katraj Snake Park. Then, slowly the park expanded it horizons by bringing in other animals and expanded into the Rajiv gandhi zoologicl park also known colloquially as the Katraj Zoo. The zoo also has a lake within it premises.

Route to go to the Pune Zoo (From Magarpatta): Go to the Solpur road, keep going towards Swargate, at the swargate signal, turn left towards Katraj. Keep going straight. After a while (a long while), you should see the zoo on your left.

View Larger Map

Go to the Pune Zoo only under the following conditions:

  • If you have never been to any half-decent zoo before. One can literally count the number of animals in the zoo.
  • If you want to have your morning walk/jog in the presence of few dozen deers. With an entrance fee of 5 rupees, it is the best bet for a good run amongst a bit of greenery. Of course, avoid anytime after the mornings, as the place gets thronged with whoever has 5 rupees change in the pocket.
  • If you love to see deers and more deers. The ratio of deers to other animals is around 92.5 to 1. Maybe, other animals were obtained under special packages such as buy a tiger, get 20 deers free.
  • If you want to test the limit of your big zoom lens or to test your ophthalmologist’s claim that you can identify objects at farway distances after your recent eye operation. I have a 200 mm lens and it proved to be extremely difficult to get decent shots of the animals. It is easy to recognise animals if they move around. Imagine a bear lying still around a 100 m away..Half the crowd was playing a trasure hunt trying to spot the location of the bear in the compound. This is the first zoo i have seen where the elephant is kept around half a km away from the viewing area. We could get to see the trunk and tail of the elephant (at least that is what we thought those were!)
  • if you are studying any course in design and want to get examples of how not to design things. The design of the pune zoo is a marvel in itself. When you enter the zoo, you can either turn right or left. On the left, you will find monkeys, snakes and other smaller creatures. The board towards the right says “Elephant” prominently. Akshara is very fond of elephants and hence we turned right. Bad decision!  We walked on for almost 200 metres and were yet to come across the first animal/cage! The road on the right goes past lot of enclosures for almost 1.5 kms. Each enclosure is at least a 100 m apart and every second enclosure has deers. Unfortunately, the elephant was the last. But, we were ok. Akshara didnt seem to mind seeing a deer every second second! Then came the bad news! The only way to get back to the start/gate of the zoo was to walk back the entire 1.5 kms as the road finished at the lake and it looked like swimming across the lake was not an option. Maybe, the zoo authorities wanted to ensure that you didnt miss any deer. This proved to spoil the day as my parents. already tired from the long walk had to now walk back. There was mini-tram service and that looked to provide an easy way. But, this was not a hop-on-hop-off service. It took a group of people around the zoo and then took them back. With just a few trams and few hundred people, the waiting time at the start is something not worht mentioning.

Some photographs from our trip.

Pune Katraj zoo

Pune Katraj zoo

Pune Katraj zoo

Akshara didn’t seem to mind, as there was always some animal to watch and she was being carried or driven around in a pram.

Pune Katraj zoo

Pune Katraj zoo

But, even in such a zoo, i found few takeaways. There were boards kept near many enclosures which explained the roots of the names of animals and also the differences between antelopes/deers and turtles/tortoises. The difference between turtles and tortoises was a cool thing to know.

Pune Katraj zoo

Pune Katraj zoo

Pune Katraj zoo

There is also the boating facility on the katraj lake. Surprisingly, there were no life jackets or life guards around.

Pune Katraj zoo

The highlight of the zoo was this enclosure which had graves for the dodo and the Indian Cheetah and a proposed one for the Tiger. The message was strong and direct. I stayed next to this place for a fewminutes and it was funny listening to the comments of people ranging from “Oh, this must be the place where they bury dead animals” to “Oh, a tiger died recently?”.

Pune Katraj zoo

written by Rajaram S



41 Responses to “Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park – Pune Zoo and Katraj Snake Park”

  1. 1. Pune Hotel Booking Says:

    Nice Picture,

  2. 2. manish gandhi Says:

    thats a brilliant write-up..i v bn to the zoo wid friends..twas more of an educational trip of sorts…nd trust me..i cn relate to EAcH N EvERY thing u talk of…hahahah…a tiger died recently! lol..cheers

  3. 3. avni Says:

    is there any chimpanzee in the zoo??

  4. 4. Rajaram S Says:

    I dont remember seeing one Avni. But there are LOT of monkeys.

  5. 5. Niket Says:

    Very nicely written. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. 6. Raman Says:

    Dude, thanks a lot for your writeup. I am thinking of taking my young daughter to this zoo. But after reading this i feel that i myself will get tired of walking such a distance & keep comparing Bangalore Bannargatta Zoo ( which has good layout plan & can see Animals in a short distance).

    Now, after this i have to rethink on taking them there at this summer time :-(

  7. 7. V S REDDY Says:

    Thanks dear, i m planning to go with my small kids as a edu trip, but due to long long distances to catch an eye of animals i should re think of the trip during this summer ok bye.

  8. 8. Ankit Says:

    Thanks for the Nice comments. Now I will go with this state of mind.

  9. 9. Farrah Says:

    Thanks so much for the review. I’ve been looking for places to visit and some real experiences. Yours is the first I’ve found! Keep them coming.

  10. 10. yuga Says:

    Cool Write up!!! Tone is hilarious!!!!! Keep Rocking!!!!

  11. 11. Jassi Says:

    Thanks for your blog. It helped us set our expectations. We went recently on 11-07-2011. Here is the update. My kids enjoyed it. Except for the long walk, which we could have avoided by opting for the battery operated car for a nominal fee, it was a nice zoo. We went on a week day, so it was not super crowded. The weather was nice that day, so didn’t feel bad walking all the way. They moved the elephants a little closer, but the sign board were not fixed, so we ended up walking all the way to the end of the zoo :) We went first towards the reptile side, which I think was a good idea, as we saw 40% of the zoo with very less effort. Saw snakes, aligators, crocodile, turtle, tortoise, monkeys, deers, elephant, white and yellow tiger, leopard, bison, peacock, owl, bear, jackal, porcupine. Didnt take the boat ride so cant comment about it. Tickets are Rs.10 now. They dont allow plastic bags inside, probably due to which it looks clean. They have 3 toilets I think, very okay okay. Close to the gate as soon as you enter there is a board with the map of the zoo drawn with chalk. Some might find that useful, I saw it while coming back.

    Hope this helps!!

  12. 12. Rajaram S Says:

    thanks Jayashree. Good to know that there are improvements. I will update the blog entry with your details.

  13. 13. N George Says:

    Your article is quite amusing, I must agree, but the Rajeev Gandhi Zoological Park thankfully has the good sense not to house the animals in small enclosures so that idiotic people like you have an easy time spotting them. As far as layout and management is concerned it is in fact very well thought out, since the animals have a sufficient distance to retreat to from the gawking gaping crowds, which is to be expected.
    The large number of deer, which in fact belong to different species, also because unlike other animals, deer can be housed in a relatively smaller area in larger numbers.
    It was initially only Katraj Snake Park, and later became a zoo, so the left and right had to be planned so that the snake part was incorporated with the rest of the zoo, you bumbling nit wit.
    Elephants are temperamental animals and that is why they don’t keep them close to the viewing area.
    And since you obviously know nothing about the basics of wildlife conservation or management, try to keep your obviously inane and mundane comments and criticism to yourself.

  14. 14. Dr. Samir More Says:

    First and foremost, an intriguing review with some nice sarcasm. Secondly, preview of the zoo of what exactly is to be expected, and what are the things one can look forward to. And lastly, I completely agree with all the points Mr. N. George said.
    The animals need their space. Though zoos provide entertainment and help us know and see the different species that there are, the fact remains that it’s the animals that make the zoo, not humans. Besides, the zoos have many more functions that simply being an “observatory” for humans to watch the animals…most of which are animal health, conservation and research purpose oriented. It’s very heartening to know that Pune has a zoo that caters foremost to the animals it inhabits and only then to the humans rather than the other way around which is the case in most other places. What father would want their children to learn that it’s okay to constrain and hold animals in small enclosures away from their natural habitat just so that they could watch it do some antics? And there are rules about spoiling the environment carrying plastic bottles and other things that are followed strictly too.
    There was a much bigger lesson to be learnt and taught through all this, but sadly you seemed to have missed it. Animals would be a much safer when people change their views and stop putting only their comfort at the foremost at the cost of others.

  15. 15. Rajaram S Says:

    Dr.Samir and George, I also agree to your comments. Though i might have written so about the zoo, i am not an animal hater. On the contrary, i love animals. Having said that, i am not the extreme kind where i protest for the closure of all zoos and campaign for animals to roam free on the roads. Purists exist only on paper in their words, it cannot just be practical.
    If a zoo advertises itself as a zoo, then let it function so. If the one in Pune is meant to be an animal safe haven or a research centre, i wouldn’t be complaining that the facilities for us humans to see the animals are not ok. A zoo can provide entertainment as well as provide animals their space and freedom. Taking a kid to a zoo is not just for watching animals do some antics, but also can be very educative. Just reading about animals on books or watching them on TV would never compare.
    A case in example is the SIngapore zoo, easily one of the best zoos in the world. And, this zoo doesnt harm animals for the same of entertainment of us humans. The zoo is very entertaining (for kids and adults alike) and also extremely informative. You can have shows talking about the capabilities of the animals and birds and their skills. You can showcase an endangered animal and explain its significance..you can do dozens of such things and yet be entertaining.
    i seriously doubt that the pune zoo is interested in doing anything that you have mentioned. It is just another ill-funded zoo in our country where neither us humans or the animals get their due.
    Btw, if you read my post completely, i am not the kind who is just interested in watching monkeys jumping around. I did learn few things even in this zoo.
    On a positive note, i heard that improvements were on the way as one person pointed out. Hopefully, they work and make it a much better place – for the animals to stay in and for us to see them :-)

  16. 16. nishant nishad Says:

    hi…..nice park i was invited these park during my study tour from birla college,kalyan
    i love these park and along with also like snakes park

  17. 17. nishant nishad Says:

    awesome place i havn’t seen these types of place in my life when i saw i was feel god giving so much to seeeeeeeeee………….i request to all friends please go to these park and i hope you enjoy really well….if you have any doubt then ask me at these emailid………..nishantlovepriyanka@gmail.com
    thank you

  18. 18. nishant nishad Says:

    nice one

  19. 19. Siddharth Says:

    Everyone has their own opinions …
    I think it is a very nice place with absolutely ample place for animals … Animals don’t have a problem if they get more place .. !! But human nature wants to intrude in their space too .. Why do you feel bad if the cages are big ?? How does it matter to you? Would you prefer to have everything at your footstep and cramped so that you can easily access it? Why don’t you get 2-3 elephants and keep them in your balcony?
    Secondly, you care so much about comfort that you felt it was so very important to blog it on a webpage !! Disgrace .. huh..
    Now, I agree that your parents must have faced a problem while walking all the way .. But it is a part and parcel of what comes when you go to unknown places.. And being older than you I am sure they appreciate having seen the conserved animals more than rattling of how it was a bad experience .. People like you would never really like the nature for its beauty but will try to find your space in everything ..
    never mind bro .. take care and try to appreciate things.. Selflessly ..

  20. 20. vishal Says:

    i fully agree to george,samir,rajaram and siddharth….whoever wrote this..i guess is realy a lazy dumb person…do u want a zoo like shopping mall…like having a elevator for u to get to elephant…i think it was ur first experience to visit zoo in ur life…its not abt ur comfort u lazy potato its abt the comfort of animals taken care of…zoo shud look like a real forest…bcoz children love to see that way…not in the closely packed area where they will just see animals which are gone crazy bcoz off crowd…zoological parks are meant for childrens mainly so u keep ur reviews to urself…anyways childrens are not going to stop visiting the zoo…and u better get a miniature of a zoo in ur house and play with it…

  21. 21. Somaiah Says:

    I agree with Vishal. A zoo should be a place where the animals live. Its fantastic that they have large enclosures. If you can’t see them, buy some glasses. And if its too big for you, get your fat ass some excercise

  22. 22. Mukul Upreti Says:

    Thanks Dude!,

    I was a fool to go to the zoo in spite of reading your review…As soon as we came out of the main gate I was thinking about your article and I couldn’t stop smiling which most of the people mistaken as if i am very happy with the zoo… One big thing you forgot to mention about is the sprinklers opposite to the leopard cage… which literally reminded me of HOLI hahaha… it’s not water sprinklers its some sort of water pouring device…
    But on the sincere note… any Zoo is nice in it’s own way and it’s fun to go to zoo…
    Cu doz to you on such a wonderful description of Katraj zoo…

  23. 23. Sreekumar Menon Says:

    Very good and hilarious blog

  24. 24. Abbas Says:

    Very well written blog

  25. 25. divya jothi Says:

    i went to d zoo a week before i liked d way they maintained d zoo but am really upset with the visitor’s behaviours they unnecessarily scream throw small stones on animals which really irritated me i felt as if animals were really scared of public activities like taking pictures on their cameras and screaming and yelling at animals .there should b strict rules against such public harassments over animals . the zoo keepers shud provide guidance n stand near every cage inorder to protect animals from such harassments n also cameras by d public should be banned instead zookeepers can sell pictures of d animals this would also increase the revenue for d zoo

  26. 26. Prathamesh Says:

    Good blog!!

    I will surely recommend friends to see this Zoo atleast once.
    “”picture ek baar dekhne jaisa jarror he!!”"

    I sincerely hope that N George’s or Siddharth’s interpretation of the architecture is really true as per the zoo authorities

    However, Rajaram’s observations and suggestions have a point too.
    Otherwise the whole purpose of having a Zoo in a city would get defeated.

    From a nature lover’s perspective,it is also worth noting that an outing to such a place (like zoo) is really enjoyable by all family members…Slight inconveniences do not matter as compared to the joy of looking at the wild in the wild.

    All in all, i hope the authorities receive the feedback so that they can tweak the things, for e.g: suggestion from Rajaram,divya jothi etc.

    Rajaram, there is always a better way to provide feedbacks!!!
    Everything, including us own have a scope of improvement :-)

  27. 27. shreya Says:

    can any1 tell me the timings of the zoo?

  28. 28. Mayur Says:

    See this album
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.375929849113263.88951.100000887545646&type=3

    facilities provided are very nice.

    timings 10 to 6

  29. 29. Rajaram S Says:

    Nice pics Mayur.

  30. 30. Rashmi Says:

    Thanks for your information …very uselful. Even if i would talk to ten friends i would not get such details as given by you.

  31. 31. Rashmi Says:

    Thanks for you information….very useful. Even if i were to tlk to ten friend i would not be able to get this type of information.

  32. 32. hia Says:

    Mr. N.George and Dr. Samir More you both should read this- “Criticism

    The zoo has had its own share of problems in recent past. Thousands of trees in the zoo have been hacked down in contravention to law. A very green forest like area is quite denuded. Then it was also criticized for its reckless handling of rescued Indian elephants Poornima and Lakshmi. Both were allegedly starved and then developed infection. The most unbelievable case was of 13 full grown peacocks being stolen from the zoo in one single night. The zoo contains mostly reptiles and mammals, and is divided into two major sections: one for reptiles and one for mammals. ”

    as quoted from Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park Wikipedia page.

    Rajaram has just humoured, but on a serious note there is really something happening in the zoo which should not have happened. really feel sad…..BIG BLOT OF MISMANAGEMENT…. !

  33. 33. Sagar Says:

    Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park

    In 1953 the Pune Municipal Corporation created a “Peshwe Park” (adjacent to Saras Baug) on about 7 acres (2.8 ha) where Madhavrao Peshwe had established a private menagerie in 1870. Located in the heart of the city at the base of the Parvati hills, this zoo exhibited animals in traditional cages.

    In 1986, Mr. Neelam Kumar Khaire (the first director of the park), with assistance from the Pune Municipal Corporation, created the Katraj Snake Park on land that was to become the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park.

    In 1997, in order to create a more modern zoo in accordance with the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority of India, the municipality selected a site in Katraj and started developing a new zoo. The zoo opened in 1999 as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, and initially included only the snake park, sambars, spotted deer, and monkeys. Although it took until 2005, all of the animals from Peshwe Park were eventually moved to the new site, and Peshwe Park was closed.

    The park also incorporates a rescue center for injured and orphaned animals. It has run an Animal Adoption Scheme since October 2010.

    Courtesy: From Wikipedia

  34. 34. anupam Says:

    Whats a write up !!!
    But, its a good time pass and far better than spending ur time in Empress garden or a multiplex.

  35. 35. Amruta Says:

    Great ‘n interesting write up! Found it way more interesting than i found the zoo… :)
    ‘n well, all the reactions you heard at the “graves” were hilarious.. :)

  36. 36. Joseph Says:

    I found the Zoo had very little animals, kept so apart that you walk a lot and never get to see them

    It was a waste of time. Nothing much, do not waste time here, Even the Kids will not like it.

  37. 37. Amit kanojiya Says:

    I visited zoo on 10th Dec 2012 it was amazing to see a well maintained park withgood condition and more i saw that plastics item was banned inside the park that good to see,people were also following the rules. The most memorable creature i saw was Igwana(big lizard) and king Cobra, and i will defenatily reecomend my friends to visit this zoo.

  38. 38. kunal Says:

    itzz awsum place..

  39. 39. bhaskar Says:

    good info

  40. 40. Manjunath Rao Says:

    Visited this place recently.. My 2.5 year son loved it. Though it can’t be compared with other great Zoo, still a good option. Getting parking on a week end is painful. Will provide a good long walk if you can cover all places!

  41. 41. sushant katekar Says:

    its very nice ,, icon of our pune , snakes are so huge , even it is so natural, plz give one meet to ths place

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