National Zoological Park - Famous Zoo in Delhi

May 9, 2016 | A. Goel

Sprawling across 176 acres or 71 hectares of land amidst the burgeoning urban Delhi lay the National Zoological Park or the Delhi Zoo which houses a large collection of animals and birds. It is a 16th century structure encompassing the green island near Old Fort of Delhi.

This zoo houses over 130 species of animals and birds from all over the globe and the number of animals taking shelter in this zoo count to not less than 1350. The zoo can be visited completely either on foot or with a rented battery operated van. The visitors cannot carry eatables within the zoo premises but can buy food at the canteen within. Recently a year ago in 2014 one of the visitors met with fatal accident by falling into the white tiger’s cage raising eyebrows about safety measures at the premises. Shri Amitabh Agnihotri, IFS is current director of this zoo.


Though the concept of zoo was initiated in 1951, the actually national park for animals was inaugurated only in 1959, much after the city of New Delhi was built.

The Indian Board of Wild life created a committee in 1952 for conceptualisation of a zoo in national capital. The committee finalised the location and turned it over to Government of Delhi in 1953 for overseeing the same as working enterprise. Later in 1955, Indian Forest Service appointed N D Bachketi to look into the zoo creation activities.

To draw the plans for zoo, Major Aubrey Weinman of Sri lankan Zoological Garden was requested to come over but due to his unavailability, Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg Zoological Garden was called in. He presented a rough draft of plan for zoo in 1956 which was later modified to suit the local conditions and later approved in 1956 by the Indian government.

The north side of zoo was finished in 1959 and thereafter the animals that were housed in temporary cages were shifted to permanent ones. In November 1959, the Delhi zoo was officially renamed as National Zoological Park that was aimed to become a model zoo for other zoos in India.

Timings & Tariff

Visitor Information

Clock Room

  • Per item the charges in cloak room is Rs 1 /-
  • Cloak room is open from 9.00 AM till 6.00 PM

1. Prior to depositing for safekeeping in cloak room, the luggage must be properly locked.

2. Valuable items like cash/ jewellery/ camera/ mobile/ laptop should not be kept in safe custody of cloak room. The cloak room authorities do not take responsibility for this.

3. The safety key assigned to your luggage must be kept with the visitor.

4. The belongings will be returned to the visitor only on submitting the coupon issued while depositing the luggage. If the same is lost, the clock authorities have to be satisfied about the ownership of the luggage and only then, luggage will be issued.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Visitors are requested not to give food to the caged animals as these animals are given balanced diet. Haphazard feeding may result in their spoiled health or even fatalities in some cases.
  • Animals should not be teased.
  • Animals may bite or even claw the visitors who cross the barriers hence resulting in serious injuries to the visitors.
  • Damage should not be caused to lawns, trees and flowers.
  • Playing tape recorders, musical instruments and radios may disturb the animals, hence visitors are advised not to play any of these.
  • Pets and firearms of all kinds are prohibited inside the zoo premises
  • Dustbins are available to throw the garbage.
  • Packets and polythene are prohibited into the park premises

Some Basic Information Must Read

  • The primary information about expected behaviour of visitors at zoo is displayed at the entrance of zoo along with entrance fee details. The information is also announced on PA system in English and Hindi languages during the zoo hours.
  • There is a parking complex at entrance for visitor’s parking facility.
  • The orientation and direction signs are displayed at precarious places in zoo. Also at vintage points, map of the zoo is displayed.
  • Every animal enclosure has an information sign board giving out information about the particular animal.
  • For Indian visitors, the map of zoo guide is provided at cost whereas the foreign visitors can have it for free since their entry fee includes the cost of map also. The other publications of zoo are available at the office of Director on all working days.
  • Persons intending to visit the zoo by foot or wheel chair can follow the walking trail drawn along the zoo premises.
  • For convenience of visitors, the zoo authorities have provided for five urinals and seven toilets at various locations in the zoo.
  • The best way to explore the animals in zoo is to view them by foot but for visitors who cannot visit the zoo by foot for various reasons can opt for privately operated battery cars. There are ten such cars available for hire which are pollution free too.
  • Water being one of the important ingredients for convenience of visitors, the zoo authorities have provided for water purification water coolers at five points and about 16 drinking water points. Water is available at no cost in zoo premises.
  • Outside food is not allowed in zoo premises in view of security and safety to animals. However, visitors intending to have refreshments can purchase the same at designated eating outlets wherein cool drinks, tea, water and coffee is available.
  • Keeping the zoo premises garbage free is very important to maintain health of animals and also to maintain the aesthetic appearance of zoo. Hence dustbins are provided at various locations throughout the premises of zoo.
  • Rain shelters are also provided throughout the zoo.
  • To enable visitors to take rest during zoo trip, about 150 benches are provided. These are provided carefully near the animal enclosures, urinals, toilets and water drinking points.
  • For physically disabled persons to visit the zoo, wheel chairs are provided at the entrance itself. The persons can use the walking trails to visit the zoo and return it later on while going back.
  • While enjoying zoo visit, visitors may get hurt or have some minor injuries and in such situations, first aid is very important. To meet this requirement, first aid facility is made available at the following points in zoo:
  • Near booking counter at booking centre,
  • Near office of the Zoo Director,
  • At the animal hospital centre also known as Veterinary Hospital, and
  • Near Koshminar at the Range Office.

Best Time to Visit

The months from October till March are the best time to visit the zoo which is also the best time to explore the city of Delhi when the weather is pleasant.

Map of Zoo


Within the zoo, the right side leads to wild life animals like African Wild Buffalo, Hippopotamus, the Gir Lion, Spider monkey, Chimpanzee and Zebras etc. On left of the zoo lie the water bodies like swamps wherein the water birds spend their time. Especially, the migratory birds like Peafowl, Hyenas, Macaque, Hog Dear, Axis deer, the Jaguar, Banteng, Emu and Fallow deer come over during their migratory period. The nocturnal animals are carefully preserved in the centre of the zoo in the Reptile Home complex. Here the reptiles like pythons, King Cobra and other species are found.

The distinct feature of this zoo over other zoos of India is that in this zoo over 200 varieties of trees are displayed with description- a unique concept to maintain zoo not found elsewhere. The descriptive boards to each tree give complete information about a tree even to a non-botanist. For example, the Phulahi hedges or the hanging deep yellow Alamtas or the Lahura trees that are drought resistant are found here with proper information. Along the pathway of the zoo, the local variety of Delhi bistendu are trimmed properly and laid for enhanced look to the zoo.

How to Reach

The location of Delhi National Zoological Park is very simple. Located at about 12 kms from Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), the place is also well connected to the railways. The old Delhi Railway station is about 10 kms away while the New Delhi railway station is about 10 kms from zoo premises. Central secretariat is closest metro rail station to the zoo and Indira Gandhi International airport is about 25 kms away. Also from various local points, buses are also available to reach the zoo.


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