The Best Travel Guide to Nandankanan

guide to Nandankanan

Thousands of visitors come to Nandankanan every day, and more than 3.3 million visitors come each year.

  • Children come to see and learn about birds and animals, love nature, protect it, and live in its lab.
  • Adults enjoy its beauty and serenity to breathe easily under the open sky and away from the worries of urban life.

Nandankanan Zoological Park is a premier zoo in India. Unlike other zoos, Nandankanan is built right inside the forest and set in a completely natural environment.

The animals are housed in enclosures with greenery and a natural forest feel. They live with no fear or apprehension of becoming the hunters’ prey.

Nandankanan is located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was established on 29th December 1960, covering an area of 362 hectares.

Importance of Nandankanan

It has spearheaded many significant improvements to provide the highest standard of housing, husbandry, and health care to captive wild animals. It has contributed to enriching our knowledge of biology concerning endangered species.

The zoo was conceived to protect the natural environment and the animals living in it. It was declared a sanctuary on 3rd august 1979, spreading over an area of 437 hectares.

Amidst the beauty of enigmatic nature, the sanctuary comprises a Zoological Park, State Botanical Garden, and a national wetland – the Kanjia lake.

Things to do in Nandankanan

How the zoo got the name Nandankanan

Nandankanan is derived from the Nandanbana of the apex, which means Garden of the Gods. The word Kanan is related to a story that dates back to 1967, when the zoo had just been built and was yet to be declared a sanctuary.

One night possibly the last tigress of the forest, jumped into the newly built cage to meet Pradeep, the only tiger in the zoo at that time. The old tigress was named Kannan, and she lived in the cage until she died in 1978.

A couple of years ago, a wild tiger named Nandan living outside Nandankanan became enamoured with the cage-tigress. He scaled the 18 feet high iron mesh fencing one day and jumped into the zoo to meet his lady love. Living peacefully in the zoo, Nandan fathered two Cubs in 2016.

Story of Nandankanan

Animals of Nandankanan

Nandankanan is the world’s first captive crocodile breeding centre, where Ghadiyals were bred in captivity in 1980. The same year two normal tigers in Nandankanan gave birth to three white tiger cubs. The first such occurrence anywhere in the world. Since then, white tigers have been regularly bred here.

Nandankanan has been internationally acclaimed for its highest collection of white tigers globally. Besides Ghadiyals and white tigers, leopards, Pangolin, mice, deer, lions, ratel, and vultures are also bred here.

Animals in the Nandankanan zoo

Nandankanan has more than 3073 animals of 154 species, including 1198 mammals of 41 species, 1588 birds of 81 species, 266 reptiles of 26 species, and 21 amphibians of six species.

Nandankanan animals

Wildlife Safari – A thrill ride to live jungle

Nandankanan is the first zoo in India with a white tiger safari. It brings the visitors in close proximity to the animals which roam freely in the open jungle.

A 20-minute drive through the meandering roads crisscrossing the natural forest in a specially protected vehicle takes the visitors straight into the tiger, lion, bear, and herbivore Safari.

The herbivore Safari houses barking deers, spotted deers, sambar, four-horned antelope, wild boars, jungle fowl, and Peafowl. Visitors can also see sloth bears in their natural habitat through the safari bus service.

Jungle safari

Health care centers

A hospital for the animals is worth round-the-clock to meet emergencies and routine preventive and curative health care. Many caretakers are friends and family to the animals.

The caretakers help orphaned offspring of animals and birds grow. They prepare food for all inhabitants to feed them and give them a luxurious bath.

It has a well-functioning system of animal fodder which caters to the nutritional requirements of all the inhabitants in this Zoological Park, along with one slaughterhouse to feed the carnivores.

The beauty of Nandankanan is world-class care and services for all its inhabitants by providing quality food, medical care, equipment, up-gradation of the enclosure, and enrichment. 

Animal Health care centers - Nandankanan

Plants, Shrubs, and Trees

This sanctuary is home to different plants, shrubs, and trees. A botanical garden spread over 75 hectares is situated in Sylvan settings of the moist deciduous forests in the sanctuary.

A diverse variety of plants, orchids, creepers, cacti, palms, and seven hundred species are seen here.

The state botanical garden for tree lovers was established in 1963 to conserve and study trees, plants, shrubs, and creepers. Many rare species of flowers, leaves and medicinal plants are on display for the visitors to see and identify.

The state botanical garden - Nandankanan

Kanjia Lake

The Kanjia lake, spread over 66.1 hectares, is home to more than 60 species of birds. Migratory birds arrive here in huge numbers every year. In recent years, billed storks have been making nests near the crocodile pond and living here for a few months every year since 2000.

The lake is an important wetland of the sanctuary and plays a vital role in meeting the freshwater requirements. It serves as a living laboratory for the wetland education program for school children.

Kanjia Lake - Nandankanan

The major attraction of Nandankanan zoo

Boating and paddling or rowboats in the blue waters of Kanjia lake provide an exhilarating experience for the visitors.

Nandankanan also has a reptile park home to various rare and endangered species of reptiles.

An aquarium houses several marine fish species. Moreover, separate houses have been built for Nocturnal animals.

A Block through the aviary of exotic birds presents a magnificent view of the birds and their biological activities.

A toy train along the Kanjia lake is set up in Nandankanan, a thrilling experience for the children.

Apart from this, Nandankanan has an aerial ropeway across the Kanjia lake from the zoo to the Botanical Garden. It provides visitors with an aerial view of the zoo, lake, and the Botanical Garden.

The pricing of all the activities in the zoo can be seen here.

The major attraction of Nandankanan zoo

Nandankanan Special

  • Boating
  • White Tiger Safari
  • Lion Safari
  • Herbivore Safari
  • Bear Safari
  • Reptile Park
  • Amphibian enclosure
  • Open top Leopard enclosure
  • Toy Train
  • Aquarium
  • Battery Operated Vehicle
  • Library
  • Nocturnal Animal House
  • Reptile Interpretation Centre
  • Interpretation Centre
  • Zoo Museum
  • Electronic Gate Entrance System
  • Walkthrough Aviary

Freedom prevails but there is no fear

Nandankanan is God’s garden where man, animals, and plants live in harmony. Each has its own space as animals, birds, reptiles, and plants live in complete freedom.

Deer, sambar, hare, porcupines, and peacocks roam freely in the sanctuary without any fear. Freedom prevails, but there is no fear where there is only love and affection.

How to reach Nandankanan

Nandankanan is 15 kilometres from Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar. The Bhubaneswar railway station is at a distance of 18 kilometres, and the Biju Patnaik International Airport is at a distance of 20 kilometres.

Tourist cottages inside Nandankanan are available for accommodation only during the daytime on prior reservation from the office of the Deputy Director of Nandankanan Zoological Park. One can also get lodging facilities in the hotels of Bhubaneswar.

How to reach Nandankanan

More to know about Nandankanan

  • Nandankanan is the first zoo to breed white tigers and melanistic tigers.
  • Nandankanan is the only conservation breeding centre of Indian pangolins in the world.
  • Nandankanan is the only Zoological Park in India to become an institutional member of the world association of zoos and aquariums.
  • Nandankanan is the only zoo in India, after which an extra strain, the Puri New Delhi Express, has been named Nandankanan Express.
  • Nandankanan is the first zoo in India where a dangerous rattle was born in captivity.
  • Nandankanan is the only zoo in India to have an open-top leopard enclosure.
  • Nandankanan is the second-largest Heronry for open billed storks in Odisha.
  • Nandankanan has the most attractive satellite garden, such as a carnivorous plant garden and butterfly park in the Botanical Garden.
  • Nandankanan is the only zoo in India with a captive slaughterhouse.
  • Nandankanan is a third zoo in the country with a live animal feed centre that nurtures and produces live feeds such as guinea pigs, albino, mice, chicks, and mealworms to meet the protein requirements of the birds and animals.
  • Nandankanan is one of the few zoos in the world to have a captive farm and a slaughterhouse to cater to the dietary needs of animals housed in the Zoological Park.
  • Nandankanan is the first zoological park in India to have electronic security installed.
  • Nandankanan is the only Zoological Park in India offering tourist guides in different languages.
  • Nandankanan has a museum where trophies of rare dead animal species are preserved, drawing researchers and other visitors.
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