Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo is the
only zoo in Mumbai which is named after Maharaj Shivaji’s mother. The zoo was
previously known as Ranichi Bagh which means Queen Victoria’s Gardens. Situated
in the middle of the city in Byculla, the zoo was constructed in 1861 and is
one of the oldest zoos in India. There are various animals kept in separate
cages including tigers, lions, crocodiles, monkeys and many other wild animals.
Different species of beautiful birds are kept
in a large aviary and the area around is filled with the chirping of the birds.
Currently, the zoo is under renovation and many new establishments are supposed
to be added in the zoo such as a butterfly enclosure, medicinal park, tactical
garden for the visually impaired and other amenities to make the visit
enjoyable for the visitors. Interestingly, the zoo has recently got a penguin
enclosure that is home to 8 amiable penguins that entertain the visitors with
their cheerful acts.
More on Mumbai Zoo
Flora and Fauna at
Spread over an area of about 48 acres, the
Mumbai Zoo is home to 40 reptiles, 180 mammals, and 500 birds. The zoo is also
known for its exotic and rare species of flora and comprises about 3000 species
There are several wild animals in the zoo
including foxes, hyena, lion, monkeys, langurs, crocodiles, bears, blackbucks,
hippos, and monitor lizards. As you walk around the zoo exploring the habitat
of various animals, you will come across open enclosures for a group of
black-spotted deer and for two elephants that go by the name, Laxmi and
The zoo also had a secure section that housed
several species of snakes, however, due to an unfortunate incident of Boa
missing, the snake house was shut down by the authorities. You can spot rare
species in the zoo such as striped Hyena and Dolhs, which are commonly known as
wild dogs. The large birdcage houses a few rare species of birds such as albino
crows, peacocks and flamingos.
The zoo also has a big botanical garden that
is known for its exotic species of trees. It is dotted with different species
of large trees that provide shade and shelter to the animals and the visitors.
As you walk past the shadier parts of the zoo, you can even spot groups of bats
peacefully sheltered within. The trees add to the serenity and the natural look
of the zoo. The calm ambience complemented with nature and wildlife around
makes this zoo a perfect place for a weekend escapade while visiting Mumbai.
History of Mumbai Zoo
The Mumbai Zoo was constructed under the
British rule in 1861 and was initially named after Queen Victoria. Now it has
been renamed from Rani Bagh to Jijamata Udyan. While Britishers were on the
verge to leave India, the zoo was transferred to the jurisdiction of Government
of Bombay by a Jewish businessman named David Sasson. Moreover, David built
various other structures in the city including the David Sasson Library, the
Victoria and Albert Museum and the Victoria Clock Tower within the zoo
premises. Currently, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation is responsible for the
maintenance of the zoo and the animals.
Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Built-in 1855 by Lord Elphinstone, Dr Bhau
Daji Lad Museum is the first museum of Bombay and was formerly known as the
Central Museum of Natural History, Economy, Geology, Industry and Arts. In
later years, this museum was renovated by the Indian businessmen and rich
people of the society. Dr Bhau Daji Lad played a major role during its
renovation and hence the museum was renamed after him in 1975. In 2003 and
2007, the museum again underwent a renovation as per the guidelines of Indian
National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
The museum exhibits a wonderful collection of
artefacts and archaeological remains made of clay, silver, bronze, copper and
other metals. It also houses costumes and the weapons that were used in the
past. The most noteworthy element of possession in this museum is the 17th
century Hatim Tai’s manuscript and a statue of a monolithic basalt elephant
that supposedly belonged to the Elephanta Island.
Penguins at Mumbai Zoo
One of the most attractive aspects of the
Mumbai zoo is the penguin enclosure. Being the recent addition made to the zoo,
the penguin enclosure is home to 3 male, 3 female and 2 baby penguins which
were brought from Seoul in South Korea. A lot of effort has been put by the zoo
authority to re-create an environment fit for penguins. The enclosure occupies
an area of about 1700 sq feet and the temperature is fixed to 16 degrees
Celcius. It is expected that under such
a viable environment, the penguins would breed, thus adding more members to the
current small penguin family.
Renovation at Mumbai Zoo
The renovation and addition of new enclosures
are in full swing at the Mumbai Zoo. It is expected that in coming years there
will be more animals residing in the zoo including orang-utans, chimpanzee,
gorilla, leopards, cheetah, tigers, wild cats, zebras, giraffes, mouse deer and
many more. These animals will be brought from different parts of the globe like
Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe. New additions like theme parks, parking
space, a taxidermy collection, food stalls and souvenir shops will also be made
in the zoo very soon.
The zoo will also comprise of three beautiful
gardens namely butterfly garden which will be home to several species of
butterflies. A medicinal garden with herbs like lemongrass, tulsi, brahmi and
other medicinal plants, and lastly, a tactical garden for the visually impaired
Mumbai Zoo Timings and Entry Fees
The zoo remains open on the weekdays from 9 am
to 6 pm.
Depending on your age, the entry fee for the
zoo varies. For a child aged between 3-12 years, the fee for the Mumbai Zoo is
INR 25. For anyone beyond 12 years, the fee is INR 50 per person. If you are
travelling with your family and comprise of four members in total then you will
be charged INR 100 overall.
How to Reach Mumbai
The zoo is situated in the heart of the city
and is very close to the Byculla Railway
Station. In fact, you can walk to the zoo as it is located right across the
station. For those travelling from the western side of Mumbai should take a
train on the western railway route to Mumbai Central, and from here you can
hire a taxi to reach the zoo. The zoo is also well-accessible by bus services,
or you can even hire a cab or an auto-rickshaw to reach the zoo.