When you visit Assam, the first thing you think about is its range of famous tea gardens and amazing wildlife. However, you may not necessarily head to the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the hilly state for that. Even when spending time in a busy city like Guwahati- it is possible to get a glimpse at wildlife. Your destination for this is the Assam state Zoo. The botanical garden which is home to a wide range of plants and animal species offers a soothing relief to your eyes.
Nuances of Assam State Zoo
As it is, Assam State zoo is not like other typical zoos in India! In fact, it is possibly the only zoo in the country where a natural forest remains. No wonder it has become a major hotspot for tourists coming to the city. The zoo is spread over a region of 175 hectares inside Hengrabari Reserved Forest. It is one of the most well maintained zoos in India.
The origin of the zoo can be traced back to 1958. Over the years, the variety of animals and plants kept at the zoo increased substantially. To get several exotic and popular animals like Liam and Jaguar the zoo authority resorted to exchange indigenous animals with zoos of other countries. Later, a museum was set up and a botanical garden was developed. Over the time, the zoo authorities have resorted to captive breeding and animal adoption schemes.
How and when to visit
Guwahati is well connected to rest of the country both through rail and airlines. You can reach the zoo easily from Guwahati rail station. It can be visited literally any time, of the year and entry fee is nominal for both adults and kids. The fee for camera is not much either and visiting time varies slightly in winter and summer months. Friday the zoo remains closed though.
Wildlife and Plants
The Assam state Zoo is home to numerous rare and endangered animals and birds. You will find exotic animals like Swamp tapirs, Hoolock Gibbon, leopards, deers, Himalayan Black Bear and white tigers. Along with the Indian one-horned rhinoceros you will also see the two-horned rhino brought from Africa. The Brow Antlered deer, only found in natural habit in Manipur is also present in this zoo. Another attraction is the pygmy hogs brought in 1974 from Barnadi.
The variety of birds kept at the zoo can satisfy bird lovers beyond doubt. The parrots are adept at imitating human sound and this makes them a hit with the kids visiting the zoo! In the snake house you will see some pythons and this place is also a crowd puller. There are other types of small snakes kept here as well.
The Botanical Garden
The vegetation in the zoo comprises of both semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests. There are bamboo forests along with teak plantation and bushy shrubs inside the zoo premises.
The botanical garden in the zoo was set up in 1982 and this draws a lot of tourists. Among the wide collections of orchids in the zoo, 44 variants are from the North East India. Exotic and interesting plants like Ladies slipper orchid, pitcher plant can be found here too.
Activities for visitors
Apart from watching the colorful birds, gorgeous animals and reptiles in the zoo and exploring the plants, visitors can indulge in recreational activities. Children have a gala time watching the wildlife and relaxing at a park in the zoo. There is a tower house too. In various parts of the zoo, you can stop to grab a bite at the eateries.