Skip to main content

Featured Post

Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Thiruvananthapuram Part 2 - Museum and Zoo


Thiruvananthapuram has lots to offer apart from temples. The museum complex which has a museum, an art gallery as well as a zoo and lots and lots of free area for kids to run around without getting in anyone’s way is a wonderful place to spend the entire day.

Timings: 9 AM to 6PM, Monday Closed

Napier Museum




The Napier Museum was established in 1855 by the Maharaja of Travancore. The museum houses some beautiful works of art, archaeological artifacts, idols and ornaments. We started out with the intention of visiting this beautiful museum, which we had been told was worth a visit, and ended up spending so much time in the zoo and the art gallery; we had no time for the museum itself!


Sri Chitra Art Gallery



The Sri Chitra Art Gallery is located within the compound of the Napier Museum, and, as the name suggests, houses some beautiful works of art – prominent among them being some paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, probably the most talented and well known son of this state. There are also paintings by other famous painters, as well as some Tanjore paintings, and reproductions of the paintings which adorned the ceilings and walls of the Travancore Palaces. Cameras and mobiles are not allowed inside the gallery.


Trivandrum Zoo


Entrance to the Museum Complex


The zoo was something Samhith was eagerly looking forward to, and it certainly did not disappoint us. Established in 1857 by the Travancore Maharaja as an annexe to the Museum, it is one of the oldest zoos in India, and also among the better maintained ones. This is also situated within the Napier Museum compound, and is spread over an area of 55 acres. Most of the animals are kept in open enclosures, except, obviously the birds (which, I regret to say, present a sorry sight). We spent almost 2 hours in the zoo itself, and rushed through towards the end, promising Samhith to bring him again on a more leisurely visit. So, without wasting any more words let me take you on a visual tour of this zoo.


We saw this bird as soon as we entered the complex. It is so wooded, you can see a variety of birds outside the zoo itself




Thousands of Bats on trees - in the afternoon... wish I had taken a video so that you could have heard the racket they were making!


A closer look at some of them


This might be a stork billed Kingfisher, but I am not too sure. If anyone can enlighten me, I will edit this post to include the name of this bird. The same goes for all other birds in all my posts. We sw this one inside the zoo, but it was freely moving all over the area.


A White Breaster Kingfisher.. again free.... not caged.


The Queen of the jungle... in the area assigned to her... not enclosed in a cage, but by a moat full of water...... The King didn't want his photograph taken, and moved away when we approached.


An Emu - one of a pair in a large enclosure...


A Hippo family cooling off in the water....


.. and a lone Rhino doing likewise.....


.. while the deer seek some relief in the shade.


Some more deer.....






A Black Buck


The first Giraffe Samhith has ever seen........


... and the first Zebra too.....


His first view of a porcupine...


.. and the first Ostrich we have both seen... My! Was it big!!!!!


A Leopard...




The Snake House - this was the most dispiriting part of the entire zoo (along with the bird section of course, where I did not take photographs). The sight of the sad looking snakes in the glass enclosures reminded me of the first book in the Harry Potter Series (The Philosopher's stone), where Harry unwittingly releases a snake from its enclosure.... and I wondered what would happen if it really came true!!!!


A pretty butterfly


A view of the museum through the trees


Another entrance to the Napier Museum


The office of the museum complex


Disclaimer: those of you who have been to zoos abroad may not be too impressed by this one, but my comparison is with the zoos in India, most of which are absolutely awful, especially the ones in Bombay. The Mysore and Delhi zoos are the best I have visited so far, and Trivandrum is at least comparable to them.


Comments

  1. The bird you referred doubtfully as "stork billed Kingfisher", is "Black-crowned Night Heron" and "White Breaster Kingfisher" is "White Breasted Kingfisher".

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavantesh

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan