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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

A Photo Walk through Mysore Zoo

What can I say about the Mysore zoo that hasn’t already been said before? There is no doubt that it is among the best zoos in India – one that actually makes you want to visit again… and again. So inviting in fact, that on our summer trip to Mysore, we visited the zoo twice!

And having done that, the least I can do, is give you a photo tour…

The first time we visited, we were early, and Samhith was thrilled that he was the first to enter the zoo that day! That by itself should have been enough to make this trip memorable, but the first thing we saw was a peacock, gaily dancing, its feathers spread, not inside a cage, but out in the open, near the giraffe enclosure! We knew then, that this would be a memorable trip!

Being so early, we had the choice of taking the electric car, but for once, my son was eager to walk. The chap who complains at the slightest of difficulties, walked in the hot May sun, over 4 Km of the zoo’s path, for almost 5 hours without a single word of protest. That should tell you what we thought of the zoo!

We rushed through the bird cages, sparing just a glance to the less known ones. It was the animals which excited him. The Tapir was hiding in the shade when we arrived, but kiddo waited patiently, searching for him, and eventually, we did manage more than just a glimpse.

The giraffes drew him again and again… and he wondered… they were obviously well fed and cared for. But were they happy, so far from their home?

The tiger obliged us with a sight too, pacing menacingly in its enclosure for quite a while.

The Hamadryas Baboon was sitting happily under a hut like structure, and Samhith was fascinated by the sight of the ape.

The other apes were late risers, and we missed them the first time, but we made up for it on the second visit, spending quite some time watching them watching us.

The Gorilla simply sat and watched the crowds watching him

The Lion-Tailed Macaque's eyes seemed to bore through the people..

And the chimp, with the blade of grass in his mouth, looked most human.  

Here, in the ape enclosure, seeing people try to get the apes to move, I couldn't help thinking that the apes were the well behaved ones here, while the humans behaved liked monkeys!

The Rhinoceros seemed least bothered about the people gaping, and chewed grass so peacefully…

The Cheetah was among the few animals placed within a glass enclosed structure, but it still had enough space to run around. Seeing it run absolutely fascinated us…yes, even me.

Seeing a Zebra for the first time was just as exciting.

An Indian Grey wolf stared balefully at us….

And spotting the Hyena was more difficult than we thought.

I have yet to spot a wild dog or Dhole in the wild, but hopefully seeing these in the zoo will change our luck…

Deer are the only animals we have seen in the wild. But the sheer variety of deer was a surprise!

The Meerkat was a big surprise too. It stood up and posed for a bit, and then disappeared into a hole.

We searched in vain for the Otter, the first time round. The second time, at least we got a sight, but it was fast asleep.

Samhith decided that the Jaguar was his favourite animal. It was way more menacing than either the tiger, or the cheetah, at least according to him. On our first visit, the jaguar was idling in his cage…….

But, on our second visit, he rose to the occasion, and decided to make out with his mate, which only served to assure Samhith that indeed the Jaguar deserved to be his favourite!

We weren't too impressed by the elephants. They seemed too sad, Samhith said. 

And the lions didn't impress either, since we had a close encounter with them in the wild...

There was a huge crowd watching the Wallaby, so we took a quick look and left.

The snakes had just as many admirers, if not more, but a little patience paid off, and we got to see them in peace. As for the other reptiles, the tortoises were all over the place, but the monitor lizard was an elusive one, who really made us look all over the enclosure!

What we assumed at first to be a Gaur, turned out to be an African Buffalo

And then we saw the crocodiles, marvelling at just how many varieties there were.

Entering the bird enclosure, we were so thrilled to see that it was a walk-in aviary. There is nothing as pitiful as seeing birds in a cage. An aviary is better, but seeing them through the net isn’t a great sight either. The walk- in aviary, especially for the water birds is a wonderful idea, and I hope they can implement something similar for the other birds too.

A variety of water birds... 

A view of the walk-in aviary

We had been in the zoo for hours already, and hunger and tiredness were catching up with us. Stopping just for a while to see the ostriches, emus and cassowaries, we headed to the exit.

But we were not done yet. All over the zoo we had seen boards about adopting animals, and we decided to find out just how much it cost to adopt one. It came as a pleasant surprise to hear that there was something for every pocket, so to speak, and thus we eventually settled on a Russell Viper. Yes, Samhith did want to adopt the Jaguar, but it was way over our budget!

And that is how we ended our tour of the zoo – walking in the first visitors of the day, walking out, proud parents of a Russell Viper, with hours of enjoyment behind us. Any surprise now that we visited the zoo again, just three days later, and spent just as much time there?


  • You can also book tickets online, and, if you are going to be visiting on holidays, believe me, you will be happy to avail of this, when you see the long queues outside the zoo even before it opens!
  • If, like Samhith, you are interested in adopting animals, you can do it through the website too. You might want to check it out before you visit, because they then send you a certificate of adoption, as well as free entry passes for your family.
  • Finally, when you visit, please do follow the rules and regulations of the zoo. They are trying their best to keep the animals happy and safe, and the place clean and environment - friendly. Please help them out by not littering, trying to rouse the animals, or making loud noises which disturbs everyone, visitors and inmates equally. 


  1. So many animals at one go and so many big cats!

    1. Yes, Mridula! thats one of the reasons why Samhith was so happy! and why we spent more than 5 hours there!

    2. Yes, Mridula. That was one of the reasons Samhith enjoyed himself so much! and also why we spent more than 5 hours without even being aware of the time!

  2. This is one of the best zoos in India, at least among those which all I have visited. Photos are very nice Anu, hope your wanderings are getting paid in terms of appreciations and recognitions :)

    1. Absolutely, Saurabh! its probably the best zoo in India. As to the appreciations and recognitions, well, you know how it is. my wanderings and writing are certainly giving me a lot of pleasure, but thats about all :D


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