Chhatbir Zoo is situated (2-3 km inside) at Patiala – Chandigarh highway approx. 8-10 km from Patiala-Ambala Highway, Zirakpur. The moment you reach zoo display boards are neatly narrating Zoo Timings, Parking Cost, About Zoo, Entry Fees etc. etc.
Zoo Timings: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
It was Wednesday a working day. Parking area was almost full with cars. I was amazed and happy as well with the visitors attendance. We paid Rs. 5/- for parking our motorbike and Rs. 5/- to deposit helmet. Depositing helmet is not necessary but a thought roaming free hands except having camera is a good idea.
We stop before the entrance to read About Chhatbir Zoo as follows:
Inaugurated on 13th April, 1977 by the then Governor of Punjab, His Excellency Sh. Mahendra Chaudhary, Chattbir zoo is one of the largest zoo of India. The zoo is spread over an area of 202 hectares (505 acre) and lies in the Protected Forest area of Chhatbir, once a hunting reserve of Maharaja of Patiala.
Zoo Holidays: All Mondays, 15th August, 26th January and 2nd October
Entry Fees for Adults: Rs. 40/- per person. Camera charges extra.
(Wheelchair is available for Handicapped Visitors)
Zoo manners another interesting display board requesting to speak softly, do not feed and keep the area smoking-free. Appreciated. More further I walk another display i.e., Guide map – must watch to know before continuing walking though there is Ferry vehicle facility also available by paying Rs. 50/- per adult but we decided to walk because personally I find walking the best way to know more to watch more.. Directions are well-defined to follow so that there is no confusion in this vast area.
The Royal Bengal Tiger is one of the five sub-species distributed through Asia. Today shrinking tiger number and habitat are major conservation issue. 100 years ago approximately one lakh tigers were roaming in the world, but now only 4% of the same are left. Let us conserve the Tigers.
Next I was watching Royal Bengal Tiger. What a feeling.. He was trying to watch inside a window. Someone was there on the other side. Maybe a Tigress or a Tiger friend – not sure.
Further walking and a display requesting to adopt an animal monthly or yearly to show support for wildlife conservation. Great.
Next little far I saw White Tiger sitting on a makeshift à¤®à¤šà¤¾à¤¨ (scaffold). I thought it is a dummy one but no it is real. White tiger is another favorite. We all love watching Tiger. Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan another great location to watch Tigers.
Wild Boar, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Hyaena and finally we reach the location – Lion safari.
Rs. 50/- per person for a van ride into the area where Lion roam freely instead of living in cage. Wow.. I was waiting for this specially because I have yet to visit Gir sanctuary in Gujarat.
Two tickets purchased. We were about to board the van storm arrived with showers. We decided to wait – skipped the current van. Next van when the storm was over we decided to go. We were only two visitors at that time inside the van along with the driver of the van and a zoo staff.
The van enters. The moment van move forward over pitch road inside the safari area we were in front of a lioness walking straight towards our van. Interesting. Not a single thought of fear was there instead of lots of excitement. She came close and left the path. The van move further but suddenly the zoo staff saw the lioness chasing our van. Now what?
Nothing. The van driver kept driving and within few seconds she left chasing the van. Little fear was there for sure to be honest. The van took a complete circle inside the safari via well made pitch road and stop for few seconds too to locate Lion – male but failed. Maybe because of recent rain they must be hiding under bushes – said the van driver. There are two Lions and one Lioness – He said. Anyway, we returned safely and had a good time.
After Lion safari we had veg. patties and a cup of coffee. We were hungry. There are two canteens inside the zoo if I am correct.
In-short if you are visiting Chhatbir zoo do not miss Lion safari because rarely inside a zoo one will find such attraction. I thoroughly enjoyed safari. After Lion safari we watched more wild animals, birds such as Jackal, Leopard, Barking Deer, Sarus Crane, Golden Pheasant, White Indian Peafowl (another great attraction specially because first time I saw white), Zebra, Indian Bison, Goral and many more.. Very interesting zoo for sure specially Lion safari. You should visit.