25 Mar 2013

Van Vihar: Weekend Getaway

Bhopal, the city of lakes, is the capital of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the greenest cities in the country, and is dotted with natural and artificial lakes. According to folklore, Bhopal’s name is derived from the name of King Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty, who is said to have founded the city. It is a city that is home to many prestigious institutions as well as educational centres, ISRO’s master control facility and National Institute of Fashion Technology, to name a few. 

In the heart of the city is Van Vihar, a national park that was declared so in 1983. It is approximately four and a half kilometres square in terms of area. Although a national park, Van Vihar resembles a zoo because it was developed and managed as a modern zoological park, following the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. Animals that have been brought from other zoos or orphaned are kept in their near natural habitat. There is a road that passes through the park that visitors are allowed to take to see various animals. Walls have been built and trenches have been dug around the habitat of the animals to keep poachers at bay. 

While carnivores are kept within enclosures, herbivores are allowed to roam free within the park, as they don’t pose as a threat to visitors. The carnivores include tigers, panthers, lions, bears, hyenas, gharial and snakes. Herbivores in Van Vihar national park include cheetal, sambhar, black buck, blue bull and so on. Van Vihar is also known to help preserve animals that are considered endangered species. Besides mammals, there are also about a hundred species of birds that can be found in this national park. 
Alligator at Van Vihar (Photo Courtesy: WikiMedia Commons)
Cheetal (spotted deer) at Van Vihar National Park (Photo Courtesy: WikiMedia Commons)

An ideal time to visit the park is at about four thirty in the evening, when the animals get fed, so there is more chance of seeing them in full view.

Bhopal Flights are easily available for the most part, so you should fly to Bhopal and visit Van Vihar national park for a great time with family or even a day of adventure with friends.