Kanan means '"garden of pleasure", and this combination of zoo,
botanical garden and sanctuary 20 km from Bhubaneswar, in the splendid
environs of the Chandaka Forest, along the rippling waters of the Kanjia
lake, fits the description.
The zoo has created history in many ways. In 1967, a wild female tiger
approached Nandan Kanan, and scaling a high fence, she crept around
until she found the tiger enclosure. She then climbed up a concrete
wall, and leapt down into the enclosure, thus perhaps becoming the only
wild animal in existence who has ever opted to join in a zoo. In
commenting on this rare occasion, the National Geographic magazine
pointed out that Orissa must be the only place in the world with enough
sophistication to have a modern, well designed zoo, and enough tigers to
stock it by voluntary membership!
Nandan Kanan also has the distinction of the first captive-breeding
center for gharial crocodiles, a task facilitated by the gift of an
adult male by the Frankfurt Zoo. The zoo has also given a new lease of
life to one of the rarest creatures of the world - the white tiger, with
important research and concerted efforts on to breed them in the natural
environs of Nandan Kanan. This regal animal first came to Nandan Kanan
in 1980 when the first litter of white tigers were born to Deepak and
Ganga, two normal tawny tigers. Subsequent litters of white tigers have
been distributed to Zoo's both in India as well as abroad. Currently
Nandan Kanan has one of the largest collections in the world with over
34 white tigers.
In addition to the white tigers, endangered species such
as the Asiatic Lion, three Indian crocodilians, sanghai, lion tailed
macaque, Nilgiri langur, Indian pangolin, mouse deer and countless
birds, reptiles, and fish have been breeding successfully here. There is
also a successful Black Panther breeding programme. In all, over 67
kinds of mammals, 18 varieties of reptiles and 81 species of birds
co-exist in the deeply forested boundaries of Nandan Kanan.
The 34 aquaria, which are home to a large variety of freshwater fish,
and the Reptile park, home to numerous species of crocodiles, lizards,
turtles and snakes, which is guarded by the image of a life sized
Tyrannosaurus Rex, are perpetual crowd-pullers. Safaris for viewing the
white tigers and lions in the natural habitat in specially designed
protected buses are added attractions. The rope-way connecting the Zoo
with the Botanical Gardens over the lake, the boating facilities, the
Lion Safari ( a wide stretch of open ground infested with Lions where
the visitors get to see them in their natural habitat) and the toy
train for children have added new feathers to Nandan Kanan's cap,
making it a hot family favourite.
Nandan Kanan, with its Zoo, the beautiful Botanical Gardens, the lake,
nature trails and facilities for amusement, is a definite must for all
visitors to Orissa.
How to Reach
Nandankanan 20Km from Bhubneshwar
Picturesquely carved out of the Chandaka forest
Nandankanan is a Biological
Park where animals are kept in their natural habitat. A centrally
located lake divides the Zoo from the Botanical Gardens. Tigers, Lions,
Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, European Brown Bear, Himalayan Black
Bear, Gharials, Rosy Pelican, Grey Pelican, Indian Python, King Cobra,
etc. are among the attractions of the zoo, which is famous for its White
Tigers. The exotic Botanical Garden on the other side of the zoo
preserves varieties of indigenous plants. Regular bus services are
available to reach the place.