“Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world dull-eyed, underwhelmed... I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all... I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet...
It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters... It had gotten to the point where it seems like nothing matters, because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else.
– Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”
|Chill out zone - Bannerghatta National Park|
Established in the year 1971, Bannerghatta Biological Reserve and National Zoological Park is unarguably one of the most well-renowned weekend getaways from the endless landlocked cement-and-glass agglomeration that is Bangalore, the glorified IT hub of India shining. Located on the perennially overcrowded Bannerghatta Road past the glittering glimmering offices of IBM, Adobe and Oracle and the massive sprawling campus of IIM-Bangalore, the gargantuan national park is a beautiful landscaped home to several species of flora and fauna, especially an immense variety of turtle species of affably unique shell designs, textures and hues (some might however argue it's a merciless jail considering that most of the larger animals are restless submissive captives constrained within several layers of thick wire mesh enclosures). Seamlessly managed by the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Government of India, the University of Agricultural Sciences (Bangalore), and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), the colossal wildlife reserve is conspicuously partitioned into several divisions, including a wildlife safari park, a zoological reserve, aquariums and reptile and butterfly conservation enclosures – in fact, so enormous is the densely vegetated area contiguous with the 25,000 acre national park that it incredibly assimilates six villages in their entirety within its enclosing peripheries with another sixteen flanking it and naturally doubles up as an elephant corridor effortlessly connecting far-flung forestlands easily stretching several hundred kilometers!
|Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide?|
And while the wildlife safari turns the tables on the captive-captor relationship by entrusting enthusiastic visitors to the care of the confines of a well-barricaded jeep/bus while traversing the big-mammal territories of lions, tigers, deer, bears and elephants, the less talked about and considerably smaller (but nonetheless ceaselessly swarming with visitors) zoological park too is impeccably well-maintained and lets visitors observe and photograph several species of creepy crawly reptiles (fidgety Russel’s vipers, agitated monitor lizards (tasting the air with their long forked tongues), satiated boa constrictors (with huge lumps of deceased prey swallowed in its entirety showing through their thick scaled skins)), slothful amphibians (an endless array of multi-patterned turtles and scores of huge crocodiles stretched out lethargically basking in the afternoon sun), mammals (threatening tigers, obese hippopotamuses, bored leopards, confused elephants (inhumanely chained and thoughtlessly emotionally-brutalized by the endless swarms of boisterous visitors!), supplicating sloth bears (ferociously clawing the supple wire enclosures as if beseeching to be let out)) and birds (agile albino peacocks, vibrantly colorful parakeets, brilliant orange hornbills, and several species of ironically unwashed-looking waterbirds (fishing the murky waters for delectable prey and grub)).
|Wonders of wonders|
Interspersed by thick clusters of bamboo clumps, several of the animal enclosures are designed to exemplify animal conservation and well-being practices and spontaneously invoke the visual appearances of assiduously maintained near-natural habitats – densely vegetated stretches crisscrossed by numerous wide water channels for the monitor lizards, vast grassy knolls punctured by well-camouflaged caves for the leopards and deep, dark green water tanks continuously being bombarded by explosive waterfalls for the hippopotamuses. Permeating through the air is the all-pervading whiff of unevenly textured earth and dry grass and water runoff accumulating in the mud, altogether a pleasing fragrance endeavoring to draw one to the primeval simplicity interminably associated with Mother Earth and wildlife and a long forgotten pre-evolutionary past; unanticipated, it also does render one uncontrollably languid.
We foolishly did not opt for the more exotic safari managed by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) since there (arguably!) were other prior commitments to be kept. Some colleagues from IBM however who did afterwards go for it could not stop gushing and repeatedly referring to it as a fascinating experience – it unquestionably does present better photography and visual composition avenues vis-a-vis the zoo where the thickset wiremesh enclosures and the substantial distances maintained between human walkways and animal territories negate all attempts at clicking high clarity and resolution photographs rendering one wretchedly and inconsolably disappointed at one’s own failure and the zoo authorities’ unintentional duplicity. There comes a depressing moment when the animals do not even seem physically real creatures whose brethren are being murdered and natural habitats ruthlessly threatened by merciless and avaricious human interventions.
|Too distant to be properly observed, admired and photographed!|
Nonetheless, the ecologically-rich zoological park is not merely an excellent retreat from the everyday inconsequential monotony of city life, but also a highly educational, diversely landscaped site teeming with an outstanding assortment of flora and fauna, especially considering its close vicinity to a burgeoning cosmopolitan stretching through its geographical limits and avariciously envisioning to quickly incorporate within its own physical existence every single open space adjoining it and sacrifice the same at the malevolent altar of rootless urbanization and soul-corrupting commercialization till all that remains is a horrific mushrooming of glass-and-cement superstructures that are not merely overwhelmingly ecologically disastrous but also visual eyesores dominating the verdant landscape. If only Bannerghatta was properly maintained and considerate to the physical and emotional requirements of the animals whose humble cause it pontifically claims to espouse!
|Basking in the glory|
Open: 9 am – 5 pm, all days except Tuesdays
How to reach: Regular BMTC buses ply to the national park from Majestic (Kempegowda Bus stop, Bus no. 365), K.R. Market (Bus no. 366) and Shivajinagar (Bus no. 368).
Entrance fees: Indians and visitors from SAARC countries: Grand wildlife safari (inclusive of zoological park cost): Rs 260; Zoological park: Rs 80; Butterfly conservatory: Rs 30; Zoo museum: Rs 5
Children aged 6-12 years: Grand wildlife safari (inclusive of zoological park cost): Rs 130; Zoological park: Rs 40; Butterfly conservatory: Rs 20; Zoo museum: Rs 5
Senior citizens: Grand wildlife safari (inclusive of zoological park cost): Rs 150; Zoological park: Rs 50; Butterfly conservatory: Rs 20; Zoo museum: Rs 5
Visitors from non-SAARC countries: Adults: Rs 400, Children: Rs 300 (inclusive of wildlife safari, zoological park, butterfly conservatory and zoo museum)
Photography charges: Rs 25
Video charges: Rs 200
Facilities available: Hygienic toilets and drinking water kiosk facilities, audio guides, dedicated parking (charges applicable), shopping complexes, regular to-and-fro local bus service from the city, numerous eateries offering several fares including continental and south Indian, boating facilities (Rs 60/person for 30 minutes).
Relevant links -
Other monuments/landmarks located in Bangalore -
- Pixelated Memories - Bangalore Fort
- Pixelated Memories - Bangalore Palace
- Pixelated Memories - Jama Masjid and Dargah Hazrat Bahadur Khan Shaheed
- Pixelated Memories - Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens
- Pixelated Memories - Panchalingeshwara Naganatheshwara Temple
- Pixelated Memories - Sir Puttanachetty Town Hall
- Pixelated Memories - Tipu Sultan's Palace and Kote Venkataramana Temple
Other national parks documented on this blog -
Suggested reading -
- Bannerghattabiologicalpark.org (Official website of the national park)
- Theeternaltruth.wordpress.com - Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru: Travel review
- Wikipedia.org - Bannerghatta National Park