A couple of weeks ago I visited Bhopal for the first time, and was blown away by the “zoo”. I use the quotation marks advisedly, because Bhopal Zoo is not at all a zoo in the conventional sense of the word.
It is actually a National Park within the city, situated next to Upper Lake, a magnet for birdlife.
We visited Van Vihar early in the morning, where I bored The Husband witless by muttering non-stop “I wish we had somewhere like this in Delhi…I’d run there every day…I wish we had access to somewhere like this…we could walk there every day” because, dear reader, that is what the lucky Bhopali folk can do. For just Rs20 admission, they can go into the stunning Van Vihar National Park and run or walk or cycle. Which is what people were doing the morning we visited. I saw a runner swerve round a big fat wild boar that was snuffling around looking for food, and we were startled by a nilgai in the trees just next to us. Too fabulous.
So when my friend Aly Rashid, who divides his time between Bhopal and his jungle lodges, told me he went for a run this morning in Van Vihar, I could imagine how fabulous it must have been.
Here are just a couple of his photos:
What is exceptional about Van Vihar is that the non-dangerous animals roam free – like the sambar deer Aly spotted. He told me that he didn’t include photos of the tiger he saw, because it is in an enclosure.
Fair enough 🙂
I’m really looking forward to future updates from Aly, as he runs through this very special place.
Thanks my friend.
And here’s a link to my review of Van Vihar.
Spoiler alert – it’s a very favourable review!