Thrissur Zoo & Museum is located right at the heart of Thrissur (Trichur) city at a place called Chembukavu. It is at a walking distance from the famous "Thrissur round" (one of the longest inner ring roads in India) and the famous Vadakkunnathan temple. Thrissur zoo is small, but the Museum houses a large number of historic items such as swords, jewellery, rocks, stuffed butterflies etc. There is also a small snake park inside the zoo.
Thrissur zoo started functioning sometime in 1885 and covers over 5 acres of land. Housing complexes and colonies are located right next to the zoo.
We reached the zoo around 12PM on a Friday and it wasn’t very crowded. The zoo is open from 9am to 6:30pm while the museum is open from 10am to 5pm. It is closed during Mondays and the museum is closed till 1PM on Wednesdays. We stood at the entrance for few minutes and saw a steady stream of autorickshaws carrying tourists to the zoo.
When you enter the zoo, you can see the "multi purpose museum" in front of you. A huge elephant skeleton will welcome you at the museum. There is no entrance fee for the museum. Photography is not allowed inside the museum. If you are even slightly interested in history, you are sure to spend hours at this museum. It has a good collection of ancient stuff like swords and weapons.
From this village 200 men went to the great war 1914-1919
The ticket counter for the zoo is located on the left side of the entrance. You can expect a big queue during holidays. Like every other government institution in India, efficiency is the last priority.
The animal cages are numbered with signs (see right) so if you follow them you won’t miss anything. There isn’t much free space in the zoo and during peak times you won’t find any place to relax. It is high time that the zoo is moved out of the city centre. The vacant space can then be used for a larger museum and a park.
One of the interesting things about Thrissur zoo is the types of owls on display. I am always fascinated by them. Many people consider it to be a bad omen to see an owl in their property. It is said that owl presence can lead to diseases in children! I am usually excited to find one in my garden.
Photographing animals at zoo is difficult due to the cage grills blocking the view. You have to press the camera against the cage to get a good shot. Yet, it offers a gold mine to photograph animals. If you spend enough time at the zoo, you can get interesting photos. But I was in a hurry. The Mithun bull pictured above right was a strange sight.
Towards the rear of the zoo there is an art gallery. This is one of the worst art galleries I have seen in a while. Everything inside it needs maintenance. I suggest avoiding the art gallery if you are pressed for time. You can also see the lack of maintenance across the zoo (see middle picture above).
While photographing I happened to overhear some interesting conversation between locals. One of them was claiming that food allotted for animals were hardly given to them and that is why animals looked tired and hungry. His friend pointed out that there are still food inside cages. Then the other one claimed that the food was laced with kerosene and animals won’t eat them. I am not sure whether this rumour is correct, but even thinking along that lines shows how greedy humans can be!
Interestingly there is a public road across the zoo which separates the zoo into two! To reach the rear section, you need to cross an over bridge across the road (see the last picture above and the first picture below).
On the way to Hippopotamus cage we spotted a Nagalinga tree(Cannonball tree). It was a large tree with fruits resembling cannon balls (just my guess :-)). Don’t stand right under it as the falling fruit can cause injury. I was seeing this tree for the first time.
At the end of the zoo there is a big pool for Hippopotamus. We could see one of them doing circus in the water pool. On the other side is a large natural pool with crocodiles in it. We could spot one of them and wasn’t sure whether it is a live one or a statue!
Just before the exit you will come across a small snake park and there is no entry fee here. I was disappointed when I saw that there was only one or two species of snakes on display. I could only see Cobra, Python and a type of sand snake.
Verdict : Forget about the zoo, art gallery and the snake park. Just visit the museum alone if are in Thrissur for any reason. It is worth a visit and be ready to spend a couple of hours here.
January 1, 2009 | Posted in Travel Reviews No Comments » | By Jayson Joseph