Perched atop a hill near the beautiful Upper Lake, Van Vihar is an open zoological park that houses huge enclosures where animals like lion, tiger, bear, panther and hyena are kept. The carnivores are kept safely away from humans, but herbivores like blackbuck and cheetal are allowed to freely move around. While birds fill the air with incessant chirping, you can spot crocodiles and tortoises basking in the sun. A major attraction in Van Vihar is the reptile unit, where you can find snakes like python, Russel's viper and cobra. There is a special section dedicated to a variety of insects and butterflies as well. Since the park lies in close proximity to the Upper Lake, it plays host to migratory birds in winters. Van Vihar is an idyllic place to experience wildlife at close quarters. The park is best explored in a car or on a bike, and both are available for hire.


The park is spread over an area of 445 hectare. It was formed from an area of depleted forest to restore the land to its former glory and protect the native flora and fauna. Van Vihar was declared as a national park in 1981 under the Wildlife Protection Act. It is open to visitors all year round, even during the monsoons, when most of the other Indian national parks close their gates.

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