Nandankanan: Amidst the natural beauty of natural forest adjacent to Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary, Nandankanan lies in the vicinity of Kanjia lake. This site covers a portion of Krishnanagar and Jujhagarh Demarcated Protected Forests (DPF) and close to Baranga Railway station on Howrah-Chennai route. Geographically it is located between 200 23′ 08″ to 200 24′ 10″ North latitude and 850 48′ 09″ to 850 48′ 13″ East longitude (Survey of India Toposheet No. 73 H/15-NW).
The very name of “Nandankanan”, in mythology, delineates the ecstatic but imaginary beauty of the celestial garden. It also indicates the real beautiful spots par excellence on earth, where one can see the panoramic views of nature and appreciate the glamour that exists in the external morphology of plants and animals.
The zoo is enriched with 101 enclosures with 202 sub-enclosures at Nandankanan. It has the significance of having both the cages and open moat enclosures. There are 54 cages and 47 open moated enclosures to house all the captive animals of Nandankanan. It has the glory of having 126 species of animals which includes 40 spp. mammals, 56 spp. birds and 24 spp. reptiles. Nandankanan has huge number of animal collections. There are more than 1580 no animals, including 634 mammals, 812 birds and 134 reptiles. Eighty eight (88) species of indigenous species along with 32 exotic species of animals add glory to the collection of Nandankanan Zoological Park. The animal collection includes 15 spp of endangered mammals, -6 spp of endangered birds and 10 spp of endangered reptiles listed in Schedule I of WPA, 1972.
Nandankanan has created its unique place for successful captive breeding of endangered Gharials in 1980. Birth of white tiger from normal coloured tigers has given a special place to Nandankanan over the world as one of the major host zoo for the white tigers. The other significant breeding success of Nandankanan includes Indian pangolin (1971), Mouse deer (1972), Malayan Giant squirrel (1974), Sloth bear (1978), Mugger (1982), Himalayan Black bear (1982), Lion-tailed Macaque (1983), Brow-antlered deer (1984), Salt water crocodile (1985), Indian porcupine (1986), White necked stork (1986), Caiman crocodile (1990), Water monitor lizard (1996), Swamp deer (1998), Chimpanzee (1999), Grey heron (2000) and Siamese crocodile (2010), ratel 2012and many free living animals including Open billed storks.
Special in Nandankanan:
Boating on paddle or row boats in the blue water of Kanjia Lake is an exhilarating experience.Boating through Kanjia Lake is also known for its rich floral and faunal diversity and is declared as a Wetland of National Ompotance by Govt. of India.
White Tiger Safari:
Nandankana is the first zoo in India witha white tiger safari.It provides unique situation where the visitors are confined in a vehicle and the animals roam in the open jungle.
A twenty-minute drive through the meandering roads crisscrossing the natural forest in a special protected vehicle takes the visitors straight into the prode of liaon in the lion safari.
The Herbivore Safari houses Barking deer, Spotted Deer, Sambars, Four horned antelope, Wild Boar, Jungle Fowls, Peafowls etc.
24 species of reptiles including crocodiles, lizards, turtles and snakes are therer in reptil park. One would encounter crocodiles, king cobras and huge reticulated python inside the reptile park.
Open Top Leopard Enclosure:
Nandankanan is one among very few in the country which attempts to exihibit this species ina large neutralistic enclosure which is open to the sky.
Kanjia lake popularly known as Nandankanan lake is situated between 85° 48’ to 85° 50’ East longitudes and between 20° 23’ to 20° 25’ North latitudes spreads over an area of 105 ha. The water spread area of main lake is 75 ha, where as about 30 ha is now separated by a road, which gets connected during monsoon. It is an important wetland lying to the south of Mahanadi delta head, within the boundary of Nandankanan Zoological Park. The zoological park remains in the south side of the lake where as the Botanical garden is situated in the north side of the lake. At the same time, it has got immense socioeconomic value as the fishermen from the local village derive their livelihood. Kanjia lake has been declared as a “Wetland of National Importance” by MoEF, Govt. of India since 2006.
It is a home for many local migratory birds of our State. More than 37 species of birds have been recorded from the lake ecosystem.
Besides, 20 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, 46 species of fishes and 3 species of prawns have been recorded so far. The floral composition of the lake ecosystem is consisting of 10 species of sub-merged macrophytes, 14 species of floating macrophytes and 24 species of emergent macrophytes.
The State Botanical Garden spread over 173 acres, is situated in the sylvan settings of the moist deciduous forest of the sprawling green Nandankanan Sanctuary hammed between two wetlands Kanjia lake & Kiakani lake. It was established in the year 1963, on the edge of bustling capit
al city of Bhubaneswar at a distance of 18 kilometers, at Latitude of 20 24 15 N and Longitude of 85 49 30 E, 40 meters above MSL. One would be definitely impressed by the nature’s symphony and impressed by the exquisite touch of the wilderness here. Here the time ought to pass under the name of calmness. When one look around, he would have the sweet illusion of the rolling landscape being captured in the frame of a scroll. One can enjoy the changing colours of the seasons here . This is one of the pioneering conservation and nature education center of the state. The botanical garden is sure to provide green enthusiasts with memorable experiences.