Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
A zoo was established on 14 August 1958 in the Birch Hill neighbourhood of Darjeeling under the Department of Education of the Govwenment of West Bengal with a goal to study and preserve Himalayan fauna. Its first Director and founder was Dilip Kumar Dey. Mr. Dey, who belonged to the Indian Forest Service was on deputation to the Department of Education for the express purpose of establishing a high-altitude zoological park specializing mainly in Himalayan Flora and fauna. The park’s prized possessions were a pair of Siberain (Ussuri) tiger presented to the Government of India by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1960. Over the years famous names in the world of Conservation have been attracted to and have visited the HZP. The zoo now contains endangered animals like snow leopards, pandas, gorals (mountain goat), Siberian tigers and a variety of endangered birds. However, there has been concern regarding the fact that the Himalayan animals may face a threat due to rising temperatures in the hilly area.
In January 1972, the park became a registered society, with an agreement that maintenance costs would be shared by the central and state governments. In May 1993, the park was transferred to the West Bengal Department of Forests. The park was renamed in 1975 when Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, visited the park and dedicated it to the memory of Padmaja Naidu
How to Reach:
Bagdogra, 90 K.M. (via NH 110) away from Darjeeling, is the nearest airport connected by flights from major cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.
Apart from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station (88 K.M. from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station) the two closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. These railway stations have direct railway connections with Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, and other major cities of India.
The major access to Darjeeling by road is via Siliguri, 77 K.M. (via NH 55), which is connected to all the major cities of India. Bus service is available from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand, Siliguri. Smaller vehicles are also available on seat-sharing/ hire from airport, railway station, motor syndicates / police motor stand. Facility of Pre-paid taxi stand from NJP Railway station & Bagdogra airport can also be availed. The four routes that one can opt from Siliguri to reach Darjeeling are: i) Tindharia – Kurseong route ii) Dudhiya – Mirik route iii) Rohini route iv) Pankhabari