Ranichi Bagh meaning Queen’s Garden is the only zoo located in heart of Mumbai at Byculla. This heritage tourist spot is known by many names like Jijamata Udyan, Victoria Garden, Jijamata Prani Sangrahlay, Byculla Zoo, Ranichi Bagh and Mumbai Zoo. It is one of the oldest zoo and is spaced in 53 acres of land.
For kid’s born in 1980’s and 1990’s, Ranichi bagh was a favorite picnic spot. It used to house many rare and endangered species of animals and birds. With the moto of introducing our LO to different animals and capturing her reaction, we decided to visit Ranichi bagh on a Sunday in June 2016. After early morning breakfast we booked a cab for Byculla. It took around 45 mins for us to reach our destination from Vashi. The cab cost around Rs. 350. After a blissful ride we reached Ranichi bagh at around 11.20 a.m. all set to introduced our LO to a new world of animals and birds.
While inside the zoo:
Car parking: There is ample space inside the zoo for car parking.
Buy tickets: Once you enter the premises of the zoo head towards the ticket house. The rates for the zoo are Rs. 5 for adults and Rs. 2 for kids in the age group of 3 to 12 years. You can carry your camera in the zoo by paying a fare of Rs. 10 for ordinary camera and Rs. 30 for movie camera. The zoo is closed on Wednesday and open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Food: You are not allowed to carry food inside the zoo. Also there are no shops in the zoo premises where you can eat. It would take you around two to three hours or even less to watch the zoo completely.
Watch the animals and birds: Once you enter the zoo you will get to see a green garden with many old trees. At one end of the zoo you will find a small artificial lake created for crocodiles. But there are no crocodiles left in the zoo.
There is a separate section for birds. Again there are very few birds left. You can watch different types of parrots and a white crow. The flamingoes caged with other birds are worth mentioning.
A large piece of land is dedicated to elephants so that they can move around freely. You can stand beside the big wall and watch them comfortably. Similarly large piece of land is allocated for variety of deer’s. Among other animals you will finds few monkeys, ostrich, a python and hippopotamus.
At many places you will find animal’s bulletin boards with empty cage. Many empty cages are broken and in bad shape. There are ample crows and bats on the tall old trees waiting for the night to start.
Botanical garden: Although there are very few birds and animals left in the zoo but as the name indicates it’s a garden and there are many old and lush green trees providing shelter to crows and bats. The zoo has a rich botanical garden with few very rare species of trees.
At one end of garden is a place for kids where they can play and enjoy swing, slides and sea saw. But this too appears very old and some of it is in broken state.
Ranichi bagh – the once favorite tourist destination of Mumbai is now in vary bad shape and need revamp for its survival. Although the municipal corporation has started the revamp process but no work done seems to be visible.
How to reach: Ranichi Bagh is easily reachable by Mumbai local train. The nearest station on central line is Byculla and the Bagh is at a walkable distance from there. On the western line the nearest station is Mumbai central and from there you can hire a taxi which will take about 10 to 15 mins to reach your destination.
Budget: Maximum Rs. 300 (inclusive of travel, ticket)
Who can visit: Everyone right from kids to senior citizens. Even though there are very few animals and birds left to watch but you can still enjoy the garden especially during summer.
Ranchi bagh – the once famous and overcrowded heritage tourist place of Mumbai is now in a poor shape and struggling for survival. With each passing day the count of birds and animals in the zoo is reducing.
Hopefully the revamp process will begin soon and the oldest zoo of Mumbai once again will start to blossom.