The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, popularly known as Darjeeling Zoo, was established in 1958 and is located at the Birch Hill area, which is now known as Jawahar Parvat. The Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the largest high-altitude zoos in India - at an average elevation of 7000 feet.
The Park is home to many animals such as the snow leopard, Himalayan bear, red panda, Himalayan wolf, Siberian tigers, yaks, sambar deer, blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, barking deer, goral and musk deer, and many more; almost all the high- altitude animals can be seen here. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf, and the red panda.
The Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the best zoos in the world, and it is also the first zoo in India to receive the prestigious international award “The Earth Heroes” in the year 2014. The award recognises the Zoo's excellent efforts in conserving Himalayan animals along with plantations while specializing in breeding animals that are used to alpine conditions.
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has over 200 species of trees and plants, shrubs, medicinal plants, climbers, etc. There are almost 60 varieties of orchids, and some trees are over 100 years old. As you keep exploring the zoo, you will see different kinds of birds like rose ring parakeets, ring-necked pheasants, blue gold macaw, hill mynas, and many more.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Inside the Park is the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, which was established in 1954. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India. The Park is open daily except for Thursday; usually, during summertime, the park opens from 8:30 am in the morning and closes at 4:30 pm, and during the winter season, it opens at 8:30 am in the morning and closes at 4:00 pm. The entry ticket is INR 60.00 per person, and it is a combined ticket for both the zoo and HMI Institute. It is one of the must-visit places in Darjeeling.