Arignar Anna Zoological Park is situated at Vandalur which is 32 Km away from the metropolitan city of Chennai. It was the first zoo in India, founded in 1855. Currently, it is the largest zoological park of the country. This place also serves as rescue and rehabilitation center for animals.
I’ve heard a lot about this zoo from Masood. The university he went to was close to the zoo, so close in fact that the students could hear the lion roar very clearly! A narrow two-way road is what separates the walls of the university and the zoo. But the thing is, neither Masood nor his friends ever visited the zoo while they were attending university. In fact, they used to make fun of people who came from distant cities to visit the animals. Little did Masood know then that one day his own wife will bring him to that same zoo!
I had my first meal in Chennai here, at the zoo cafeteria. We arrived in the city around 11 am, and it had been crazy until we left that evening. The auto rickshaw driver kept asking, “Sir, you go airport? I bring you airport.” To which, to my complete amazement, Masood replied in Tamil (the local dialect) that we were going to a hotel. I didn’t know Masood could speak Tamil! What’s more amazing was that the driver understood him!
The zoo was a long drive away from where we stayed at, so after washing up and changing clothes, we took a bus to Vandalur. How we managed to reach the bus stop is another painful story that I wish not recall at the moment. Needless to say, it’s very difficult to be in this city unless you speak (and read) Tamil. And that’s how we ended up having the first meal of the day in a zoo at 3 pm, where a staff stood next to me, waiting for me to finish my fried rice so that he could take the plate away.
I couldn’t help but take the picture shown above, because this is how people usually take pictures in a zoo. There’s a couple of animals in an enclosure, a group of people standing in front, and a person who holds out a camera and makes sure the shot includes everyone. That is not wrong, of course. Except that when you go through their pictures, they all look the same. Next time you go to a zoo, try interesting compositions. I took my tips from here.
There’s this annoying wire near the Indian Bison’s mouth, but since I do not know my way around Photoshop yet, I do not have the patience to sit and edit it out. I had a lot of fun experimenting with the 70-300 mm lens that I took with me. I used the tripod in some shots. And this was my first attempt at zoo photography.
On our way out, a young boy pointed at Nikon (and the long lens plus hood attached to it) and told his friend with great excitement, “Look! That’s a zoo camera!”