Van Vihar National Park

Central India Tourism


Van Vihar is National Park located adjacent to Upper Lake of Bhopal city at Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is spread over an area of 4.43 sq. km. area and was declared as a National Park in year 1983. Although it is a declared National Park, but on visit you will find it more a Zoological Park. It has been developed and managed as a zoological park in which wild animals were caged in a their natural surrounding. It is a important part of Bhopal local sightseeing.

This land is under strict protection, due to it has now transformed into an island full of greenery surrounded by habitation. Van Vihar serves as green lung for the capital town of Madhya Pradesh. It harbors herbivores like Chital, Sambar, and blue bull under free ranging condition and the animals like tiger, lion, leopard, hyena, crocodile and gharial under captive condition. The landscape of the area has led to the designing of enclosures in a fashion that serves the objective of fostering a positive man-animal relationship. Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has granted recognition to Van Vihar as medium size Zoo during q994. The adjoining upper lake adds immense beauty to the landscape of Van Vihar. The lake enlivens the park particularly when thousands of migratory birds land in the lake at the onset of winter.


The vegetation was in highly degraded condition and belong to southern dry deciduous scrub forests. The main species found here are Bel (Aegle marmelos), Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Babul (Acacia nilotica), Reunjha (Acacia leucophloea), Doodhi (Writea tinctoria), Lendia (Lagerstromia parviflora), Saja (Terminalia alata), Amla (Emblica officinalis), and Tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon). In the closed areas of fodder farm and plantation, different palatable grasses like Chrysopogon fulvus, Themeda triandra, Heteropogon contortus, Dicanthium annulatum, Chloris dolichostachia, etc. are coming up. Hilly portion of Park is heavily infested with Lantana, whereas lower plains with Parthenium and Cassia tora weeds.


Van Vihar NP houses a variety of herbivores and carnivores. While the herbivores are free ranging, the carnivores are housed in large enclosures. The carnivores include tiger, lion (Panthera leo), panther (Panthera pardus), Hyena (Hyaena hyaena), and sloth bear (Melursus ursinus). The albino sloth bear and the white tiger are the star attraction of Van Vihar. The herbivores include sambar (Cervus unicolor), Chital (Axis axis), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), Chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis), Common langur (Presbytis entellus) Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), Wild boar (Sus scrofa), Porcupine (Hystrix indica), Hare (Lepus nigricollis), etc. In addition, the park also houses gharial (Gavialis gangticus), crocodile (Crocodilus palustris), Turtle (Trionyx gangeticus), Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), and python (Python molurus). Tiger, panther and crocodile have bred successfully under captive conditions in the park.


Till now, about two hundred species of birds have been listed in Van Vihar. Large numbers of birds frequent this park, especially during the winter. The migratory waterfowl alight in great numbers in the adjoining extensive wetland of big lake. The upper lake, on the southwestern boundary of Van Vihar is the abode of wide array of avian fauna. More than 40 species of migratory birds visit this area during the winter. The average count may be as much as 20, 000 water birds at a time. Some of the important winter visitors are pintail, spotbill, brahminy duck, gadwall, red crested pochard, barheaded goose, cotton teal, spoonbill, painted stork and purple heron. The aviary inside Van Vihar swarm during the winter with hundreds of winged creatures which is a great attraction for bird watchers. A solitary black necked stork has been regularly sighted for the last two winters. Rare sightings of brown headed stork and black capped kingfisher have also been reported. A pair of white stork, which had no previous sighting records in Bhopal, was seen during the summers of 2001. Apart from this, common pariah kite, great horned owl, Shikra, Marsh harrier, tawny eagle and kestrel are some of the important birds of prey. The scavenger vulture is common in the park especially during the summers. The upper lake of Bhopal has also been included in the IBA (Important Bird Areas) list of Birdlife International coordinated by BNHS.


Van Vihar situated in Bhopal city, adjoining Shyamla Hills area of the city. In order to visit Van Vihar, visitors are required to first reach Bhopal city of Madhya Pradesh. Being a capital city of a state, Bhopal is well connected by all means of transport like train, flight and by road. Van Vihar lies within Bhopal city so it can be reached at any season, with and ease. The park is spread adjacent to Bhopal lake where you can go for visit after paying for entrance ticket.

By Flight:

Bhopal city have its own airport with name "Raja Bhoj Airport" (IATA Code: BHO) which has connectivity with cities like Indore, Mumbai,Delhi, Raipur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad etc. It is about 15 Kms. from city center. Similarly it is connected with other important cities like Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior etc. of state through air-taxi service. And Van Vihar is Just 16 km away to the Airport.
(in Kms)
Indore 200
Pachmarhi 230
Satpura National Park 160
Mandu 280
Ujjain 200
Sanchi 50
Chanderi 250

By Train:

Bhopal city have two main railway stations: Habibganj & Bhopal Junction. Both the stations are well connected by trains. Van Vihar is odd 8 km away to the main railway station of the city; Railways of Bhopal come under West-Central Railway Zone in India. Railway station code for Habibganj is HBJ & Bhopal Junction is BPL. Here Habibganj Railway Station is the first ISO9001:2001 certified railway station of India. City is on the main Delhi-Chennai & Delhi-Mumbai rail track. There are regular express trains to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Gwalior, Jhansi, Ujjain, Sanchi, Indore, Jabalpur, Katni, Chittorgarh, Aurangabad etc. Bhopal is directly connected to Amritsar & Jammu in the North. There is a daily Shatabdi Express via Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi to Bhopal. In case you are not able to find train from Bhopal to any other destination, you may consider Itarsi Junction (Railway code:ET) also for searching the train. It is about 85kms from Bhopal city but has large number of train options for other parts of India.

By3 Road: Regular state roadways buses connect Bhopal with Indore, Ujjain, Pachmari, Khajuraho, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Sanchi, Nagpur, Jaipur. The main bus terminal is at Hamidia road. Taxis can be hired from travel agencies & travel desks at hotels. National Highway-12 connects Bhopal from Jabalpur & Jaipur.Another important National Highway-86 connects Bhopal from Sagar city of Madhya Pradesh. State Highway-17 also connects Bhopal city from other parts of state. Bhopal is well connected by road from nearby tourist destinations like Sanchi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Udaipur, Pachmarhi, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Mandu, Indore, Jabalpur, Chittorgarh, Satpura National Park, Khajuraho, Orchha etc.
Van Vihar is located within Bhopal city, adjoining to Bhopal lake thus is a popular nature tourism place for wildlife & nature lovers. It is popular picnic spot for local citizens who tries to visit this place in holidays and weekends. Here we can find variety of wild animals and birds. Sometimes, it is not possible for visitors or local citizens to visit any nearby national park thus
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