Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens or popularly known as Lucknow Zoological Garden (Hindi: लखनऊ चिड़ियाघर, Urdu: لکھنؤ چڑیاگھر Lakhnaū Ciṛiyāghara) is a 71.6-acre (29.0 ha) zoo located in the heart of the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. The Central Zoo Authority of India categorizes it as a large zoo. The Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, was established in the year 1921 to commemorate the visit of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales to Lucknow. The idea of establishing Zoological gardens at Lucknow emanated from Sir Harcourt Butler, the Governor of the State.
The Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, popularly known as Lucknow Zoological Gardens, was established in the year 1921 to commemorate the visit of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales to Lucknow. The idea of establishing Zoological gardens at Lucknow emanated from Sir Harcourt Butler, the then Governor of the State and it was received enthusiastically by the prominent landlords and the leading citizens of the State who donated liberally for the construction of animal houses and cages and also presented animals and birds for display from time to time.
A Committee of management was formed consisting of donors and other prominent citizens. Colonel Fanthorpe, Commissioner of Lucknow was appointed as the first President and Sheikh Maqbool Husain as first Secretary of the Commission. The Committee was registered under the Societies Registration Act on 17 August 1926.
Mr. Lintle Bogla, M.C., and Chief Engineer of the Lucknow Improvement Trust designed the layout of the Zoo along with its buildings and cages. 26 buildings along with cages were constructed at a total cost of Rs. 2,08,800 during the period from 1921 to 1926. The main gate on the Narahi side known as “Sir Ludovic Porter Gate” facing west was constructed in 1936.
In the year 1950, the Managing Committee was dissolved and an Advisory Committee was formed with the Secretary to Govt., U.P., Public Health Department as its Chairman and the Director of Medical & Health Services, Uttar Pradesh as Ex Officio Administrator. In 1966, the administrative control was transferred to the Forest Department and the Advisory Committee was also re-organised with Secretary to Govt., U.P., Forest Department as its Chairman and the Dy. Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning) as Ex-Officio Administrator. From time to time, the reorganisation of the Zoo Advisory Committee was done and presently the new Zoo Advisory Committee, constituted vide Government order No. 1652/14-4-2001-866/93 dated 04-08-2001, is under existence. The new Zoo Advisory Committee consists of the Forest Secretary to the Govt, of Uttar Pradesh as Chairman, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttar Pradesh as Vice Chairman and Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttar Pradesh as Administrator. The Director of the Zoo is the Member Secretary of the newly constituted Zoo Advisory Committee.
The Uttar Pradesh Govt, vide letter No. 1552/14-4-2001-30/90, Van Anubhag-4, dated 4 June 2001, changed the name of “Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens.Trust, Lucknow” to “Lucknow Prani Udyan”.
A Toy train was started in 1969. The rolling stock consisting of engine and two coaches is the gift of Railway Board. The train was inaugurated on the Children’s Day 14 November 1969 by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The track is 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long and has crossings and signals. Rides start from Chandrapuri station and travels to almost every section of the zoo.
The glorious chapter in Lucknow’s history came to an end on Wednesday, 21 November 2013 as the journey of the ‘toy train’ that chugged in the city zoo for the last four decades, came to a halt. The 44–year–old toy train, that carried lakhs on it, was pulled out of service owing to plans of a revamp. The toy train has been parked in front of the state museum in the zoo premises. It was gifted to Lucknow zoo in 1969 by the Railway Board.
The New Toy Train, inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav
A new ‘Shatabdi–look–alike’ four–bogey toy train made by a Noida-based company started operating in the zoo premises on 28 February 2014. The new track alignment laid from 22 November 2013 onwards ensured that the new train could cover the maximum sightseeing area of the zoo.
A British-era train will be an added attraction for visitors to the city zoo. The train was shifted to the zoo from Maharajganj, where it was lying almost discarded. The train belongs to 1924-period and was mainly used for transportation of timber between Ikma and Chauraha over a track of 22.4 kilometres (13.9 mi). In 1978 it was brought over to the forest department for use but being an uneconomical option, it was decided in 1981 that it would be phased out.
State Museum, Lucknow
The Uttar Pradesh State Museum (Timing: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm; Closed on Mondays and certain public holidays) in Lucknow, was earlier situated in the Chattar Manzil and the Lal Baradari. It was shifted during the year 1963 to the new building in Lucknow Zoo (Banarasi Bag or Prince Of Wales Zoological Garden). The initial collection centered around the arts of Avadh and objects related to the customs, habits, mythology and contemporary objects of Awadh, but later on it was expanded to more interesting excavated antiquities from nearby places of Lucknow particularly where Lord Buddha grew up.
Today, the Museum has become a centre of Lucknow’s (Awadh’s) sculpture, bronzes, paintings, natural history & anthropological specimens, coins, textiles and decorative arts. The (1000 BC) Egyptian Mummy and wooden sarcophagusure in the Prince of Wales Zoological Garden (Lucknow Zoo) are a centre of attraction. From the vast number of displayed objects, some hundred are rare and of great value. These include an inscribed wine jar bearing the name of Aurangzeb Alamgir (17th century), a jade chamakali with the name Jahangir and the date 1036 AD, a 16th-century painting of a scene from the Kalpasutra depicting an elephof India. Gradually, it expanded to include excavated antiquities from Piparahawa, Kapilavastu, where the Buddha grew up. Today, this has evolved into a multipurpose museum with sculpture, bronuated in the historic Dhoti Chhattar Manzil and the Lai Baradari. Among other attractions is a modern structant rider and a Jain mum, a 16th-century copy of the Harivansha in Persian with nine illustrations, rare silver and gold coins, a prehistoric anthropomorphic figure and a fossilised plant.