Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dabble in a rabble of butterflies

A peaceful oasis replete with mini waterfalls, lush foliage and filtered sunlight is the charming setting for vibrantly-hued butterflies that flutter around in the Butterfly Park at Bannerghatta Zoo.

India’s first butterfly park, inaugurated in 2006, boasts of 25 species of the winged beauties including the Blue Mormon, Common Coaster, Crimson Rose, Cabbage White and Red Pierrot. The butterflies found in the park are of various species belonging mostly to the superfamily of Swallowtails (Papilionoidea), called so because of the presence of a forked tail in the butterflies which resembles that of a swallow.

The butterfly park is spread over 7.5 acres of land, consisting of a butterfly conservatory, museum as well as an audio-visual room and makes for a delightful climax to Bannerghatta’s rather tame animal safari. An entry ticket costs as little as Rs.10.

Carefully selected shrubs and plants that attract butterflies have been planted in the conservatory which is a 10,000 sq. ft. circular polycarbonate dome. The temperature and humidity controlled environment has little pathways crisscrossing the shrubbery, and miniature bridges lead across bubbling streams of water. Guides appointed at the Butterfly Park are knowledgeable and helpful, often helping amateur photographers by pointing out different butterflies camouflaged within the plants. Says tourist Sneha Ram, “I visited the Butterfly Park last year and I was very impressed. The guide was very helpful as he assisted me find the Blue Mormon butterfly. The park is quite well-maintained and much better than the safari”.

The Museum has a collection of dioramas and exhibits that showcase the different varieties of butterflies found in India. The Audio-Visual room plays an interesting film providing factual tidbits about the butterfly population. “However, I feel that there should be more pictures of the butterflies inside the enclosure, as most visitors cannot identify different butterflies,” says Deepa Mohan, a nature lover.

Amateur and professional photographers throng the park to capture breath-taking images of vibrant butterflies perched delicately on leaves.

The Postal Department came out with a special cover with a cancellation depicting “Malabar Banded Peacock” (Papillio Budda Westwood) at the Post Office at Bannerghatta in 2009 according importance to the park.

The Butterfly Park beckons tourists, nature lovers, entomologists, photographers, philatelists and locals looking to do something different on a rainy weekend.

-Raintree Media Features 

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