By Rashi Wadhera

As people who consistently report things about our Capital and neighboring areas, there are always some stories we take personally, back whole heartedly, and recommend from the most earnest place in our hearts. This is one of them.

Under 3 hours from Delhi {if you take the Yamuna Expressway}, there exists a rescue facility that houses Indian dancing bears {recall a Bhalu Naach?} and rescued Indian elephants. If you were born in the eighties, you’d know a dancing bear all too well. We don’t know if you are aware, but that was torture for them. Cubs were poached, ropes were put through their muzzles, and the only reason they were standing/dancing was in response to pain. WildlifeSOS, clear unsung heroes, have rescued 224 such bears, devoted time and resources to rehabilitating, training and providing a safe, secure space for them. All of them are given free reign, have private quarters based on personality types {keep an eye out for couple du jour Badal and Madhu}, equipped with coolers for this blistering heat, and hammocks, footballs, and other recreational facilities.

If you sign up for a guided tour {and most definitely you should}, they’ll take you around the facility, introduce you {from a distance} to their many bears, all named of course, tell you about their personality traits, their history and their deeply touching rescue stories. Although they all come from a less than happy history {some stories will make you cry}, being able to watch them happy, playful, and free… there’s very few experiences that replace that. While walking around, after a run-in with their resident gangster Julia {from behind an electric fence}, we were joined on our tour by two labradors, a doberman and a gorgeous german shepherd. What they’re doing there? Also rescued dogs, they now reside with the keepers in this facility. Kept aware from the bears, they run around without collars, get more love and care than they could have ever wished for, and we can assure you, are well-fed, rotund and extremely content.

16km down the highway from the Bear Facility, is where the elephants are held. Since the Wildlife Protection Act for them is skewed, they’ve only managed to rescue 11 of them {from the Circus, victims of accidents etc.}, and the facility is in a constant battle with former owners to be able to keep them. They take their elephants extremely personally as well; there’s the girl gang comprising Maya, Chanchal and Laxmi, the gentle giant Rajesh, and Bijli, who didn’t take a minute from eating to greet us, except when he lounged in his own private pool to try and beat the heat.

They have the option of longer and shorter tours, depending on the time you have to spend. Longer tours comprise bathing, feeding and walking with the elephants, and a more thorough interaction with the bears. If you’re taking a day trip from Delhi, we recommend the shorter tours. If you’re in Agra for the day, you should opt for the day long option.

Take lots of water, slather on the sun screen, and take your cheque books. They survive with the help of private and corporate funding, and anything you can contribute will only help them. If anyone deserves even an iota of your money, its them. Hands down.

LBB takes this opportunity to give them a big virtual hug and shout out, for their devoted, unparalleled care of our four legged friends.

We urge you to boycott circuses, any version of a Bhaloo Naach {bear dance}, and any recreational/functional rides on elephants.

PS: We take great pride in being able to tell you, Indian Dancing Bears no longer exist in the country. This means, no more bears dancing.

Where: Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Keetam, Agra. 16km before Agra on the main Delhi-Agra road.

Contact: If you’d like to book a private tour, please contact them at, or call him on 09756205080

Find out more, and make a booking, here. 


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