Katraj Snake Park is one of the popular conservation parks of India, situated on the Pune-Satara Highway. It is known for housing a significant population of snakes, birds, turtles, reptiles, etc. Situated at a distance of approximately 8 km from the Pune city of Maharashtra, the park was established in 1986. The credit for the setting up of the Katraj Snake Park goes to Neelam Kumar Khaire, who was aided by the Puna Municipal Corporation.
It was in 1999 that the Snake Park was added to the Rajeev Gandhi Udyan and since then, it has become a part of the Udyan. When the park was founded, the main aim was to provide a protected home to snakes, reptiles, birds and turtles. It was some time back only that a zoo was added to its complex. Today, Katraj Snake Park claims the distinction of providing a sanctuary to more than 160 species of snakes.
However, the most priced possession as well as most popular attraction of the park is a King Cobra, which is nine feet long and over six years old. For those who have little information about snakes, there is no need to worry. There is a library inside the premises of the Katraj Snake Park, where you can get information on almost each and every species of snake. There is also a provision for giving information about snakes for the blind, through Braille.
Katraj Snake Park, its director (Neelam Kumar Khaire) and its officers are quite pro-active in protecting snakes and other reptiles. For the purpose, they organize awareness festivals and programs on a frequented basis. The aim behind these is to provide information to people about snakes, to remove the false impressions held by them and to dissuade mistreatment towards snakes. The park is a very famous picnic spot near Pune and is quite popular amongst kids.