21st September was the ‘International Peace Day’ and I wish all days be full of peace and celebrated so that we don’t need to freeze or dedicate a particular day for it. And I am sure you all must be knowing that what symbolizes or describes Peace. Yes, it’s a flying Bird / Dove. A bird represents freedom, harmony, love and peace. As a nature lover and traveller, I really am fond of birds and I am sure if you travel much or not, you love them too. There are no boundaries, no borders and no countries for these beautiful and cute creatures. They are free souls and fly wherever they feel happy. Don’t all of us sometimes think of flying like a bird? Don’t We? Yeah..! We Do. With that feeling, I decided to visit the Charity Birds Hospital in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi.
Okay, so if any of you have been to one of the most iconic monuments of Delhi, i.e. The Red Fort, then you had missed visiting this place by a whisker. And the best part about it is that its free for visitors. So all the bird lovers can get to see various species of birds at one place and being treated, cared and fed. This ‘one of its kind hospitals’ is located inside the complex of ‘Digambar Jain Lal Temple’ which is just opposite to the main entrance of the Red Fort. The temple can simply be referred to as the ‘Lal Mandir’ or ‘Jain Temple’.
So as I reached and got out of the nearest metro station, I was greeted by the maddening crowd, honking of vehicles, shouting people, heat, dust and pollution on this Peace Day. Certainly, I didn’t feel like, as I was in one of the most crowded roads of Delhi. But quickly I made way to the temple and believe me it felt quite a relief. Went inside the temple hall, prayed and quickly my eyes started looking for the birds. Just on the left side of the temple, I saw a colourful building which had beautiful drawings of birds on it. And written on top of it was ‘Charity Birds Hospital’. Phew..! Made it finally.
Hospital for Feathery Creatures
As I climbed the narrow stairs to the second floor where the birds are kept I could hear their pleasing sounds in my ears. There were many types of birds like crows, doves, pigeons, hens, parrots, peacocks, kookaburra, sparrows, eagles, etc. The Charity Birds Hospital was founded in 1956 has been treating birds for free since then. Thousands of birds are treated here and every day around 50-60 birds are admitted. People from all around the city or from anywhere can bring wounded and injured birds to this hospital. There are multiple cages small and big for all the species of birds. Vegetarians and non-vegetarian birds are kept separate in different sections in this 3-storey building.
The hospital has an intensive care unit for the fluttering birds. So if anyone finds a bird on the street injured or if anyone has their own pet bird, they can bring them to this place for a free treatment, shelter and love. According to the rule of this hospital, the birds are never returned to their owners if they admit them here, as for the fear of them being caged again. The birds are operated and kept in the cages till they become completely sound and fit. After that, they are set free into the open skies again. The fully recovered birds are released every Saturday.
The birds are given a nutritious diet every day. I saw people bringing birds for treatment in their hands, plastic bags and cages. Most of them get hurt flying through the crowded streets with vehicles, attacked by predators, being hit by fans, exhausted in the heat, lack of nutritious diet and food. There are cases of skin problems, burns, fractures, breathing problems, electrocution, cuts among some others. No matter what the injury or illness, each one of them is treated with full love and dedication by the doctors here.
I was not allowed to click pics of the birds by the doctors. Permission is required from the manager to do it but he was not present there at that time. Though, I managed to click a few for you guys. Will try to take the permission and click more on next visit.
Many people in India following Hinduism and Jainism believe that serving a bird is a holy job done. Helping a bird or feeding it gives you the utmost sense of happiness and relief. The bird temple is an example of the belief that all creatures should be treated equally. This thought led t0 the establishment of this Charity Birds Hospital under the instructions of Shri Acharya Deshbhushan Maharaj.
How can you help?
The hospital runs only on donations made by the visitors. Donate some love to your friends with wings and feathers by paying any amount of money in the donation box. The money is spent for treatment of the birds, buying necessary medicines, equipment and maintenance of this place of paramount significance.
One can bring food to feed these lovely creatures. The foods served to the birds are Bajra (Millet), Gehu (Wheat), Sarson (Mustard Seeds), Urad Sabut (Split Black gram), Moong Dal (Split Green gram), Channa (Chickpeas), Channa Daal (Split Bengal gram), Jowar (Sorghum) and Makki (Corn).
Visitors can walk through the small path inside the ward sections that have cages on the sides, say hi and wish a soon recovery to your favourite birds.
The Feeling of a Bird Lover
When I was inside the temple I got mixed feelings of to be happy or not as I was seeing so many colourful birds altogether, yet they were all injured and couldn’t fly. Buy the hope that they will be treated, recover and someday fly high in skies, bought a peace of mind to me on The Peace Day. This place is a heaven for bird lovers and we all need to learn to protect and serve not only the birds but also the creatures who cannot speak like humans. Its considered the best form of worshipping God when we care for the creatures of God.
So next time when you are around old Delhi, do visit this fabulous place that will make your day happier and bring positivity and kindness in you.
There are some other bird hospitals in the city but no one is as popular and provides service as this one does. And on seeing and experiencing it myself, I was sure about it.
Nearest metro station – Red Fort on violet line (200 metres) or Chandni Chowk on yellow line (1 km)
Timings – 8 AM to 9 PM
Open – All Days
Other things to do around Charity Birds Hospital:
- Visit the Red Fort
- Savour the delicious street food in Chandani Chowk Market
- Visit a Church, Hindu Temple, Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and Mosque all adjacent to each other on the same lane where the Jain temple and Hospital are.
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