What links Trivandrum zoo to Life of Pi

The inspiration for writing this brilliant novel came to Martel, then only an aspiring writer, visited Trivandrum Zoo in 1996!

Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel ‘Life Of Pi’ is creating waves in theatres. The novel published in 2001 tells the story of an Indian boy ‘Pi’ Patel who survives a shipwreck and becomes a castaway on a boat. He undergoes a journey of adventure and spirituality in which his companion is a ferocious Bengal tiger.

The novel written by Yann Martel was first rejected by at least 5 London publishing houses before being accepted by the Knopf Canada in 2001. The UK adaptation won Man Booker Prize in the following year. Many other awards came his way for his work ‘Life Of Pi’.

What many of us do not known that the inspiration for writing this brilliant novel came to him while he visited an Indian zoo, that too our very own Trivandrum Zoo! Martel, then only an aspiring writer came to South India in 1996. He visited the Trivandrum zoo where he spent a lot of time observing the behaviour of animals there.

Trivandrum Zoo

He did a lot of research too, by interviewing the director of the zoo and observing the tigers. The idea of writing the novel germinated in his mind during these visits. We can imagine how the zoo set in the enchanting greenery of the botanic garden must have inspired and sparked Martel’s imagination to write this fantasy adventure novel. It’s also a matter of pride for us that, the concept of a world famous novel and its movie adaptation took roots from our Trivandrum zoo.

In a letter directly to Martel, President Barack Obama described Life of Pi as “an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling”

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