Situated close to the small town of Padalam in Kanchipuram district, Vedanthangal is the oldest water sanctuary in India. The place was granted legal protection in 1798 and recognised as a sanctuary in 1936. Further in 1962, the Madras Forest Act accorded it the status of a reserve and was upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary in 1972 by the Wildlife Protection Act.
The sanctuary is close to both Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram, both of which make a good evening getaway. The place is a paradise for people looking to experience the countryside added with a dose of excitement of wildlife. The place also makes a good spot for a lazy evening stroll.
Flora and Fauna:
The sanctuary is spread well over 30 hectares of land. The area is largely covered by the lake that makes up an ideal habitat for the birds. The territory is marked by thorn forests and the adjoining open fields. Besides the lake there are some 60 small pools and ponds dug in the territory that get filled with the rainwater during monsoons. The lake, pools and ponds and the nearby paddy fields are the scenes of activities at Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary. A rough estimation reveals the bird population to be something like 75,000 birds. These birds comprise of the 110 species that have been recorded here.
Major Wildlife Attractions:
As you enter the gates of the sanctuary, the sight of numerous trees flocked by birds busy in their chirping and chatting catches your attention. The migratory birds as if packing their luggage before flying off to their permanent habitats thousands of miles away. The birds here are accustomed to the visitors and are not afraid to venture quite close to them.
Prominent among the birds found in the sanctuary are Painted Stork, Cormorant, Egret, Spoonbill, Oriental Darter, White Ibis, Grey Pelican, Grebe, Sandpiper, Shoveller, Tern, Open Billed Stork and Pin Tailed Duck. The migratory birds which include Brahminy Kite, Booted and Short Toed Snake Eagle, Montagu’s and Eurasian Marsh Harriers, come from as far as Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It is an excellent place to spend some quite hours watching birds go about their daily routine. There are paved paths dotted with watchtowers and benches that are especially good for bird watching. The birds are best viewed if they do not notice the visitors. It is advisable to sit in a quite corner without making any noise and observe the birds.
Best Time to Visit:
The nesting season commences late October. The birds are through with breeding and start returning to their feeding grounds around March. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to the middle of March.
How to Get there:
Air: Chennai is the nearest and most convenient airport
Rail: Chengalpattu is the nearest railhead.
Road: To travel by road from Chennai, take the national highway no. 45 to Chengalpattu and head south towards Padalam junction. A right turn here will lead to the sanctuary road
General Info / Tips:
You can get fruits, tea, soft drinks and snacks just outside the sanctuary.
There is an interpretation centre at the park gates from where guides can be hired.
It is better to plan a weekday tour as it gets very crowded during weekends.
Park charges are Entry Fee: Rs. 5, Parking: Rs. 10. Sanctuary timings are from sunrise to sunset.
Carry along a pair of binoculars, a bird book and a camera with zoom lens to enhance your experience.
Tamil Nadu, India
Chengalpattu (30 km)