Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Vedathangal Bird Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary covering a total area of 30 hectares, located in the district of Kancheepuram. It is one of the oldest Water Bird sanctuaries in India, 48 kilometers from Kancheepuram. The sanctuary is home to numerous migratory birds.
The Sanctuary is located in the Kancheepuram District and Madurantakam Taluk in the state of Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary is about 75 kilometres from Chennai on National Highway (NH) 45. The nearest towns are Madurantakam and Chengalpattu.
History of Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Vedathangal in Tamil Language means ‘hamlet of the hunter’. During the early 18th century, it was a favourite hunting ground for local landlords. The local people were concerned about the winged residents who affected the productivity of their crops. They were aware of the fact that the bird droppings in the water acted as a fertilizer. Realizing the ornithological importance (relating to the study of birds), the British Government undertook steps to develop the place into a bird sanctuary in the year 1798, making it the oldest of its kind in the country. The sanctuary was established in the year 1858 by the order of the Collector of Chengalpattu.
Unique Attributes of Vedathangal Bird Sanctuary
- The Lake – The Vedanthangal Lake is situated 122 metres above sea level.The maximum depth of the lake id 5 metres. The Lake is a source of water for 250 acres of agricultural lands in the vicinity of the Lake. Water into the lake comes through four small canals.
- Bird Species – The Sanctuary attracts a large variety of species owing to the various small lakes that makes the place a conducive fertile ground for the birds.
Some of the birds that migrate from Europe to escape the frost setting in are :
garganey teals, glossy ibis, grey heron, grey pelican, open-billed stork, painted stork, snake bird, spoonbill, spot bill duck, cormorants, darter, grebes, large egret, little egrets, moorhen, night herons, paddy bird, painted stork, pintails, pond heron, sandpiper, shovellers, terns, white ibis.
- The breeding waterbirds found at the Sanctuary are:
Grey Pelican, Large Cormorant, Indian Shag, Little Cormorant, Darter, Grey Heron, Large Egret, Smaller (Median) Egret, Little Egret, Night Heron, Open-billed Stork, Black-headed Ibis and Spoonbill.
- Flora & Fauna – The Sanctuary also provides an incredible mix of flora and fauna. The flora that can be traced here are: Barringtonia acutangula (common names include freshwater mangrove and mango-pine, Acacia nilotica (common names include gum Arabic trees, babul, etc.) and Alangium salviflorum trees and dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests.
Apart from this, monkeys and other common mammals can be spotted.
- Spot for Photography – A nature lover can seize every opportunity not just for bird watching but also to capture nature through a camera. It is the right place for photography enthusiasts to explore this scenic landscape while chasing its vast array of birds and fowl.
- Accommodation Facilities – Forest Guest House provides well-maintained rooms with catering arrangements at reasonable price. One can also opt for P.W.D. Rest House available at Karunguzhi (around 12 kilometres from Vedanthangal).
- Additional Travel Tips – Tourists can get snacks and essential refreshments outside the sanctuary. A tourist guide facility can be availed from the interpretation centre located at the entrance. Weekends are usually crowded. To enjoy the experience of bird watching, do carry a pair of binoculars, a camera and preferably a bird book too.
Vedanthangal Birds Sanctuary Timings & Fees
- The Sanctuary is open from 6 A.M. TO 6 P.M.
- The entry fee is Rs. 25 per adult and Rs. 5 per child.
- The parking charges applicable are Rs. 10, Camera Fee is Rs. 25.
The Government of Tamil Nadu has been continuously taking measures for the protection of the area. The channel of the lake has been desilted and deepened so as to hold more water. Public Works Department has built water channels to facilitate the supply of water from neighbouring lakes.
Ideal time to visit Vedathangal Bird Sanctuary
The ideal time to visit Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is between November to March. The landscape beauty is at its peak during this time with lush greenery and colourful birds chirping all around.
How to reach Vedathangal Bird Sanctuary
By Road, Vedathangal is easily accessible from Chennai by bus or by hiring a taxi. There are three different routes that take you to Vedanthangal from Chennai – via Vandalur, via Sriperumbudur and one via Kovalam. The route via Vandalur is the fastest and scenic too as enroute you have the option of visiting Kolavai Lake and Vandaloo Zoo. The nearest railway station is at Chengalpattu (30 kolimetres). The nearest airport is at Chennai (around 58 kilometres).