Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Karikili Tank

Vedanthangal Bird sanctuary is about 8km from Vedanthangal is Karikili Tank, a wholly rain fed tank which attracts a variety of migratory birds. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is about 53km from Kanchipuram via Uthirameru (22km) on SH-118 or Chengalpattu (26km) on NH-45. From Chennai (86km), take the first major right after Bukkathurai to drive 12km to the sanctuary.

This sanctuary is said to be existing as a protected is said to be existing as a protected area for about 200 years.  A marshy 30-hectare area with a small lake and a grove of Barrington and acacia nilotica trees in a tank, is an important breeding site for waterfowl.  The resident and the migratory water birds include crested cormorants, egrets, herons, grey pelicans, grey wagtails, open-billed storks, white ibis, egrets, blue-winged teals, and swans.  At the time of the peak breeding season, December-January, about 30,000 birds are guesstimated to arrive.  There is an observation tower near the small lake to view the exotic bird life.  The best viewing time is the dawn and late afternoon.

The way to the sanctuary is via Chengalpattu and then a bus to the Vedanthangal bus station and on to the sanctuary about a km walk to the south.  Alternatively, it is about 5km from Maduranthagam.  Get down at maduranthagam and hire transport for the last 5km.  Accommodation at Forest Rest House, about half a km before the sanctuary, reservation Phone: 044-22351471.

It was a crusade by the villagers that laid the foundation of India's oldest bird sanctuary in 1798.   The Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, now managed by the Forest Department, spans only 200ha/494acres of open water, yet at peak season it witnesses great convergence of several species of birds.  Nov to Feb is the sanctuary's busiest period when waters are full and birds come to nest and settle until April, the start of the dry season.  Dense clumps of trees in the water provide ample nesting sites that burst with hungry fledglings by jan.  Birders and tourists armed with binoculars and cameras stream in to capture the flutter of activity when open bill storks, spoon bills, pelicans, cormorants, herons and ibises unite at the waterfront.  Migrant cuckoos, swallows, redshanks, sandpipers, paddy egrets and be eaters also abound at the site.  The narrow tree lined walking trail fringing the water's edge is interspersed with viewing platforms, park benches, watchtowers and eccentric avi-fauna sculpted water-taps and is bordered by a swathe of paddy fields on the other side.  Parking spaces and snack stalls are available outside.  The only stay option is the four-room Forest Rest House Phone: 044-27598545 near the bus stand on Velaiyaputhur Road, 0.5km from the sanctuary nearby.

Vadanthangal, near Maduranthakam, Kanchipuram District.  Open Wed to Mon 6am to 6pm.  Closed during monsoons. Phone: 044-24321471.

Total Area 30 hectares Location Kanchipuram district Nearest town Chennai 87km Annual rainfall 1200 mm Best season November-February, Information Wildlife Warden, Chennai Phone: 044-2235147/24321471