Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is the oldest bird sanctuary in India. Covering an area of just 74 acres, it is also one of the smallest in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil translates to ‘hamlet of the hunter’. It was a favorite hunting ground of rich landlords back in the early 1700’s who hunted mainly for sport. Vedanthangal’s wetlands of small lakes and water bodies rich in their unique ecosystem attracted a rich diversity of birds and still do today. Realizing Vedanthangal’s ornithological as well as ecological importance, the then British government took steps to develop it into a sanctuary for birds in 1798. Nearly 60 years later, the collector of Chingleput passed an order to establish it as a protected area.

Photo by Balaji.B, CC BY 2.0 

Locals too have been protecting this sanctuary for a very long time. They are aware of the fact that the birds’ droppings increase the level of nitrogen content in the water which is used to irrigate their crops, increasing the yield and helping reduced the cost of fertilizers.

As many as 40,000 migratory birds, some of them endangered species, flock to this small paradise every year to nest, feed and breed. These include pintails, grey wagtails, blue-winged teals, spoon bills and the common sandpiper.

The rain-fed tank in Vedanthangal remains dry through most of the summer months beginning to fill up by August. Barringtonia trees at the peripheries of the water bodies become perching sites as well as nesting platforms.

Climatic Conditions

Vedanthangal is extremely hot and humid during the summer months from March to July, when the temperature can reach a maximum of 40 degrees C or more. Winters,on the other hand, are pleasant and mild. Monsoons arrive pretty late and make their presence known here from August through October. This period is best avoided as Vedanthangal experiences heavy showers. This is not the time for sighting birds or photography.

Best Time to Visit

Although the bird sanctuary is open throughout the year, the best time to visit it is from November to March  as this is the nesting season for most migratory birds and the weather is also pleasant (between16 and 27 degrees C).

Wildlife at Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

Birds: One of the first winged visitors to this sanctuary is the Open billed Stork. Others who follow are Egrets, Spot billed Pelicans, Great Cormorants, Painted storks, Eurasian Spoonbills, Black-headed Ibis, Indian Cormorant, Asian Open bill, Great Egrets, Grey Heron, and Purple Heron which are seen in large numbers. Waterfowls include White Ibis, Night heron, Darter or Snakebird, Pintails, Pond herons, Comb Duck, Common teals, Shovellor, Dabchick, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stilt, Red Shank, Sand Piper, Ringed Plover, Curlew, babblers, parakeets, bee-eaters, barbets, drongos,  cuckoos. Raptors include Black Winged Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Brahminy kite and Pariah Kites.

Mammals: Jungle Cat, Jackal, Wild Boar, Black-naped Hare.

Distance from Major Cities

Vedanthangal is 34 kilometers from Chengelpattuand and 45 kilometers from Mamallapuram.

Chennai – 75 kilometers
Delhi – 2244 kilometers
Mumbai – 1315.8 kilometers
Kolkata – 1744 kilometers
Ahmedabad – 1826.8 kilometers
Bengaluru – 324.8 kilometers
Chandigarh – 2499.4 kilometers
Hyderabad – 700.4 kilometers
Indore – 1526.2 kilometers

Nearest Airport

The nearest airport link to Vedanthangal is Pondicherry which is about 58 kilometers.

Nearest Railway Station

The nearest railway station is Chengalpattu Junction, 21 kilometers away.

Road Accessibility

Take the NH45 to Padalam via Chengalpattu. Turn right to stay on the sanctuary road. It is an 11 kilometer drive from there. Bus services are also available from Chennai, Mahabalipuram and Chengalpattu.

Accommodation Facilities

About 48 kilometers away, Mahabalipuramhas many hotels to suit every budget.

Chengalpattu offers budget hotels like Hotel Sakthi Park at Vandavasi Road.

Accommodation at the Forest Rest House at Vedanthangalcan be booked in advance by contacting:

Wildlife Warden
259, Anna Salai, DMS Compound
Teynampet, Chennai (Phone-044-24321471)

Entry Fees
INR 5 per child
INR 25 per adult

Useful Contacts for Bookings and Accommodation
1. Wildlife Warden Phone-044-24321471
2. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary91-94443-58969
3. Bay Treasure, East Coast Road, Mahabalipuram 91-9211177444

About Rohit

An architect by profession, Rohit Agarwal is a curious traveller, seeking out the minutest detail about the places he travels to, and that’s what one will find in his writings. His writings have appeared in various blogs, he’s currently trying to bring forth as many different places a traveller who shares the same level of curiosity like him would like to visit through his writings.

1 thought on “Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu”

  1. I will be in Mahaballipuram from 22-24 Sept 16 and want to visit Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. Will it be open during this period ?


Leave a Comment