Mobile phones and the Internet are the major sources of distraction, especially for the youth of today. Keep all this away and let us head to someplace more wonderful. More adventurous. But where? Beaches? Hills? No. Let us awaken the wildlife enthusiasts in us and hit the cultural hotspot of South India: Tamil Nadu.
Its divergent natural heritage is blended along with the dry and wet deciduous forests, wet evergreen forests and an assortment of flora and fauna like tigers, bison, monkeys and elephants. Both resident and migratory birds breed well here and some significant birds which are a treat to the eyes include cormorants, storks, herons, pelicans, grebes, darters and many other varieties which shall appease you. Did you know that it is also the place of origin of crocodiles and fish farms and the royal abode of tiny squirrels as well?
Let us delay no longer and step foot into the wildlife paradise of Tamil Nadu!
1) Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary:
Well, does it get confusing for you or exciting for you when a wildlife sanctuary is known by a different name? For example, Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is another name for the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. If we get into the statistics, 250 species of birds and 315 varieties of colourful butterflies can be spotted here with glee. What can be more joyful than following the happy trail of a butterfly around the mountains and trees on your feet!
Be on the lookout for diverse fauna like the wild dog, porcupine, flying squirrel, jackal, panther, sloth bear, deer, wild bear, wild dog, porcupine, flying squirrel, jackal, pangolin and civet cat. It is at a distance of about 93 km from Coimbatore. Ignoring 2000 species of plants shall also become a difficult task! They are charming in their own way as they possess medicinal values. There are scenic waterfalls, dams, reservoirs, grass hills and an elephant training centre that can make your trip to the sanctuary all the more enthralling. So, pack your bags anytime from mid-December to February!
2) Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary:
Someone who has an expertise in birdwatching shall definitely love being here. The majority of elephants of South India are found in this sanctuary while it also comprises hawk, buzzard, harrier, falcon, vulture, small green barbet, green pigeon, spotted babbler, peacock, grey jungle fowl, malabar whistling thrush, shama, magpie-robin, large racket-tailed drongo, mynahs and the predatory eagle. Wow. Isn't that an amazing bunch to view and create some great memories? A golden opportunity to click some great photographs!
You get to enter the sanctuary via Theppakadu which also pleases the visitors with short elephant rides to the sanctuary. Wouldn't it be amazing to enter the sanctuary through this grand means of transport? Private vehicles and prancing about on foot is prohibited here but not to worry when mini-bus safaris come to your rescue! Also, the 'Moyar Watchtower' requires special mention because the Moyar Gorge and Waterfall scenes are breathtaking! Be ready to become a keen bird-watcher this December to June.
3) Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary:
This sanctuary also has another beloved name, 'Kodikkarai Wildlife Sanctuary' and lies at a distance of 115 km from Thanjavur. Every photographer would consider himself lucky to click a snap here of the turtles soaking in the sunshine or the impulsive dolphins splashing in the glittering waters. Children thoroughly enjoy the scenic beauty of this place while it also houses high-spirited birds speckled in bright shades like teals, curlews, gulls, plovers, terns, sandpipers, shanks and herons. The most abundant are the innumerable flamingoes. As the spring season approaches, the sanctuary gets a charming makeover with koels, mynas and barbets humming tunes while they munch on berries. Save the dates anytime from November to January and let the picturesque place enchant you!
4) Anna Zoological Park:
Just got off the Chennai Central Railway Station? You can travel 38 km to one of the most appreciated sanctuaries spreading over a space of 602 hectares. It is covered with a green carpet of lush greenery and flaunts around 138 species of flora and 46 endangered animal species. You would definitely enjoy the company of the massive Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, capped langur, hog deer, barking deer, sangai and marsh crocodile. Also, on the list are amphibians, reptiles, mammals and water-monitor lizard.
This sanctuary shall greet you with a scene of merriment and frolic with families relaxing via picnics, children scampering around in joy but the most interesting part is the library. All kinds of information about wildlife which pique your interest, you will find here! Hop on a 15-minute Lion Safari towards the "Asiatic Lion Enclosure". Heard about the "Reptile House"? Gather enough courage to visit this place as well as the "Pre-historic Animal Park", "Zoo School" and "Otteri Lake".
5) Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary:
75 km from the urban metropolis of Chennai, imagine hearing the cacophony of around 1,00,000 birds swooping around in the air! It is a lovely sight to behold and visitors really enjoy to their heart's content in this impressive sanctuary comprising grey herons, egrets, darters, spoonbills, painted storks, open-billed storks, common teals, snake birds, cormorants, white ibis, night herons and grey pelicans.
You shall love watching the birds take flight with their wings stretched to fly away into freedom. Then you shall definitely like the fact that two watchtowers are present here for some extravagant sightseeing activities. It is a platform with an exemplary view. November to February is when you should start packing!
Isn't your heart rejoicing at all the beauty that the sanctuaries of Tamil Nadu uphold? Let your holidays be sorted this time with these amazing places on your mind!