After having spent two beautiful days in a mansion at Chettinad, I decided to visit Madurai- the city of Meenakshi, a mere 2-hour drive from Chettinad. The drive , for most of the way, is a single carriage highway, and apart from beautiful green fields and a couple of villages and small towns, one cannot see anything else. In this dull drive, Vettangudi is a delightful stop, especially if you are looking at a bathroom in the middle of nowhere!
Located in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, Vettangudi is a small and friendly bird sanctuary. The visitor center welcomes you to clean toilets, binoculars as well as brochures about the place. Though the sanctuary covers 3 tanks, namely, Periya Kollukudi Patti, Chinna Kollukudi Patti and Vettangudi Patti, it can be seen in a leisurely walk of about 20 minutes, which takes one around the tanks.
When I left Chettinad, the sun was shining brightly and by the time I reached Vettangudi, the rain God had taken over, and we were welcomed with drizzle, cool breeze, making it a great pit stop. As we walked around the tank, we spotted the Open billed stork, White ibis, Grey herons, Night herons, Darters and Spoon bills….not that I am an expert on birds but thanks to our guide, we familiarized ourselves with our friends, who were lazing on the trees!
Madurai is another 50km from Vettangudi, so in case you happen to drive by this bird sanctuary, do stop by. It is not on the tourist circuit and provides a good break from the heat and the drive. Pack a sandwich, if you can, pick a few Cokes and make a picnic out of it. You wont regret it!