History of Guindy Children’s & National Park, Chennai
Initially a game reserve spread over an area of 5 km square, Guindy National Park was a part of the tropical dry evergreen forest known as the Guindy Forest. Later a small part of the reserve was transformed into a garden space.
In 1672-1678 a residence along with the garden space called the Guindy Lodge was established by the then Governor, William Langhorne. Rest of the forest area was owned by a Britisher named Gilbert Roderick, who sold it to the Government for an agreed sum of Rs. 35,000 in 1821. Around 505 hectares of area was set as a Reserve Forest in 1910 and in 1945, Chital or Spotted deer was the first animal to be brought to the Forest. A large area of the forest was handed over to the government from 1961 to 1977 for the construction of various memorials and educational institutions. In 1958 a vast area of the forest was given for the construction of the Indian Institute of Technology.
Rajaji memorial was built in 1974 and Kamaraj memorial was built in 1975. Tamil Nadu Forest department took charge of the forest in the year 1977. A wall was then constructed to demarcate the Indian Institute of Technology and the Raj Bhavan from the Park. Established in 1972 by the revered herpetologist and wildlife conservationist, Romulus Whitaker, the Guindy Snake Park boasts of being the first reptile park of the country. Romulus Whitaker also founded the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology in 1976. With the presence of a splendid variety of snakes, it attracts several pharmaceutical companies that help them produce anti-venom drugs.
In 1975, the Central Zoo Authority honoured the Snake Park with the status of a medium Zoo. Several trees were uprooted during the 2016 Vardah cyclone. Stretching from Sardar Patel road from Adyar to Anna Salai at the Guindy junction, Guindy National Park draws more than seven lac visitors annually. FLORA AND FAUNA AT GUINDY CHILDREN’S PARK CHENNAI Main attraction of the park is the 20 million years old Specimen of Tyrannosaurus.
The wildlife population of the Park includes Chital, Sloth Bear, dhole, and Indian spotted chevrotain, Spotted deer, common Palm Civet, Small Liven Civet, Bonnet Macaque and Pangolin. Visitors will find solitude in the national park that provides the habitat for 14 species of mammals including Blackbuck, Hyena, Hedgehog, Common Mongoose and Three-Striped Palm Squirrel. It is home to the Indian hare or the black-naped hare which are named so because of the patch of black fur that runs along the nape of its neck. Tourists would enjoy stunning views of the inspiring tropical dry evergreen forests that houses around 24 varieties of trees and 350 species of plants.
Major trees found in the forests are Sugar-Apple, Manilkara Hexandra, Mimusops Elengi, Strychnine, Flacourtia Indica, Eugenia, drypetes Sepiaria,Ceylon Ebony, Atlantia Monophylla, Wood-Apple.Tall deciduous trees like Albizia Amara, Sal and Chloroxylon have disappeared today and the forest have more of the small canopy trees. Covered with shrubs, crawlers, herbs and grasses it is also home to grasshoppers, crabs, scorpions and more than 60 species of butterflies and spiders respectively. Bird lovers try to spot their favourite ones among the 130 species of the winged creatures found in the park.
Crow Pheasant, Shrikes, Pariah Kite, Tailor Bird, Garganeys, Medium Egrets, Pond Herons, Parrot, Black-winged Kite, Eagle, Golden backed Woodpecker, Pochard, open-billed Storks, Honey Buzzard are few of the birds found in the park. People have rarely spotted the Eurasian Hobby and the dollar Bird in the park. Eurasian Hobby is a small elegant falcon characterised by a broken white band across the nape, a narrow white eyebrow and a brownish black plumage. One-sixth of the park is open grasslands providing a perfect habitat for the black bucks and the spotted deer. There are around 400 blackbucks and two thousand spotted deer in the park. Signboards and walking paths guides the visitors to move through the National Park.