Unique Wildlife Sanctuary
According to the Ramayana, Lord Ram himself stood at this point and carried out reconnaissance of Ravana’s kingdom in Sri Lanka just 48 kms. away.
A stone slab at Ramarpatham (meaning Rama’s feet), the highest point of Point Calimere, bears the foot prints of Ram.
Now it is a unique wildlife and bird sanctuary.
Situated at the southern end of Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, the sanctuary may be divided into three divisions:
· Point Calimere Forest;
· Great Vedaranyam Swamp, which includes the mangrove forests at Muthupet, and
· Talaignayar Reserve Forest.It is a marine – coastal wetland with a wide diversity of habitats , including dry evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and wetlands.
The coastal water is the breeding ground, or nursery, for many species of marine fishes.
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (PCWBS)
Point Calimere region was first identified as an area of high conservation importance by late Dr. Salim Ali, the world famous ornithologist, in 1962.
The Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, with an area of 24.17 km², was created on June 13, 1967 for conservation of Black buck (Indian antelope), an endangered and endemic species of India.
In 1988, the Sanctuary was enlarged to include the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and the Talaignayar Reserve Forest, and renamed the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, with a total area of 377 km².
In November 2002, the sanctuary and some adjacent areas (excluding the reserved forest) were designated a Ramsar Site – a wetland of international of importance.
Fourteen species of mammals have been reported in the Sanctuary.
The most graceful are the sleek and beautiful black buck.
When I visited the Sanctuary, the black bucks did not allow me to come close.
They kept a respectable distance.
When I advanced towards them, they retreated.
Other large animals are spotted deer, wild boar, jackal, Bonnet macaque, mongoose, monitor lizards, black naped hare, Civet cat and semi wild ponies.
There are large colonies of flying foxes in the Point Calimere forest and in the mangrove forest at Muthupet.
Dolphins and turtles often come quite close to the shore.
The sanctuary has one of the largest water bodies in South India and is rich in both resident and migratory birds.
A total of 257 species of birds have been recorded of which 119 are water birds and 138 forest birds.
Some of the major water bird species are the greater flamingo, the lesser flamingo, spot – billed pelican, grey pelican, spoonbill sandpiper, Asian dowitcher, white bellied sea eagle, brahminy kite and osprey.
The land birds include paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta, Rosy starling, Blyth reed warbler, crested serpent eagle and brown shrike.
Since 1959, the Bombay Natural History Society has been conducting regular bird migration studies in the sanctuary.
So far, over 200,000 birds have been captured, studied, ringed and released.
Bombay Natural History Society has set up a new field station in Kodaikadu in 2007.
The vegetation of the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary is diverse, ranging from dry evergreen forests, mangrove vegetation, salt marsh to grasslands.
If you are interested in plants, you can see carnivorous or insectivorous plants, such as, Drosera burmanii and D. indica.
Places to see
You can see the footprints of Lord Rama at Ramar Padam.
You can have a beautiful view of the sanctuary and the larger mammals and birds from the watch tower located near the shrine.
The historic ruins of a 1000-year old Chola light house were wiped out by the Tsumani of 2004.
A modern lighthouse built in 1890 guides the mariners.
Point Calimere is the apex of the Cauvery River delta, and forms a right-angle turn near the coastline.
The area is littered by salt pans. They may create ecological problems, but they do attract a large number of birds.
The forests of Point Calimere are one of the last remnants of the dry evergreen forests that were once typical of the East Deccan dry evergreen forests eco-region.
You can visit Thanjavur, just 90 km away, the seat of the celebrated Chola kings from the 10th to the early 14th century.
The entire South India is open to you beyond that….