Once a distant suburb which was nearly twice its current size, Guindy has now been engulfed by the fast growing metropolis. Guindy Lodge, a portion was officially declared as Guindy national park in 1977. This Predominantly dry deciduous scrub jungle of acacia is interpersed wirh larger trees such as sandal wood banyan and jumun. Its most famous residents are the herds of endangered blackbuck, introduced in 1924. Among its 130 species of birds are raptors such as the honey buzzard and the white believed sea eagle. Winter is the best time for birdwatching, when migrant birds visit the forest. Also located within the park is the Madras Snake Park established in the 1970s by Romulus Whitaker, the American Zoologist, who also set up the Crocodile bank outside Chennai. Today, the well maintained Snake park houses numerous species of snakes, among them are king cobras, vipers and pythons. Other reptiles include crocodiles, turles and lizards. Large information boards, strategically placed, provide interesting details on the various species. For those who are interested, there are live demonstrations of venom extraction; the venom is used as an antidote for snake bites.
The historic 300-years-old Guindy Lodge, to the west of the Park, is now the Raj Bhavan the residence of the Governor of Tamilnadu. Built as a weekend retreat by the city's British rulers, this handsome white building was renovated and expanded in the mid-1800s by the then Governor, Grant-Duff. Today, Guindy has some of the city's most prestigious institutions. The area also has many impressive memorials to modern India's leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, K.Kamaraj and C.Rajagopalachari.
Anna Park The walk starts from the victory War Memorial which marks the north end of Kamarajar Salai. This memorial originally commemorated the victory of the Allied armies during World War I, and was later dedicated to the memory of those soldiers from the Madras Presidency who lost their lives in World War II. To its south, in Anna Park, is the Anna Samathi a memorial erected in honour of CN Annadurai, the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, who introduced significant political and social reforms in the state. Further south is the MGR Samathi, a commemorative garden with gateways and pathways, built in honour of the popular Tamil film icon and chief minister, MG Ramachandran. An array of souvenir shops and eateries can be found along this stretch of the beach, attracting tourists from the rest of the state. Particularly interesting is the Sunday market, with its curious jumble of goods.
It is at Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road. Visit : Wednesday to Monday from 0830 to 1730 hrs.Tuesday holiday. There are more than 40 species of common snakes are found here. The crocodiles, chameleons, monitor lizards and tortoises can also be seen in their natural setting.
Not far from Mamallapuram, 42 km from Madras, this crocodile breeding and research centre is run by Romulus Whittaker. It was set up in 1976. This bank was started to protect India's dwindling crocodile population and to preserve the Irula (Snake catching), tribe's way of life. This bank has already produced more than 6,000 crocodiles. There is also a snake farm where anti - venom is produced. Several species of Indian and African Crocodiles and Alligators bred in captivity are kept here in open pools. The snake venom extractions are a great attraction to the visitors and it help the Irulas (tribe) to maintain their way of life.
Open from 10.00 to 16.00. Wednesday to Monday. Tuesday holiday.