Thol Bird Sanctuary Timings, Ticket Price, Best Time to Visit, Distance

by Surojit Palmal
Thol Bird Sanctuary

Birds have become a distant species these days in the days of so many constructions everywhere. With the gradual cutting of trees and covering of water bodies the birds are a rare species these days. You actually need specially protected areas to spot birds in today’s birds. And what can be better than visiting a bird sanctuary? If you are in Gujarat or Ahmedabad then the Thol Bird Sanctuary can be a really good spot to visit. The Thol Bird Sanctuary Ahmedabad is a bird watcher’s paradise. With the greenery and water body around this spot houses a huge number of birds. And if you are a nature lover then you are definitely going to have a really good time here.

The Thol Bird Sanctuary Gujarat should be a must visit spot for you if you are visiting the state. If you are travelling there with your friends and family you can spend a really good time there too. This natural habitat is the home to many migratory birds and some rare endangered species as well. So make sure you are including this location in your itinerary. Keep on reading about the bird sanctuary as this will be a helpful read for you. In this article I will mention each and every information that you can probably need to plan a successful trip to this sanctuary.

Thol Bird Sanctuary

Location of Thol Bird Sanctuary: Mehsana district, near Thol Village in Kadi, Gujarat

Thol Bird Sanctuary timings: 6 am to 5:30 pm on all days

Entry fee of Thol Bird Sanctuary: The entry fee to visit this sanctuary is Rs. 50 per person. For a camera there is an additional fee of Rs. 200. However there is a car parking fee here as well that is a bit high. This is Rs. 500. It is advisable to keep the car parked inside as the parking spot is only 1 km away from the sanctuary and it would be more convenient.

How to reach Thol Bird Sanctuary

By air

The Sardar Vallabhai Patel Airport in Ahmedabad is the nearest airport from the sanctuary. Thol Bird Sanctuary distance from Ahmedabad airport is 34 km and you can easily reach there in about 50 minutes. You will get flights from most of the major cities to reach Ahmedabad.

By train

The Ahmedabad Junction is the nearest railway station to reach the sanctuary. This railway station is about 31.3 km away and it would take you around 1 hour 20 minutes to reach there. It is the major railway station and you will get trains from most of the cities to reach this sanctuary. However the Maninagar railway station is the closest railway station to reach this sanctuary. This railway station is only a 2 minutes walking distance from the sanctuary.

By road

You can reach the bird sanctuary from nearby cities by road as well. Either you can drive through your own vehicle or you can reach there by hiring a car. From Gandhinagar the sanctuary is 23 km away and from Vadodara it is 103 km away. Also from Rajkot this sanctuary is about 224.2 km away. You will also find local private buses that ply on this route to reach the sanctuary.

Thol Bird Sanctuary Best Time to Visit

Thol Bird Sanctuary Best Time to Visit
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The ideal time to visit this sanctuary is from November to February. This is the time when the temperature here is most comfortable and you will be able to enjoy more. It would be more convenient for you to explore the whole area well. Also this is the time when a huge number of migratory birds visit the area. And so this is the ideal time for bird watching as well.  Summers can be however a little too hot and humid here. So it might be a struggle to navigate through the open space here in that kind of heat. If you want you can avoid visiting here during the peak summer months. Do plan your visit accordingly.


Overview of Thol Bird Sanctuary

The Thol Bird Sanctuary and the Thol Lake located in the Mehsana district in the state of Gujarat is a rich bird sanctuary. Basically the Thol Lake is an artificial lake or a man made lake that the Gaikwad regime created. The purpose of the construction of the lake was to supply water for agriculture in the absence of rain in the region. Nestled amidst dense deciduous forests it is at present one of the hot spots for bird watching. Because of the ambience, topography and weather along with the vegetation this area attracts different species of birds. The birds that you will find here are a mix of native birds, migratory birds and also some endemic and rare varieties of birds as well. It is a sanctuary popular for pelicans and flamingos as well.

History of Thol Bird Sanctuary

Originally the Thol Bird Sanctuary was a man made water tank or a reservoir. In 1912 the then ruler of Baroda, Sayajirao Gayakwad built this irrigation tank. This lake has a massive capacity to store 84 million cubic meters of water in it. The water here spread across an area of 699 hectares or 1730 acres. Even though the water depth is shallow the shore length of the lake is 5.62 km. It is mostly a wetland with open water habitat. Cropland, scrub land and fallow land surround the lake. The main purpose to create this lake was to use it as a water tank. But soon it started becoming a habitat for many birds including many migratory and rare bird species. Due to the weather here the area started attracting a huge number of birds here. And within the bird watchers the area soon became a rage.

In 1988 finally this lake became the Thol Bird Sanctuary. Slowly even this area started housing various animal species as well. At present the Forest and Irrigation Departments of Gujarat maintains the sanctuary. It is also a proposed name for the Eco Sensitive Zone as well.


Flora of Thol Bird Sanctuary

Even though this one is specifically a bird sanctuary, it is also well known for the variety of plant species and vegetation here. A type of plant, Acacia Nilotica is very common here that floats in the wetlands here. Some other floating aquatic plants here are Leukoplakia, Prospis Chilenis, Gizipas etc. Also the area houses thorny shrubs and drought resistant plants.  The plants that you will find here are a mix of aquatic as well as marshy plants.

Fauna of Thol Bird Sanctuary

As a bird sanctuary the variety of bird species in this sanctuary is really rich. However what makes this sanctuary even more special is the fact that 60% of bird species here are water birds and mostly wintering birds. According to studies of IBA more than 150 bird species are here. Flamingos are one of the most important bird species here. There was a time when more than 5000-6000 flamingos were present here. Another important bird species here is the Sarus Crane which is the tallest flying bird. These Sarus Cranes nest in this sanctuary in a large number.

Also a huge variety of migratory birds are also present here. During the winter season these birds visit this area. Some of the popular ones are flamingos, grey white pelicans, waterfowls like mallards, sarus cranes, geese etc. Other than these you will also find Dalmatian pelican, greater flamingo, greater spotted eagle, Indian Skimmer etc. Some vulnerable species like White Rumped vulture and critically endangered species like Indian Vulture are also birds you can spot here. Other common birds here are purple swamphen, bulbul, spoonbill, green shrink, peacock, ibis, heron, sandpiper, sunbird etc. You can also find a variety of mammals and other animals here as well. These are jackals, foxes, zebras etc.


Things to do at Thol Bird Sanctuary

Things to do at Thol Bird Sanctuary
Image Source : flickr

Enjoy the lake view

The lake here is definitely a highlight in this sanctuary. If you are a nature lover you will love strolling around the lake with the cool breeze blowing by. This is also the spot where you can spot most birds as well. Just make sure you have your binoculars and cameras handy to get the best view.

Explore the village

The Thol Village is located very near the sanctuary. You can surely opt for exploring the village with the help of local guides here. More often the local guides and the villagers are friendly here. You can definitely strike a conversation with them and enjoy some time there. Also there are some local stalls here as well that serve delicious Chai and fried pakoras. It would be one of the most exciting experiences to relish on these delicious bhajiyas and you would get to taste the delicacies of Gujarat.

Enjoy sunrise and sunsets

For anyone visiting here early in the morning, watching the sunrise here can be way too interesting. It also looks way too beautiful when the sun rises high up engulfing the area with its light. Also the birds chirp and fly here and there during this time which is a sight in itself. The same goes with the sunsets as well. This is the time when the birds return to their nests making chirping sounds. Everything seems really peaceful at the time and nature seems to be at its best. So make sure you are visiting around a time when you can at least enjoy any one of these.

Wrapping Up!

The Thol Bird Sanctuary can be a really good spot to enjoy some time with your friends and family. With the variety of birds here it will be like a paradise for bird lovers for sure. So whenever you are visiting Gujarat make sure you are including this location in your itinerary. You can definitely check out the Thol Bird Sanctuary photos to see how beautiful this place is. If you are a nature lover then do not miss out on visiting this beautiful spot at all. I am sure you will enjoy your experience of visiting this beautiful sanctuary. So when are you planning a trip to this beautiful location. Also let me know if this particular article is helpful for you in planning a trip to this bird sanctuary. 

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