The Guindy National Park is one of the smallest national parks in the country and a beautiful picnic spot. To add to the natural beauty and wildlife, it has a snake park and a children’s park.
The Park is systematically mapped and has a network of roads, footpaths, natural trails, ponds and lakes for watching the wildlife. The Park is spread over an area of 2.82 square km. This preserve was initially a hunting ground and belonged to a British citizen, Gilbert Rodericks. After his death, the Government of Madras purchased it in 1821 from his family and declared it as a reserved forest in 1910.
The Park carries derelict vegetation which is characterized by thorny scrubs of the southern dry zone. The Park is home to 24 varieties of trees and 14 varieties of shrubs, climbers, grasses and herbs. The trees include Amona, Atlanta Monoplylla, Feronia, Squamosa, Azadirachta India, Limonia, etc.
The wildlife includes the Indian Antelope (Black Buck) and 14 species of mammals like the Spotted Deer, Antelope, Jungle Cat, Toddy Cat, Elephant and others. For bird lovers, there are 37 species of birds living in the Park and these include the Golden Backed Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Crow Pheasent, Blue Jay, Blue Faced Malkoha, Shrikes, Doves, Koels, Red Wattled Lapwing, Munias, Minivets, Gray Partridge, Barkets, Tailor Birds, Parakeets, Robins Drongos, and Quails.
The children play area has a huge playground with swings, elephant rides, pony rides and a mini train. There is a small zoo and a snake park which was established in 1972. The snake park is home to the King Cobra, Vipers and Pythons. It is also home to a variety of tortoise and turtles like the endangered Star Turtle. There are also Geckos, Lizards, Indian Monitor Lizards, Chameleons, variety of butterflies and insects.
At one corner of the park is the Governor’s residence which is known as Raj Bhawan. Adjacent to the forest is the famous Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Other buildings around the forest include the Anna University Technology, Cancer Institute, Central Leather Research Institute, and Chennai Race Course. It also houses the memorials of Mahatma Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari, K.Kamaraj and Bakthavatchalam.
The park is 14 kms from the main city and is easily accessible by local trains, buses, auto rickshaws and taxis.