Situated at about 40 km to the south of Chennai on the East Coast Road leading to Mamallapuram, the crocodile breeding and research center was established in the year 1976 by wildlife conservationist Romulus Whittaker under the control of Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. At present, the center is managed by a board of trustees. This centre was started as part of an effort to protect India’s falling crocodile population and to patronize the life and culture of Irula (Snake catching), tribes. The crocodile bank spans over an area of about 3.2 hectares and has the credit of producing a huge number of crocodiles. The crocodile bank also houses a snake farm where they produce anti – venom. In this place, a large number of crocodile species native to India and Africa are bred in open pools. Visitors will be greatly attracted by the snake venom extraction, which helps the Irulas (tribe) community maintain their culture and way of life. The center is kept open from 8am to 6pm from Tuesday to Sunday, with holidays on Monday.
Muttukadu Boat House
Located at about 36 km from Chennai city on the road to Mamallapuram, Muttukadu Boat House is one of the most exciting attractions for tourists on the ECR highway. Maintained and run by TTDC (Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation), the edge of backwaters from the sea serve as a suitable spot for an involved and relaxing boating experience for visitors at a nominal fee. This place is well known for its prawn and jellyfish population. Muttukadu is deemed as a wonderful place for activities like boating and wind-surfing. In Muttukkadu, a windsurfing regatta is organized in February as an annual feature to host a range of competitions in windsurfing and other water sports events. The center also hosts a number of training and demonstration programs for youngsters.
For the admirers of art, culture and tradition, Dakshina Chitra located at the ECR highway is a real feast. The most unique heritage village has a wide range of interests to enthrall the visitors. Located at Muttukkadu at about 35 km to the south of Chennai, Dakshina Chitra assures a memorable and the most authentic experience into the diverse lifestyles of the people of Tamil Nadu and the four other southern states of India including Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka.
Dakshina Chitra gets its name from the Sanskrit term ‘Dakshina’ referring South and ‘Chitra’ refering to a picture or draft. The center arranges to offer a peep into the life and culture of tamil Nadu with a guided tour. The center highlights the traditional and native architecture of the past 200 years with the help of a guided tour. Established in a rural setting, every house built in this site features a highly professional touch of the item it depicts. In each of the sections, one house is devoted totally for displaying the native textiles of the state. Interestingly, one can find a typical kitchen setting with utensils and puja rooms with puja materials in some of the houses. Women picked up from the nearby villages take care of these properties while some demonstrate some of the interesting household activities associated with the tradition like drawing, leaf decorations and ‘kolam’. The center also depicts some traditional artisans and craftsmen working in their native natural setting making items like ornamental potteries, carved stone items and baskets. Some of the most beautiful crafts can also be purchased from here. The centre hosts some special concerts and dance performances on festival days. The center is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm on six days of a week except on Tuesdays.
Mahabalipuram is one of the old and culturally significant towns in Tamil Nadu located at about 59km south of Chennai. The town was earlier the port city and capital of the Pallava kings. The town houses 4 types of rock structures namely monolithic temples cut out of rock (rathas), cave temples or cut-in structures (mandapams), temples built from a number of pieces and materials and bas-relief sculptures carved on huge rocks. Some of the most attractive features of the town include ancient 7th and 8th century Pallava carvings, stone and rock temples and the wonderful Mahabalipuram Beach reminding the visitors of an ancient port make the place a beautiful tourist destination.
Today, the city is also a place for a number of sculptors who specialize in sculpting stone images and idols out of granite stone. Sculpting industry is a highly thriving business in this town and exquisitely carved idols and images are exported from this place to a number of temples and parks all over the globe. In addition, there are also a number of artisans making carvings in wood. On the whole, this place is one of the most interesting feats for the lovers of art, tradition and culture. With several amazing features, this town has emerged as the most prominent and top tourist destination attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world pouring into this place.