I had only came to Chennai briefly to see the glorious monuments of Mahabalipuram, but while in the area I thought I would check out another of the city’s major attractions: The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is the largest crocodile park in the whole of India, and must be one of the largest in the world. However, what sets this one in Chennai apart from others I have visited is that there is real good progress being researched and undertaken for the crocodiles. There are nearly 2,500 crocodiles here from 14 different species, including ‘Salties’, alligators, and false gharials (those slender-snouted ones on the left of the photo above). I was surprised to pay only the standard 55 Rupees to enter, as I thought I would be charged more as a foreigner.
There isn’t much for tourists to do in Chennai really, so if you’re looking for a way to spend a couple of hours then I would really recommend the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust park. It is not just crocodiles here (although they are the celebrities, for sure), as you can see turtles, tortoises, snakes, lizards, and even Komodo Dragons from the far eastern reaches of Indonesia! One of the best exhibits I saw when walking around was actually at a research station where there was a cool display of every egg from the crocodilian family. It was nice to see the difference in sizes between a caiman egg and an alligator egg, for example.
The park is open 6 days a week (closed Mondays) with the last admission being 5pm each day. On the east coast of India, the sun sets after this time, so it means that even at closing time you will still be able to clearly see the crocodiles and other reptiles and amphibians in their enclosures – and for safety reasons I am thankful that I am not walking around in the dark with 2,500 crocs! For the fearless among you, the night safari here at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust might also be a great way to spend an evening (just make sure you’re prepared to fight off the mosquitoes!).