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Thol Wildlife Sanctuary

Gujarat is known to be one of the best destinations for bird watching in India. The state is visited by many native and migratory birds. One such place to visit in Gujarat is the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary. Placed in the Mehsana district of the state, about 40Km from Ahmedabad; the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary spans over an area of 7 square kilometres. This sanctuary is one of the best places for bird watching in India. The sanctuary is built around a shallow freshwater lake which is bounded by marshy lands and scrub forests.

The sanctuary was originally founded in 1912 but was officially established as a sanctuary in 1988 as mentioned by the Wildlife (Protection) Act, Section 18, from 1972. Apart from excellent opportunities of bird watching the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is also known for its scenic beauty.

The main draw of the sanctuary is the vast variety of avifauna that inhabits the area. The area is inhabited by both local as well as migratory birds. The Saras Crane is abundantly found in the sanctuary. Apart from this there are numerous other species of waterfowls that visit the area often. The park is visited by migratory birds during the winter months. The fertile grounds surrounding the Thol Lake offer lots of feeding opportunities to these birds. The park is said to be an ornithologist’s delight.

The Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is a visual treat for any visitor. Home to over 100 species of birds the sanctuary is an ideal place to visit for anyone who is interested in bird watching and observing them in their natural habitat. Close to the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary there are a few other attractions such as the Rani Udaymati Vav, a beautiful site and the Langhanaj excavation site.


The Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is located towards the north-western border of Ahmadabad. It is a man-made irrigation reservoir built in 1912 by Sayajirao Gayakvad, the Ruler of Baroda. The reservoir was built for irrigation purpose and is known as the Thol Lake, which covers an area of 7 sq. km. The lake is bordered by marshy lands. There are also scrub forests in the surroundings of the lake found on elevated banks. The geography of the area makes it an ideal destination for migratory birds especially the waterfowls and waders.

The most common varieties of plants found in the sanctuary include aquatic plants both floating and emergent. Other terrestrial plants include the Neem, Pilu, Baval, Bor, etc.
The Thol Wildlife Sanctuary and the Thol Lake is classified as follows:

  • 153 km² of catchment area
  • 1450 hectares of command plot
  • 7 sq. km of Thol Lake


The Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several species of native as well as migratory birds. During the peak season, visitors can get an opportunity to spot large number of spotted flycatcher, mallards, spoonbills, cranes, egrets, whistling teals, flamingos, graylag geese, pelicans, black ibis, grey pelicans, etc. The most common bird to be spotted in the sanctuary is the Indian Saras Crane. The Saras Crane is known to be the tallest flying bird on earth and has been the source of inspiration for several poets and writers.

How to Reach

By Road

State-run buses operate between Ahmadabad and the Thol Bird Sanctuary. It is however advised to hire a private vehicle so that you can visit the sanctuary at your convenience and take your time to explore the area.

By Rail

The closest railway station to the sanctuary is at Ahmadabad. From Ahmadabad trains are available to all the major cities of India. It is best to book tickets ahead of time.

By Air

The nearest airport to the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is Ahmadabad about 40Km from the park. Flights are available to travel to different parts of the country. It is important to book your tickets beforehand.

Best Time to Visit

The Thol Wildlife Sanctuary has pleasant weather after the rainy season. The summer months are extremely hot and temperatures can reach up to 46°C. During winters the temperatures can be as low as 15°C. It is best to visit the Thol Wildlife Sanctuary between the months of October and March, after the rains when the weather is the most favourable. During this time you can you can spot different varieties of birds around the pools and canals of the park. It is best to spend an entire day to explore the sanctuary and the different types of birds. Do not forget to bring along your binoculars and cameras.

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Thol Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Wildlife Sanctuary

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