Tamil Nadu Gets Its First Biodiversity Heritage Site In Arittapatti Village

In Madurai, a quaint village finally gets recognised for its diverse wildlife, vibrant greenery and rich history
Rocks of desert mountains of Arittapatti village, Madurai
Rocks of desert mountains of Arittapatti village, Madurai
Adding to Tamil Nadu&rsquos rich repository of natural wonders, the state government announced Arittapatti village as its first Biodiversity Heritage site under section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2022. Located near Melur in the Madurai district and spanning 193.21 hectares, the village has much to marvel at&ndashfrom diverse flora and fauna to significant historical sites to ancient temples. 
Surrounded By Green
With 72 lakes, 200 natural spring pools and three check dams supported by the seven hillocks surrounding it, the village is nothing short of a paradise on earth. To add to that, it is also nestled between Alagarmalai and Perumal forest reserves, making it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers. Here, you can spot up to 250 species of birds, including laggar falcon, shaheen falcon and Bonelli's eagle, and exotic animals like the Indian pangolin and slender loris, among others.
Rooted In History
If you thought it was a place fit for nature lovers only, its historical lineage and the many ancient sites dot the village would prove you wrong. 
It is believed that one of the lakes, Anaikodan, was built in the 16th century during the Pandiyas reign. The village is hailed to have been inhabited by people for more than 2,000 years, as concluded from a reading of the urns recovered from the Kottaimedu area. 
The rock-cut Shiva temple, believed to be constructed in the 8th century, also presents a capturing historical fact as it is one of the only two places in Tamil Nadu where the Laguleesa&rsquos statue&ndashthe revered Shaivite revivalist and founder of the Pashupata cult&ndashwas found. Of the numerous Jain beds found in Madurai, a prominent one&ndashwith 2,100-year-old Brahmi inscriptions and 1,000-year-old Vattezhutu inscription&ndashis located at Kalinjimalai in this village. 
Even though it falls a few km ahead of Trichy, the village often gets unnoticed by travellers. The notification seeks to shed light on its ecological and historical treasures and even strengthen the local community&rsquos participation in preservation and conservation initiatives. 

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