Thol Bird Sanctuary: A shallow freshwater body surrounded by marshes and a scrubby forest marking the lake’s area. It covers an area of 7 square kilometers and was declared officially in 1988.

It was a long weekend. Almost all of our roommates were headed home. The four of us (Ankit, Yagnik, Sarthak and me) had decided to spend our weekend exploring some tourist spots near Ahmedabad. But, as every plan begins, we could not decide on the place. We had explored enough of Ahmedabad and wanted to go outside the city. To be honest, there aren’t many “naturally appealing” places to visit in and around Ahmedabad. After a lot of thinking (5 minutes or so), we came down to 2 options. It was either going to be Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary or Thol Bird Sanctuary. Nalsarovar is too far away from Ahmedabad, so, naturally we were left with “Thol”.

So, the stage was set. Everything was finalized on Saturday evening. We planned to wake up by 5:00 am, leave by 5:30 am and reach Thol on bike, in time to catch the Sunrise. The one who’d get up first was supposed to call others so that we’d start our journey early.

Being punctual is an engineer’s trait. Abiding by that, none of us woke up, neither did we call each other until it was 6:30 in the morning. After waking up “so early”, we were quite skeptical of continuing with the plan. But, we had nothing else to do, so we thought “why not just go with the plan?” We got ready and left our place by 7:15 am (after sunrise lol!)

The trip begins

Our journey started well. The sun was not too harsh and the wind was pleasant. We trusted Google Maps for directions to lead us to Thol. The sanctuary is around 30 km from Ahmedabad, so we thought it’d take roughly around 1 hr to reach there. It is located in Thol village in Mehsana district. Unfortunately, Google Maps isn’t precise all the time. We reached a dead end. In fact, we ended up inside the Thol village. Thankfully, the villagers were quite helpful in giving us the correct directions to the sanctuary.

The lake is surrounded by agricultural land which provides ample amount of food for many birds. We could spot different birds even before we entered the sanctuary. The ambience of the locale was still and serene. On entering the gate, you are required to take a coupon for your visit and then you can proceed further.

Thol main gate

The road leading up to the lake is quite rough and bumpy. They need to work on that.

Entry road

The lake is replete with reeds and sparsely spread trees where the birds dwell and breed. It is vast, and though it’s a bird sanctuary we could hardly spot any non-indigenous (exotic) birds. The surrounding forests are deprived of any wildlife. However, you will find plenty of indigenous species like sparrows, crows, mynas and so on. We were in extremely high spirits on making it to Thol, so not finding exotic birds did the least to dampen our spirits. We were just happy to see whatever we could, even the sparrows, which are quite rare nowadays!

Here are some spanshots we took:

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All in all, Thol Bird Sanctuary is a nice weekend getaway for people residing in Ahmedabad.

Note: Try to reach the sanctuary before sunrise. The afternoon heat can be annoying.

Directions to reach: