Vendanthangal is one of those sanctuaries that is situated close to Chennai and is certainly a bird watchers paradise especially for beginners. Its not all that big as one would imagine it to be. Its a linear walkway on one side of the lake and most of the birds are visible across it. A good time to bird watch would be between the months of Dec and Feb.
This is fort is somewhat oddly listed as a trip to make from Mahabalipuram while in many ways it is a sight by itself. It takes about 30-45 minutes to properly visit the fort but it makes a difference if you familiarise yourself with the history of the fort and the Dutch-in-India beforehand. The main reason for establishing the fort at this site was the production of muslin the trade of which the Dutch were already involved in. When this fort (it was actually a factory) was established their other 'establishment' in Pulicat (near Chennai) was already relatively prosperous. The Dutch cemetery is particularly interesting as it gives you an impression of the 120 years of Dutch history on the Coromandel coast that the graves cover.
Sadras (anglicized form of Sadurangapattinam) Fort is about 10 Kms from Mahabalipuram and about 70 Kms from Chennai. The town was a centre for muslin cloth, pearl and edible oil even before the establishment of Dutch Coramendal. The fort, built in the early seventeenth century, was ruined during the second of the two battles that were fought between the British and the Dutch traders in 1818. The fort is believed to have been used as a granary and there were spaces for the elephant army as well. The secret tunnel from the cemetery is the highlight. The scripts inscribed on the picturesque tombs in the grave garden are clearly visible even after 400 years (dates between 1620-1780 AD). The culture and lifestyle of the Dutch settlers seem to be sophisticated even during that period and the materials including the utensils that were retrieved during the excavations are now displayed for public viewing in the state museum in Madras (Chennai). The ruins are remains of a colonial era on the Indian subcontinent.
This Jain temple is situated at Thiruparuthikundram about 8-10 km from bus stand. There are two temples one for Varthamana and another for Pushpathantar and another for Padma prabha and Vasu Pujya. It has beautiful wall paintings.