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SIRPUR LAKE AND BIRD SANCTUARY – A TREASURE IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

                                                                                         by Vindhyeshwari Kumari
It was a surprise, a very pleasant one indeed, when I visited Sirpur lake for the first time a couple of months ago. I have lived in Indore for more than three decades and like most residents had only heard of Sirpur Lake. After joining the The Nature Volunteers I got in-depth information about it – the history, the challenges, the future plans etc. But I still had not been able to visit it. Finally, a couple of months ago, I was there.
When we started driving towards Sirpur I was ready for a longish drive as most bird or wildlife habitats are far from the cities. The first surprise was that we were there in barely thirty five minutes. I couldn’t believe that such a big and beautiful lake existed so close to the city. My eyes, tired of seeing the chaotic urban landscape, were seeing such a pleasant sight after a very long time. There was this huge water body, a heritage lake – 100 years old, spread over almost 600 acres, a natural habitat to more than 150 species of resident and migratory birds. The greenery, the fauna, the flora, the tranquility of the place, were like manna from heaven for me. There was this beautiful canvas, straight out of a picture postcard, before me. I was very excited that my crazy city Indore, which has next to nothing as far as heritage architecture or natural wonders go, actually has a beautiful place like this – a historical lake! A place where you can go and sit around, walk, watch birds – just be close to nature.
As a nature lover I felt like kicking myself for not having visited this place all this while. I have travelled far and wide in pursuit of seeing nature at its best, but didn’t realize that we have a treasure trove right at our doorstep.
It is indeed a herculean and very laudable task and service to society that the founders of The Nature Volunteers (TNV) took on when they took a vow to conserve and preserve Sirpur Lake and its habitat. The Sirpur success story is indeed a very inspiring one and the efforts have been rewarded, albeit after 20 long years. Indore’s beautiful natural heritage has recently been declared as `Important Bird Area’ (IBA) – the 19th in Madhya Pradesh!!! Yet another well deserved FEATHER in TNV’s hat!!!
The future plans for the Sirpur Bird Sanctuary lake area are also very exciting. An interpretation centre and a butterfly park, among other ambitious plans, are on the anvil. Our member of parliament Mrs Sumitra Mahajan who is also the honourable Speaker of the Lok Sabha has taken personal interest in the creation of the interpretation centre and has released Rs 25 lakhs for the same from the MPLAD fund.
I sincerely hope and pray that more and more people join The Nature Volunteers, like I did, to strengthen their resolve to make the city, in particular, and the planet in general a better place to live in.
Factsheet:
Sirpur Lake and Bird Sanctuary can be reached by travelling on the Dhar Road. It is in the Chandan Nagar area of Indore.
This is an IBA – an Important Bird Area and 150 species of resident and migratory birds have been recorded here. The book ‘Birds of Sirpur’ by Bhalu Mondhe, Abhilash Khandekar and Kaustubh Rishi published by TNV in 2012 and released by Ms Sunita Narain Centre For Science and Environment, New Delhi has documented 130 species each of which has been photographed here.
The lake is open on all days and is under the care of the Indore Municipal Corporation with expert advise and guidelines provided by The Nature Volunteers which is the sole advisory body for Sirpur Bird Sanctuary and Lake.
Some of the species of birds which can be seen here include: Brahminy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Greater Flamingo, Open Billed Stork, Bluethroat, Purple Heron, Short-Eared Owl, Singing Bushlark, Zitting Cisticola.
Do visit Sirpur Bird Sanctuary and Lake frequently with friends, family and loved ones. And remember to contribute by not leaving any trash behind and by spreading the word about it.
For any assistance or information please do not hesitate to contact us.

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