Arittapatti village in Madurai notified as first biodiversity heritage site in Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu government Tuesday issued a notification declaring the Arittapatti village near Melur in Madurai district as a biodiversity heritage site under Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. The site is situated in an area of 193.21 hectare and is the first Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) to be notified in the state.

According to a statement, the Arittapatti village is surrounded by a chain of seven barren granite hillocks that act as a watershed and support close to 72 lakes, 200 natural spring pools and three check dams. The Anaikondan lake built during the reign of the Pandiyas in the 16th century is one among them.

The village has a rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species, including three flagship raptor species – Laggar Falcon (Falco jugger), Shaheen Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) and wildlife such as Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Python (Python molurus) and Slender Loris (Loris spp).

The site also features various megalithic structures, Tamil Brahmi Inscriptions, Jain Beds and 2200-year-old rock-cut temples adding to its historical value.