Thiruvakkarai Fossil Wood Park (Villupuram - Tamil Nadu)

I've been to tree parks and I've been to national parks. But National Fossil Wood Park? Yup, there is one, and I recently ventured there. 
Well, Thiruvakkarai houses 2 things. 1 a temple, the Chandramouliswarar temple, and another the Fossil wood park. This time I couldn't visit the temple. So over to the park.

What exactly is a fossil wood park? Long long ago, once a upon a time, about 2 million years ago, our great great grandparents as stone age men, chopped wood. Wood means not branches and twigs, I'm talking about huge, wide, tree trunks! Some which were even 30m long and 1.5m in dia. I dunno what they used it for. But then, along the river, these tree trunks got buried in course of time. 

Over time, the organic matter inside them, got replaced by silica and they got fossilized. They retained their color and shape and texture, but got rock solid!!! Some where very interesting. See the above pic. Doesn't the texture look like 'Om' symbol?!!!
The best part is that you can still see the annular rings, the texture, colors of the layers, nodes, everything... Its looks so much like wood, but feels like stone!!!
In technical terms its the Mio-Pliocene Sedimentary rocks. These rocks here are called Cuddalore sandstone formations. Around 200 such tree trunks have been found in this region in an area that covers 247 acres. All such fossil woods have been collected from various places in the surrounding and placed here in an open air museum kinda set up.
European naturalist M.Sonneret was the first one to document the existence of such trees here in this region in 1781. Presently this is maintained by GSI or the Geological Survey of India!

Think of it, its 2 million years ago. The trees that were there at that point of time may not even exist today. Its like a treasury!!! A particular variety of tree resembled today's tamarind! Trees were both of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms varieties, meaning that the trees had seeds were both open and closed varieties. 
The place also has a huge central banyan tree which is 300 years old. No, it was not as big as the Sivaranthagam banyan. 
But this one too had a little village deity beneath and some votive figures of horses dedicated as well! Also there is a little inhouse gallery that has posters that explain you all about this natural occurrence!
To reach there is not very easy! The last leg of the journey was rather painful with a very bad road and non-working gps! But thank God for a very helpful local man who was taking his grand daughter on a walk, thanks to the cloudy weather, who actually knew exactly where the park was located. Also thanks to the GSI, from the main road, there were pointers placed till the location...
That's something under GSI. Coming back with something under ASI! Keep visiting...

TO GET THERE:
From Pondicherry Railway Station: 28.5km on SH 203. 
Its a road Parallel to the Pondy -> Villupuram Road. Straight for about 24 km and then turn right. In 4km is the destination. 
Just before reaching Thiruvakkarai village, a right turn leads to the fossil park. A left turn a hike up the hill takes you to the temple. 

On Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/t2PTl

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

10 comments:

  1. If I am not wrong, Mio-Pliocene is refered to the period between 5-5.2 million years ago and not 2 million as you have posted. Pls Check! Would be happy to correct myself!

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    1. Tried a bit of googling and found what Ashok says in the below comment to be right! Miocene and Pliocene are 2 different eras. When GSI puts it up as Mio-Plio, I guess they're not confining it to one era.

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    2. I agree that these fossil woods are Mio-Pliocene in age. That means they range in age from 2.5 - 23 Million years.. The first humans to use complex tools were Homo erectus which evolved around 1.3-1.8 million years ago. So they couldnt have possible cut the trees and lined them along the river..
      Occurrence of Fossil wood/ fossil tree trunks have nothing to do with our great great grandparents.. or humans for that matter.. It happens by completely natural processes.. and simply by the burial of trees due to natural causes..
      If you go a little south to Perambalur district you will find another fossil wood park near Sattanur. The tree trunks there are around 100 Million years old. Or for example the Akal fossil wood park; there the tree trunks are about 180 Million years old..
      - Amruta, (a geologist by profession, and a palaeontologist at heart)

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    3. I agree that these fossil woods are Mio-Pliocene in age. That means they range in age from 2.5 - 23 Million years.. The first humans to use complex tools were Homo erectus which evolved around 1.3-1.8 million years ago. So they couldnt have possible cut the trees and lined them along the river..
      Occurrence of Fossil wood/ fossil tree trunks have nothing to do with our great great grandparents.. or humans for that matter.. It happens by completely natural processes.. and simply by the burial of trees due to natural causes..
      If you go a little south to Perambalur district you will find another fossil wood park near Sattanur. The tree trunks there are around 100 Million years old. Or for example the Akal fossil wood park; there the tree trunks are about 180 Million years old..
      - Amruta, (a geologist by profession, and a palaeontologist at heart)

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  2. You are visiting some very interesting spots Bhusha...
    @ Ramjee...As far as I know Pliocene was 2.5 - 5.3 Million yrs ago...and further from 5.3 - 23 million years was Miocene.

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  3. interesting place to visit... nice photos

    thanks bhusha

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  4. From where do you dig out such places? Brilliant!

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  5. Thank you so much Ramjee, Ashok, Krishna, & Niranjan! :)

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  6. these fossils are neglected by the religious believes.. and i saw these stones are transfer to other places as an ordinary filling mud. this fossil rocks are deposited in this villages in large amount. it must be saved for future.

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  7. these fossils are neglected by the religious believes.. and i saw these stones are transfer to other places as an ordinary filling mud. this fossil rocks are deposited in this villages in large amount. it must be saved for future.

    ReplyDelete

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