Kerala is always being home to exotic species of various kinds of birds and animals. The cerulean seas, crystal clear waters, bewitching dusks, coconut-palm fringed trees oscillating in accordance to the cool puff of air, moderate tropical climate, thickly populated forests lands, funnel-shaped valleys blanketed with emerald tea and coffee meadows etc are the few fascinating features which lure nature lovers across the globe to Kerala. Every year thousands of tourists visit the beautiful state with their dear ones only to enchant the mesmerizing glory of Kerala. There may be different reasons for each traveller to put their feet in the coastal land. Some may visit the state to spend quality time with their dear ones others may visit the land for business or education purposes. There another group of people who visit the Malabar region to revitalize themselves in Ayurveda centres.
There are many travel operators who organize frequent trips to the state. Some grab travellers with exciting offers. Some formulate a tour package to exotic Kerala at an affordable price and even they are ready to customize the packages on traveller’s request. People often plan a tour to the state with an aim to explore the wondrous collections of fauna and flora. The state is blessed with 16 fascinating national parks where endangered species of birds and animals are protected. You might have a small idea about the serene beauty and hot tourist spots in the state but you might not be aware of the distinguished wildlife sanctuaries in the state. A few prominent national parks are briefly studied below.
- Anamudi Shola National Park
Anamudi Shoal Park is located in the Idukki district, Kerala. The amusing national park is spread over 7.5 km square. It was nominated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO world heritage programme. It was declared as a national park in 2003. Since then it has been under the control of Munnar wildlife division and Kerala wildlife forest department. The park assures cent per cent solitude and is popular for its bewildering nature and excellent biodiversity. Unlike other national parks here you can see the endangered and unknown creatures wandering here and there. Travellers can closely examine and learn the typical lifestyle of them by interacting and clicking photographs. As you ascend to the top you can come across most of the hilltop regions being occupied with vegetation. The park consists of 38 kinds of climbers, 60 types of trees and 175 varieties of shrubs and herbs. Travellers can spot jungle cat, wild dogs, leopards, sloth bear, civet cats, Indian Bison, wolves, wild boars, flying squirrels, elephants, Panther, tigers, and more. Don’t think that only wild animals are ruling the park, there a wide collection of birds are also seen here such as 100 types of butterflies and 200 varieties of moths and more than 76 species of rare birds. Travellers can also enjoy the beauty of nature by drenching in Thoovanam waterfalls, Chinnar River and Pambar River located near to the park.
Best Time to Visit the Park: Although visitors can visit the park throughout the year the best time to explore the sanctuary is during the months from October to March.
2. Silent Valley National Park
With its green meadows, cool environment, pleasant climate and amazing views of flora and fauna make Silent Valley national unique and distinguished parks in Kerala. The park is spread across 89 square kilometres of land. It is situated in the Kundali Hills in Palakkad. Even though smaller in size what makes the park unique is it’s Sylvan environment, lofty hills and misty peaks and sapphire waters running along. One could find numerous kinds of plants and animals residing inside the park unharmed by the outer world. The park is home to 1000 various kinds of flowering plants, 200 types of liverworts, 108 varieties of orchids and 200 types of algae. The park is sheltered to 22 species of amphibians, 13 species of fishes, 292 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 500 species of moths and butterflies. The most commonly seen species are the lion-tailed macaque, Indian Pangolin (Scaly anteater), Nilgiri Langur, elephant, sambar, Flying Squirrel, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Porcupine, wild pig, Barking Deer, panther, Otter, Sloth Bear, Mouse Deer, tiger, Small Indian Civet, Fishing Cat, Common Palm Civet and gaur. One could quench their thirst by drinking pure crystal water from Kunthi River passing through the region after descending from the Nilgiri hills. The Silent Valley National Park is also famously known as ‘Sairandhrivanam‘. It is so-called because the place where the park is residing was once considered as hiding abode of Sairandhiri, the secret identity undertaken by Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas from their cruel cousins (Kauravas). The Kunthi river is named after the mother of Pandavas. The entry fee to the park is INR 50 and for guide is INR 150.
Best Time to Visit the Park: The ideal time to visit the Silent Valley National Park is from December to April.
3. Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is also known as Rajamalai Wildlife sanctuary is termed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It takes hardly 45 – minute drive from Munnar to reach the park. In 1978 it was declared as a national park. It is spread over 97 sq km in the Kannan Devan hills. The park is popular for protecting the endangered mountain goat known as Nilgiri Tahr. Along with it is also shelter to Elephant, leopard, Nilgiri langur, Indian bison, Nilgiri marten, lion-tailed macaque, Atlas moth (largest in the world), small-clawed otter and a rare tiger or leopard are the few of the main animal species that can be seen here. Next to the park, one could see Neelakurunji flowers which bloom once in 12 years.
The park offers numerous activities to its visitors. They are as follows.
- Tea Museum: A good portion of the park is occupied by the green meadows of tea. Adjacent to the tea plantations one could see a tea museum which has to share many tales related to the construction of the museums and types of machinery and equipment used then and now the struggles faced by the workers in initial days and so on. By visiting the museum’s travellers will get a clear picture of the ancient days.
- Rajamala: Rajamala is the prominent tourist hub of Eravikulam National Park where travellers can view the famous Nilgiri Tahr. Except in the months of February and March, tourists can visit Rajamala at any time. While visiting Rajamala one could enchant the beauty of Kurinji and Shola grassland ecosystem. The park is a paradise for shopaholics as it has restaurants, eco shops and an amenity centre to buy basic items of requirements.
Visiting time: 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Entry Fee: INR 90 (Adult), INR 65 (Children), INR 360 (Foreigner);
Reservation fee: INR 50
- Lakkom Water Falls: The cascading and marvellous Lakkom Water Falls originates from the Evarikulam Park and flows to river Pambar, the east-flowing river in Kerala. The milky water descending from the crevices of the hills offers stunning experiences to each traveller. The waterfall is located in between Munnar and Marayoor route and there also lies an eco- shop cafeteria and refreshing centre to help the visitors.
Entry Fee: INR 20 per visitor.
- Lakkom Log House: Very adjacent to Lakkom waterfalls is the log house where travellers can spend quality time with their dear ones without any hustle-bustle of the outer world. Travellers can avail the accommodation if they report the office before 3 PM to the office. Overnight stay in the log house will definitely provide remarkable experience especially to honeymoon couples.
Rate: INR 3000 for two Indians; Additional person: INR 1000
- Marayoor Sandal Division: Marayoor Sandal Forest Division is the only place in the state where travellers could find a large natural population of sandal trees. Strolling down through the forest will definitely help you to learn more about the trees and its habitat.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary: The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Western Ghats in Kerala. This region is richly populated with a wide range of indigenous flora and fauna. The sanctuary houses myriad types of medicinal plants, and its animal species such as grizzled giant squirrel, wild elephant, gaur, tufted grey langur, crocodile, spotted deer, star tortoise, slender loris, tiger, leopard and many birds.
Best Time to Visit Eravikulam National Park: September to November and from April to June is the ideal time to visit Eravikulam National Park.
4. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad. It is home to large varieties of wild animals. It is a part of the Nilgiri Bioreserve. The sanctuary was established in 1973, it is an amalgamation of semi-evergreen, dry deciduous forest and moist. The sanctuary is proud to say that it has declared as Project elephant site. As it is situated in the dense forests one could spot various kinds of animals like Panthers, civet cats, jungle cats, Indian Bison, tigers, elephants, deer, monkey, wild dogs and bears. With the scenic landscape and the excellent wildlife, the sanctuary lures wildlife and photographers enthusiasts. With Wayanad’s pleasant climate, a combination of bison, civets, wild dogs, monitor lizards, monkeys, varieties of snakes and elephants are seen widely in the sanctuary. Blessed with avifauna, the sanctuary is not only famous for owls, peacocks, fowls, and cuckoos but also for red-head vultures and white ramped-vultures. Unfortunately, these vultures are termed as endangered because they are used to kill to develop an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac.
Entry Fee: The entry fare to the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary is very cheap. Indian adults will have to pay INR 10 and children below 12 and students with valid ID card have to pay only INR 5, while foreigners are requested to pay INR 100.
5. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Western Ghats in Idukki District. It is flourished over an area of 90.44 km². The sanctuary is abundantly blessed with a wide range of exotic species flora and fauna which makes it a stunning tourist destination. It is a shelter to a wide range of medicinal plants. It’s animal family comprises of species such as wild elephant, slender loris, tufted grey langur, gaur, crocodile, spotted deer, grizzled giant squirrel, tiger, leopard and many birds. The sanctuary is completely under the control of the government and hence travellers can enjoy the natural habitat without any disturbances. Small kind of trekking is well appreciated by the authorities. Deciduous forests are seen in large number over here. Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is also termed as world heritage site along with the Western Ghats and Anamalai. The other attractions of the park are the few famous peaks such as Nanadala Malai, Vellaikal Malai, Viriyoottu Malai, Kottakombu Malai and Kumarikkal Mala peak. The sanctuary receives water from Chinnar and Pambar rivers. It is also home to Thoovanam waterfalls. Travellers can also interact with 11 tribal settlements inside the sanctuary. Due to its unique topography and amazing varieties of flora and fauna the sanctuary is termed as a biodiversity hotspot. It is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. The sanctuary has a unique and spectacular facility for its visitors – treehouse stays. Treehouses are perfect stay home for nature lovers. Travellers can rent the treehouses for an overnight stay and witness the bewildering sunset and sunrise. The melodious chirp of birds will wake you in the morning. Overall the experience will be really awesome.
Don’t think these national parks are exclusively meant for school children or families. Even newlywed couples are visiting these parks to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the serene nature. These parks not only shelter various species of birds and animals but also turn out to be the perfect backdrop for romantic photos of honeymoon couples. As Kerala is proudly known as ‘Garden of Eden’, honeymooners avail tour packages at cheapest rates from travel operators like Dream Holidays in the state. Hope the above-mentioned articles might have helped you to enlighten your minds the need to preserve these species and obey the instructions issued by the concerned authorities.