Kerala is one of the top holiday destinations in India as well as Asia. The beauty of the breathtaking beaches and backwaters, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, sunrays peeping through the coconut trees and dazzling in the ocean water mingled with grandeur of palaces, artificial construction of religious significance give you enough chances to explore 'God's own country' in your own way. But this 'spice garden of India' is equally known for its wildlife conservation; and Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary bears witness to this fact.
Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
The wildlife sanctuary is marked for the stark beauty and its pleasant climate. The enchanting hills, lush green landscapes, shoals and rolling grasslands will always allure. The highest peak of the region Anamudi at an altitude of 2695 meters adds to its charm.
The sanctuary is named after the name of the place, Eravikulam where it is located.
With the primary aim of protecting the Nilgiri Tahr which is the endangered species of the wild goat, this park was established and notified in the year 1975. This endangered species of the wild goat is found only in the south of the Himalayas. Today the sanctuary houses the largest number of Nilgai Tahr in the world. In the year 1978 it was designated as a national park.
Area and location:
The park covers an area of 97 sq km. in the green tropical forests of the Western Ghats. It is just 17 km from the beautiful hill station of Munnar. Eravikulam is a part of the Idukki district in Kerala.
One of the interesting facts about the park is that it is located on the border of Kerala and extends to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. The extended part is known as the Annamalai National Park.
The main attraction here is the Nilgai Tahr. Today the place provides shelter to 500 to 600 Tahrs. But other faunal species can also be found here like tiger, giant squirrel, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, gaur, leopard, langur, Atlas Moth, wild dog, brown mongoose, common otter, mouse deer, barking deer, large brown flying squirrel and 3 species of lizards, four species of snakes(poisonous and non-poisonous) and 5 species of amphibians.
You will also find an interesting bird cosmos that includes more than 200 species of birds like Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Peregrine Falcon, Pallid Harrier, Black Bulbul, Nilgiri Flycatcher etc.
Tropical evergreen forests consisting of grassland, shoals, bushes and shrubs are the main vegetation of the Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary.
Best time to visit:
This sanctuary experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year. It receives heavy precipitation during the months between June and august. May is the hottest month. So the ideal time to visit the sanctuary is between November to April.
You can stay in the hotels and lodges near the sanctuary. Many of these hotels also offer packages that include local sightseeing, safaris to the wildlife sanctuaries and adventurous activities like trekking. Sterling Days Inn Resorts, The Siena Village, Autumn Trees, Tea Country Hill Station Resort etc. are some of the best hotels in Munnar.
How to reach the park?
For air travelers, the nearest airport to Eravikulam sanctuary is Kochi, which is 130km away. Aluva is the nearest railway station; it is 115 km away from the sanctuary.
The headquarters of the park is Rajmalai and this is the last point up to which vehicles can reach. You have to trek almost 18 km from Rajmalai to reach the sanctuary. Munnar is only 17 km from Rajmalai. So you can take buses or private coaches that regularly ply to Munnar from other parts of the state.
What else do you get?
You can visit the attractions near Munnar like Mattupetty and Rajamalai. The spice garden and tea estates are also worth a visit.
Whether it is your honeymoon, a get-together with your friends or a family trip, a trip to the Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary can always be a beautiful part of your journey. Take this rare chance to unite with Mother Nature.