Are you in planning to tour Kerala? Then you must visit the lush green forests, sanctuaries and parks of the state. Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is a significant tourist destination that is known for the large population of gaur.
The sanctuary was established in the year 1973. UNESCO World Heritage Committee is considering it for selection as a World Heritage Site. It is recently declared as a Tiger Reserve by the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest. It is the 38th tiger reserve in the country set up with the primary aim of controlling the dwindling tiger population in the country.
If you are in Kerala and don't visit this wildlife sanctuary, you will surely miss the real fun. So take a virtual tour of the sanctuary with this article before paying an actual visit.
Area and Location:
The total area of the wildlife sanctuary is 285 sq km. With the declaration of the sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve, its area has also been expanded. At present the total area of the tiger reserve is 643.66 sq km. with a buffer zone of 225.3 sq km. The total area has been extended by nearby forest area from Vazhachal, Nemara and Chalakudy Forest Divisions.
It is located at a distance of 110 km away from Palakkad town and is close to the Annamalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. It is situated between Longitude- 76° 35'- 76° 50' E, and Latitude- 10° 20' - 10° 26' N.
Fauna: Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is home to a large number of endangered and endemic species. It is home to 1,500 flowering species, 268 bird species 49 types of fish, 32 reptiles, 39 mammals, 16 amphibians, 61 orchids. Mammals include Indian guar, Lion-tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Tahr, Elephants, Tigers, Panthers, Wild boar, Sambar, Bonnet Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs, Sloth Bears, etc.
Amphibians for instance Ridged toad, Verrucose Frog, Beddome's Leaping Frog, Reddish burrowing frog ; reptiles like King cobra, Travancore Wolf Snake, Cochin Cane Turtle, Travancore tortoise, etc.; birds such as Lesser Adjustant, Great Black Woodpecker, Oriental Darter, Veylon Frogmouth, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Peninsular Bay Owl and Great Pied Hornbill ; fishes for example Anguilla Bengalensis (Gray) (Maninjeel), Puntius Jerdoni (Day) (Chameen), Tor Tor (Ham - Buch) (Chenkuyil), Pristolepis Marginata (Jerdon) (Karipidi), Puntius Carnaticus (Jerdon) (Pachilavetti) and many others are found in the sanctuary.
You cannot simply miss the 124 species of butterflies like Graphium Sarpedon Teredon Felde, Papilio Polytes Thesus Cram. Ariadne Ariadne Indica Moore, Appias Libuthea Libuthea Fb, etc.
Flora: The flora is marked by natural and man-made vegetation. West coast tropical evergreen forests, southern moist mixed deciduous forest and Southern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forests are natural vegetation. Eucalyptus plantations and teak plantations are done by human beings.
Almost 653 kinds of herbs, 268 species of shrubs, 359 types of trees and 152 species of climbers are traced here. There are many rare and threatened species. Teak, Sandalwood, Rosewood and Neem are the popular trees. Kannimara Teak, one of the oldest living trees in the world forms the main attraction.
The sanctuary is marked by a wet tropical climate. Generally the temperature ranges from 15 °c to 32°c. You can travel there from the months between October and December. Try to avoid January (the coolest month) and March (the hottest month).
Where to stay?
You will find good accommodation facilities in Parambikulam. Veettikunnu Island Inn, Tiger Hall, Salim Ali Study Center, etc. are best for accommodation. Contact the Tourist Information Centres at Anappady and Parambikulam for reservation.
How to travel?
Pollachi in Tamil Nadu at a distance of 39 km is the nearest town.
You can travel by train from Coimbatore (84 km) and Palakkad (100 km). Mysore which is connected to Bangalore is another important railway station. It is just 96 km away from the park.
You can travel by road from Pollachi in Tamilnadu. Palakkad-Pollachi is around 45 km and Pollachi-Parambikkulam is about 65 km.
Other places to look for:
Shoal Forests, Parabikulam Dam, Valley View Point, Salim Ali Gallery are the other attractions that you cannot miss.
Many ecotourism packages are offered by Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary like trekking, night- halt packages, day packages, nature education and jungle camps. So enjoy the vicissitudes of life in this beautiful forest area.