Silent Valley National Park


Silent Valley National Park, Palakkad, Kerala

Rightly known as 'God's own country', Kerala in the south India is a holiday destination that satisfies the aesthetic taste of any traveler. The beauty of lush green landscapes, azure sky, blue water and white sandy beaches mingled with the rich culture and heritage of the state beckons travelers from every nook and corner of the country. The forests, parks and wildlife sanctuaries of the state also deserve special mention as tourist destinations. Silent Valley national park also known as 'sairandhrivanam' is one of the significant national parks in the state and one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the country.

Etymology:

The sanctuary derives its name from the place Silent Valley where it is located. As the name suggests, the serenity and tranquility of the region will allure you. The park was originally named as Indira Gandhi National park.

History:

The forest area was explored by the botanist Robert Wigh. It was in the 1950s that the Kerala State Electricity Board expressed their wish to build a dam (Silent Valley Hydro-Electric Project) across the Kunti River that flowed in the deep forest area of the present silent valley sanctuary. But this was followed by nationwide forests by environmentalists and it was at this point of time that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the state to do away with the hydroelectric project. Thereafter the area was declared as a national park on 15th November 1984.

Area and Location:

The park occupies an area of 89.52 sq km. It is located in the Nilgiri Hills of Coimbatore around the Palakkad district of Kerala.

Flora and Fauna:

Silent Valley national park is actually the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park is a part of the Western Ghats World Heritage Site. It is a home to more than 1000 plant species, 100 ferns and fern allies, 75 lichens, 108 species of orchids, 200 algae, etc. The main vegetation here is the tropical and sub tropical moist broadleaf forests and south Western Ghats rain forests. You will also find many shoals here.

The faunal species of the park is truly diversified. 138 species of birds including 17 species were newly observed in this park, 34 species of mammals, 730 identifies species of insects, etc. Lion-tailed macaque is the main attraction here.

Grey-headed Bulbul, Broad-tailed Grass bird, Rufous Babbler, Wynaad Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Nilgiri Tahr, tiger, leopard (panther), leopard cat, jungle cat, fishing cat, Common Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Brown Palm Civet, Ruddy, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Dhole, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata, porcupine, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer and many more keep the visitors occupied in the park.

Where to stay?

You can accommodate in the Forest Department's guest house at Mukkali.

When to visit?

The park receives high precipitation during the monsoon. It receives heavier rainfall during the months between June and September. The temperature ranges from 23° C to 18° C. keeping all these in mind the best time to view the wildlife is from December to April.

The park remains open from 8am to 2pm.

Transport Information:

Coimbatore is the nearest airport. Coimbatore, Cochin and Calicut are located 60 km, 135 km and 80km away from the park respectively.

Palakkad is the nearest railway station. Coimbatore junction is located not very far from the park. You can travel from Mukkali and Palakkad by bus. From Mukkali it takes only 30 min to reach the gate of the park.

Travel tips:

There is no accommodation facility in the park. You cannot stay there overnight.

The best way to travel to the park is to go for a jeep safari from Mukkali or Mannarkkad, which is the nearest town. Trek down the Kunti River to experience the majestic views of Mother Nature. If you are a birdwatcher then go to the top of the Inspection Bunglow at Mukkali. Also climb the watch tower in the park so that you can have the best views of the animal kingdom.

The teeming of birds, chattering of monkeys, roars of tigers in the Silent Valley national park would surely impress you. This virtual tour of the park will help you in planning your trip to park.