Often termed as 'God's own country' and the 'Spice Garden of India', Kerala is one of the most picturesque states in India. Replete with tourist attractions like sea, beaches, lush green landscapes, forests, national parks, bird sanctuaries, palaces, etc. and many more, Kerala has long been the favorite holiday destination of the travelers. Among all these attractions, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary or Thattekad Sanctuary having a varied bird life deserves special mention.
This sanctuary is also known as Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, the pre-eminent birder of all times in India. In the year 1983, it was notified based on a recommendation made by the renowned birder. It is very interesting to note that this sanctuary was described as the richest bird habitat in Peninsular India, comparable only with the eastern Himalayas.
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Since that time much of the forest area has been used for the purpose of cultivation and plantation of teak and mahogany. Today the remnants of the forests provide us a glimpse of the exceptional bird diversity of the vast lowland forests of Kerala.
The name of the sanctuary is derived from the word Thattekad. The literal meaning of the word is flat forest. As the region is a low-land flat forest, so it is named like this.
Area and location:
Located at an altitude of 35-523m, this park lies between the branches of Periyar River, the longest river in the state. It is situated in the Kothamangalam Taluk of Ernakulam district on the northern bank of the Periyar River.
It spreads over 25.16 sq km of land; because of its proximity to Munnar, another top tourist spot, this bird sanctuary is capable of drawing oodles of tourists from the various parts of the country.
Flora and fauna:
You would be amazed at the wide range of the flora and fauna in the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. Tropical evergreen forest located above the Edamalayar River is the main vegetation of this forest. Other than this you would also find grasslands, shrubs, shoals that give you a view of picture-perfect scenery and greenery.
Several species of birds like water birds and forest birds find shelter in this place. The Indian Pitta, Indian Cuckoo, Collared Scops Owl, Yellow-Browed Bulbuls, Whiskered Terns, Darters, Jerdon's Nightjar, Emerald Green Pigeons, Large-Billed Warbler, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta, Brown-Backed, etc. are the commonly found bird species here.
Elephant, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, etc. are the other mammals that can be traced in the sanctuary.
Best time to visit:
The sanctuary is characterized by a composed climate. The tropical climate varies between 10 and 26 degree centigrade. The best time to visit is during the months of September to March.
You can stay in the three stories watch tower equipped with two beds, a toilet and a kitchen. If you like rustic life, you will be happy to know that there is no light in the tower. You have to do with solar powered lamps.
Hornbill, the Forest Department Inspection Bunglow, lodges in Kothamangalam and PWD rest houses close to the Bhoothathankett Dam would also be perfect for a comfortable stay.
How to reach the park?
For air travelers, the nearest airport is at Nedumbassery. For those who want to travel by train, the nearest railhead is at Aluva. It is 48 km away from the sanctuary.
Kothmangalam is well connected to Ernakulam. So you can travel from any part of the state to the park. Besides these, frequent buses ply from Kothamangalam to Thattekad.
On a trip to the sanctuary you can visit Aleppy, Munnar, Ernakulam, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Cradomom Hills, etc. The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary or Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary truly is a treasure core in South India. Plan a trip to this beautiful destination and find ways to reconnect with Mother Nature.