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Kerala Tourism
Kerala is a green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian peninsula. Kerala is one among the longest-lived, healthiest, most gender-equitable, and most literate regions outside of the developed countries. "Though Kerala is mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there's truly no place like it." says noted environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Kerala, known as the 'God's Own Country' is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Known for its beautiful extensive backwaters and beautiful beaches, Kerala is one of the major tourist attractions in India. Nicknamed as one of the "10 paradises of the world" by the National Geographic traveller, Kerala is famous especially for its eco-tourism initiatives. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Kerala is nominated as one among the three finalists at the World Travel and Tourism Council's ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ awards in the destination category.Kerala offers a wide range of Tourism possibilities. Nature tourism, Backwater Tourism, Monsoon Tourism, Eco Tourism Cultural Tourism and Health Tourism are the important forms of Tourism offered by Kerala.

Best Tourist Spots in Kerala  
Hill Stations
  • Munnar
  • Nelliampathi
  • Ponmudi
Beaches
  • Kovalam Beach
  • Cherai Beach
  • Varkala Beach
Backwaters
  • Alleppey
  • Kumarakom
  • Kochi
Wildlife Sanctuaries
  • Periyar National Park
  • Eravikulam National Park
  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Silent Valley National Park
Munnar Hill Station
Munnar - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country. Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.Unending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests - aroma of spice scented cool air - yes! Munnar has all these and more. It's the place you would love to visit - it's the place you would wish never to leave. Mark it as your favourite Kerala Tourist Spot.
Located at 1600 Mts above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar is essentially a tea town.    

The visitor is greeted with miles and miles of unending tea plantations on entry into Munnar. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji a flower which bathes the hills in blue colour once in twelve years. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi - which towers over 2695 Mts and is an ideal spot for campers who like to do some trekking

Main attractions in Munnar
  • Mattupetty Mattupetty is situated at a height of 1700 m above sea level. Mattupetty Lake and Dam is a beautiful picnic spot with the panoramic view of the tea plantations and the lake.
  • Echo Point Echo Point has a natural echo phenomenon and offers panoramic views.
  • Rajamala Rajamala is the natural habitat of Nilgiri Tahr. Half the world population of this rare mountain goat is found here, which is fast becoming extinct.
  • Eravikulam National Park A sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr ( Hemitragus hylocrious), the Eravikulam National Park stands out for the stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills.
  • Anamudi The highest peak (2695 m) south of the Himalayas, towers over the sanctuary in majestic pride. The slopes of the hills abound in all kinds of rare flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world, is a unique inhabitant of the park.
Nelliampathi Hill Station
Nelliampathi is a popular hill station 60 km away from Palakkad in Kerala a small state in south India. It is famous for its tea and coffee plantations and the excellent weather condition and is one among the best tourist spots in Kerala. The journey to Nelliampathi itself is an experience. The only route is from Nemmara, from where the first town of Nelliampathi, namely Kaikatty junction, is at a distance of 26 km. At the 9th kilometer is the Pothundi Dam, a small irrigation dam which provides water for the rice fields in the surrounding area.The dam is at the foot of the Nelliampathi hills. From here, the road winds up for the next 17 km, with many hairpin turns on the way. Immediately after Pothundy dam, comes the government forest, where one can see massive teak trees. The road is very narrow and requires a skilled driver behind the wheels. On the way, one can see wild animals like monkey, deer and porcupine. The view of the Pothundy dam from the height is a breathtaking sight.There will be many waterfalls by the roadside during the rainy season. The lush valleys in the region have very valuable teak plantations with extraordinary height and girth. The orange estates on the Nelliampathi Hills produce high quality oranges. Nellikota or Padagiri is the highest peak in the region. A picturesque picnic spot near the Sithargundu Estate offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.    

Nelliampathi is a popular hill station with excellent trekking trails. It is a 3 hour, 75 km trip away from Palakkad (Palghat) and, at 1600 mts above sea level, is surrounded by panoramic views of hills draped by plantations of tea, coffee, orange and cardamom. On Nellikotta and the other peaks grow huge great teak trees value for their wood. Nelliyampathy hills comprise a chain of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dense evergreen forests and orange plantations. The height of the hills ranges from 467 mts to the tallest peak Padagiri looming at 1572 mts. Accessing Nelliyampathy from Palakkad (Palghat) is a sensation on its own, as one negotiate over a dozen hairpin curves on the ghat road passing through the fascinating jungles of the Sahya Ranges.    

En route, 17 kms from Palghat, the shimmering Pothundi Reservoir and its manicured surroundings make the ideal stop over. Seethakundu at Nelliyampathy offers a fantastic view of the valley below - a wide-angled vision of a third of the entire Palghat area. Nelliyampathy has immense trekking potential. The Community Hall at Kaikatty provides a good camping ground for trekkers.

Ponmudi Hill Station
A mere one and a half hour’s road journey separates the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from Ponmudi Hills, one of the nest Tourist Spots in Kerala. The name Ponmudi, a hill station so close to the sea, in Malayalam means golden crown. On the way to Ponmudi, the thick tropical forest greets one at the foot of the Ponmudi hill range.
 
The road passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes. As one leaves the city behind, one enters the region of plantations – rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea. The change is abrupt. The tappers can be seen going about briskly gathering the milky fluid from rubber trees collected in coconut shells.
Coconut thatch mats cover almost one half of the road, over which women spread black pepper for drying. One may come across a lone elephant ambling along carrying his mahout atop and his breakfast of coconut thatch in his trunk. Tea estates at Ponmudi are not as big as those in the Munnar hills. Large water sprays shower the gardens.     

The ‘mate’, a septuagenarian shading himself with an umbrella, can be seen reading aloud the day’s news to the pickers. The pickers, in response, either grunt indicating disapproval of the news item or remain silent in agreement. Trekking to the north of Ponmudi Crest, one passes along a mini zoo, primarily of barasinghas, on the edge of the forest. Entering the forest, the verdant shades of green numb the senses. As does the avian orchestra.

The brilliant red southern trongon dot the trees like flowers. The air is full with the loud raucous chuckling of heavy billed Malabar hornbills. The shrill notes of the blue-black Malabar whistling thrush add to the cacophony. Even the rare long-tailed paradise flycatchers flit gracefully from tree to tree. It is like an open aviary. The climate is always pleasant, and the stay here can be arranged by the General Administration Department of Kerala. It is connected to Trivandrum city by a narrow winding road which offers a very scenic view even on the way to the Ponmudi. The tea-gardens here are also very famous. The tourist resort is developed almost half a kilometer before the actual peak, which is often called the Echo Point. Ponmudi serves as a base for trekking and hiking.

Ponmudi Hill Station
A mere one and a half hour’s road journey separates the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from Ponmudi Hills, one of the nest Tourist Spots in Kerala. The name Ponmudi, a hill station so close to the sea, in Malayalam means golden crown. On the way to Ponmudi, the thick tropical forest greets one at the foot of the Ponmudi hill range.
 
The road passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes. As one leaves the city behind, one enters the region of plantations – rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea. The change is abrupt. The tappers can be seen going about briskly gathering the milky fluid from rubber trees collected in coconut shells.
Coconut thatch mats cover almost one half of the road, over which women spread black pepper for drying. One may come across a lone elephant ambling along carrying his mahout atop and his breakfast of coconut thatch in his trunk. Tea estates at Ponmudi are not as big as those in the Munnar hills. Large water sprays shower the gardens.    

The ‘mate’, a septuagenarian shading himself with an umbrella, can be seen reading aloud the day’s news to the pickers. The pickers, in response, either grunt indicating disapproval of the news item or remain silent in agreement. Trekking to the north of Ponmudi Crest, one passes along a mini zoo, primarily of barasinghas, on the edge of the forest. Entering the forest, the verdant shades of green numb the senses. As does the avian orchestra.

The brilliant red southern trongon dot the trees like flowers. The air is full with the loud raucous chuckling of heavy billed Malabar hornbills. The shrill notes of the blue-black Malabar whistling thrush add to the cacophony. Even the rare long-tailed paradise flycatchers flit gracefully from tree to tree. It is like an open aviary. The climate is always pleasant, and the stay here can be arranged by the General Administration Department of Kerala. It is connected to Trivandrum city by a narrow winding road which offers a very scenic view even on the way to the Ponmudi. The tea-gardens here are also very famous. The tourist resort is developed almost half a kilometer before the actual peak, which is often called the Echo Point. Ponmudi serves as a base for trekking and hiking.

Kovalam Beach

Kovalam is a world-famous beach resort, which has been a favorite spot for tourists since 1930s. This beach has lovely coconut palms fringe the golden sands. Foreigners throng Ayurvedic parlors, yoga and meditation centers, that have sprung up all over the place. There are a number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3 km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a Muslim shrine.    

It was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. It still has a high status among tourists (mostly European) even now the glory of this beach attracting more and more tourists(western). Kovalam is finding a new significance in the light of several Ayurvedic salons, and recuperation and regeneration resorts which provide a slew of Ayurvedic treatments for the tourists. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and thorazite. There are two main beaches at Kovalam, separated by a high cliff. There is small light house in the Eve's beach. The normal tourist season is from November to March.

Cherai Beach
15 Kilometre long Cherai Beach is the best clean golden beach of Kerala and is rightly called “ The Prnicess of the Queen of the Arabian sea”. 45 kms from Ernakulam city, this lovely beach bordering vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction.    
The newly beautified 400 Meters of the main beach with the walkway adds to the charm and the Highmask lamps makes the beach enjoyable even at night. Cherai is well known for the mouth lingering fresh sea food.

Varkala Beach

Travel 54 Km north from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, and you will come to Varkala Beach. Varkala Beach is a quiet and isolated sandy expanse where you can have a relaxing beach holiday without the crowds and bustle of some of the busier beaches in Kerala. Enjoy the laid back attractions of Varkala Beach while on Kerala beach tours with Kerala Backwater.    

Varkala beach is famous for mineral springs and a fantastic massage, so don't forget to bring aromatherapy massage oil and sun protection. The mineral springs here are said to have curative properties. The massage technique has been a closely guarded secret for thousands of years, but for many tourists it's a welcome revival from the toils of the road. Varkala Beach is also famous for its landscape. A high rocky cliff ends abruptly and a stretch of clear sand extends down to the sea. The contrast between the cliffs, sand and sea makes Varkala Beach a striking sight. The sunset at Varakala Beach is truly breathtaking with the sun sinking into the sky like a ball of molten gold as the sun and sea are tinged with crimson and vermilion. See the magnificent sunset at Varkala Beach on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater.

Alleppey/Alappuzha Backwaters
Alleppey 'Venice of the East', figures prominently on the tourist trail as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips, served by ferries to Quilon and Kottayam in particular. One of the best-known ports along the coast of Malabar, it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’. Alappuzha has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.Sailing along in a ‘kettuvallam’ (houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alappuzha is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals are sights one can never forget. One can glimpse Chinese fishing nets, flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky. It is as close as one can get to feel the vibrant life in the countryside of God’s own country.With the Arabian sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the world, this backwater country is also home ot diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala.    

Alappuzha Backwaters [previously named Alleppey] is popularly referred to as 'Venice of the East', owing to its picture-perfect waterways and canals. It is a popular tourism destination. Whether it is their first journey, or a return trip, travelers continue to frequent the tranquil backwaters.  The month of August is the best time to visit Alappuzha. The region plays host to water regattas featuring snake boats and country canoes of varying sizes. Alappuzha Backwaters is renowned for the annual Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race held on the second Saturday of August.

Large racing boats called 'Kali-Vallangal', propelled by over 100 rowers, compete for the trophy instituted by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minster of India. Another significant race is the Payipad Boat Race, which takes place over three days. It commences from the 'Onam' festival day. There is a snake boat parade during the first two days while the contest takes place on the third day.    

A singular characteristic of Alappuzha is a region called Kuttanad. The deltaic formation of four rivers converging into the Vembanad Lake, Kuttanad lies 0.6 to 2.2 m below mean sea level. The 75 kilometer long sparkling network of rivers, canals, lakes, lagoons and tiny streamlets between Quilon and Cochin and beyond to Thiruvananthapuram, of which the Kuttanad (Backwaters) comprises of, are akin to a tropical land of canals. This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets is lined with dense tropical greenery and preserves Kerala lifestyles that are completely hidden by road. Called the rice bowl of Kerala, because of her wealth of paddy crops is at the very heart of the backwaters. Yams and cassava which accompany the rice bowl as "side dishes". This is the one of the places in the world where farming is done below sea level (1.5 - 2 meters below sea level). Inland waterways that flow above the land level is an amazing feature of this land. Kuttanad is the heart of the backwaters of Kerala. This beautiful countryside with its waterways also has a rich crop of banana, Cassava and yam. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of bananas.

Kumarakom Backwaters

Kumarakom is an enthrallingly beautiful tourist spot in Kerala. The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. Channels and waterways wind their way through this green paradise.Water lilies and lotuses bloom in the water and birds from the bird sanctuary on Vembanad Lake call as they fly across the clear tropical sky. Kumarakom is an idyllic holiday destination that you must visit on Kerala tours with Kerala Backwater. Kumarakom is situated 15 km from Kottayam on the Vembanad lake is best described as a picturesque clean village like most places in Kerala. The enchanting backwater destination of Kumarakom is a small village in Kottayam.Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. The bird sanctuary here spread across 14 acres of any ornithologist's paradise. This enchanting backwater destination offers visitors many leisure options. From wandering into the depths of its wildlife sanctuary to cruising down the back waters and fishing, Kumarakom is perfect for a lazy and laid back holiday.    

The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands, as hundreds of swaying verdant coconut palms lining the rivers lean to brush the tops of your heads. Kumarakom is an example of nature at her best in the fragrant flowers, the riot of multi coloured birds, the surrounding greenery and the clear waters. The Vembanad Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. It flows through the verdant lands of Kerala and offers one of the best backwater cruises. Most of the flora and fauna in this region flourishes around this supply of fresh water. The lake also acts as a balancing tank against floods, and its wooded banks, temptingly invite a visitor to explore more.

It has lately become a preferred tourist destination. Boat races, houseboat cruise, canoeing and fishing are some of the main attractions of this simple place. The huge houseboats, traditionally known as the Kettuvallams, are complete with living rooms, toilets, kitchen, balcony for angling and it is possible to live on them for days together for a truly unique experience.    

These Kettuvallams are actually remodeled cargo barges made of wooden planks joined together by rope only, without using nails at all. Kumarakom lies in the region of Kuttanad, which is the rice bowl of Kerala. Here farming is done below sea level. The peace and quiet, biting fresh air and unspoiled life style of the simple people of Kumarakom are a unique and rejuvenating experience that surpasses any modern entertainment activity or pastime.

Kochi Backwaters

Kochi (Cochin) - Queen of the Arabian Sea: Kochi is group of islands on Lake Vembanad, which opens out into the Arabian Sea. Some of the islands are Bolgatty, Vyppin, Gundu and Vallarpadam. Half the fun of visiting Kochi is moving around on the local ferries. A conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots. The main tourist attraction of Kochi is visiting these islands on the local ferries.
The lake opens out into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It is this natural advantage that has made Kochi a fascinating blend of the cultures and influences of the explorers and traders who visited this wealthy land.

Kochi is well known for one of the finest natural harbors in the world. The ancestral rulers of cochin with their cosmopolitan outlook, traded goods as well as knowledge with visitors from far off lands and latter Chinese, Arabs, Dutch, British and Portuguese followed the sea route to cochin. The Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British have all left their mark here. The Jewish synagogue, the Dutch palace, the Chinese fishing nets, and other remnants of European and Asian architecture merge smoothly into the traditional fabric of the seaport city.    

Then there is the captivating Cochin (Kochi) with the charming combination of the picture perfect islands like Bolgatty, Vyppin, Gundu and Vallarpadam. The reminisces of the Chinese, Arabian, Portuguese and the Dutch travelers and traders are omnipresent in Cochin. The variant village cruises to the coconut plantations and the coir villages should not be missed. The peace and the warmth make the vivacious destination come true to its title of being the queen of the Arabian Sea. The sweet memories of the rustic life and the gorgeous greens of Cochin will carry on to refresh you time and again much after the end of the holiday too.

A string of picturesque and lovely islands, lagoons, small rivulets and swaying coconut palm trees make Kochi a perfect backwaters destination. Besides, what really attracts the tourists visiting Kochi is the colorful culture and hospitality of the local people.    

Kochi also has a very rich history. It's said that many backwaters cruises begin or end in Kochi. Welcome to Kerala and explore and enjoy the exotic and beautiful backwaters of Kochi. There are many beautiful and amazing monuments worth visiting here. Prominent among them are:
  • Willington Island: This is a man-made island surrounded by beautiful backwaters. It houses the city's best hotels and trading centers, the port trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
  • Bolghatty Island: A narrow long island, it's famous for the Bolghatty Palace, built by the Dutch in 1744. The only golf course in Kochi is located here. Boats are available for water cruise in the island connecting Cochin to Bolghatty Island. This island is famous for its palace of the same name.
  • Fort Kochi: Starting as a fishing village, it became the first fort built by the Europeans in India. Firstly, the Dutch and then British all constructed numerous architectures in and around this historic fort.
  • Chinese Fishing Nets: Indian traders brought these huge cantilevered fishing nets here from the court of Kublai Khan. The best place to enjoy the nets being lowered into the sea and its catch is the Vasco de Gama square.
  • Mattancherry Palace: It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. Some of the beautiful arts on display here are murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata and from other Puranic Hindu legends. Here you can also see the Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation outwears of former maharajas of Kochi.
  • Jewish Synagogue: The oldest synagogue in the commonwealth, it was built in the year 1568. The synagogue is famous for its amazing 18th century hand painted willow pattern floor tiles imported from China, the copper plates on which the privilege granted by the kings were recorded, a dock tower and Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs.
Periyar Widlife Sanctuary
Periyar beckons are the adventure seekers, nature lovers and the animal watchers alike. Periyar is renowned for the Thekkady/Periyar National Park. At the Periyar National Park you may spot the wild elephants, leopard, wild dog, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur (a primate), bonnet macaque, sambhar, porcupines, squirrels, gaur (Indian bison), wild boar and sloth bear besides the tigers and the Nilgiri tahrs.

Along with animals Periyar is home to monitor lizards, pythons, king cobras and flying lizards. Birds like darters, cormorants, ibises, gray herons, mynas, flycatchers, orioles, wood pigeons, kingfishers, kites, ospreys, thrushes, and parakeets add to the attraction of Periyar. You may watch the animals on the move from the motorboats on the lake or from watchtowers only after prior permission. Else you may enjoy a walking tour of the Periyar National Park with the local guides.

The pride of Kerela and a testimony to nature's splendour and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.    

The Periyar Widlife sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wiild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.  The Periyar Widlife sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wiild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.

If elephants are what you love to see on your wildlife tour, there is no better place than the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. The sanctuary was established in 1895 and is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. The sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary) is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in India and perhaps the finest in south India.    

Periyar National Park is a Tiger Reserve, the greatest attractions of the park are the herds of wild elephants, who come to the Periyar Lake to frolic in the water. The Periyar National Park is the only wildlife sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. You can also enjoy elephant rides in the Periyar National Park. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary also offers the unique opportunity to photograph wild animals at close quarters.

Eravikulam National Park

The Eravikulam National Park (15 kms from Munnar) is situated in the Devikulam Taluk of the Idukki District. It lures the travellers with its irresistible grace and beauty. The 97 sq km park lies along the high ranges of the western coast in the Munnar Forest Division of Idukki district in Kerala. It is situated on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the north where it extends as the Annamalai National Park.

The mountains covered with the rolling grasslands and high level sholas is breath-takingly beautiful. This park was established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr also known as the Nilgiri Ibex. The Rajamala is the natural habitat of this rare mountain goat. Half the world population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres) lives here. (Around 1317, according to the 1991 census).

Besides the Nilgiri tahr other important fauna are elephant, leopard, tiger, malabar civet, sambar, barking deer, nilgai, langur, phyhon etc. The birds found are imperial pigeon, grey jungle fowl etc. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1975. Considering the ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared as a National park in 1978. The park is divided into 3 regions - the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area.    

Eravikulam National Park harbours the largest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius).Nilgiri Tahr is endemic to the southern Western Ghats.Its relatives are the Himalayan tahr(Hemitragus jemlahicus) and Arabian Tahr(hemitragus jayakiri).The estimated population of Nilgiri tahr inside the park is about 750.  Wild dog, leopard and tiger are the main predators.

Apart from tahr, other little known animals such as Nilgiri marten, small clawed otter, ruddy mongoose, and dusky striped squirrel are also found. Elephants make seasonal visits.
 
Wild dog, leopard and tiger are the main predators. Apart from tahr, other little known animals such as Nilgiri marten, small clawed otter, ruddy mongoose, and dusky striped squirrel are also found. Elephants make seasonal visits.    

The high altitude rolling grasslands in the park looks like an emerald stretch highly romantic and captivating. The trekking paths to the park were originally bridle path used by the English planters who lived in Munnar tea town. A steady climb takes one to the cloud covered hillocks with numerous sholas and the Nilgiri tahr moving around. In the tourist zone the Tahrs move unperturbed in spite of the tourists watching them at close range – such is the level of protection afforded! You can be quite fooled thinking that they come to rub shoulders with you too.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The beautiful Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is rated amongst the finest wildlife sanctuaries of India, and is one of the best tourist spots in Kerala. Set amidst enchanting backwaters of Devikulam in Idukki district of Kerala, the Chinnar wildlife sanctuary covers an area over 90 sq km in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. Known for its enchanting scenic beauty, Chinnar is a natural habitat for an amazing variety of flora and fauna including some rare and endangered wildlife species.

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, and so receives comparatively less rainfall in comparison to other parts of Kerala. The vegetations of Chinnar primarily comprises of thorny scrub forest, dry deciduous forest, high sholas and wet grasslands, which supports a wide variety of wildlife.

Popularly regarded as the second habitat of the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary also shelters Asiatic Elephants, Tigers, Sambars, Bonnets, Spotted Deer, Macaques, Indian Bisons and spectacled Cobras to name a few. The sanctuary is also rich in its avifauna and attracts a wide variety of exotic and colorful birds including Woodpeckers, Peacocks, Little Cormorants, Darters and Black Eagles etc.    

Located at Devikulam taluk of Idukki district Kerala, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a well-known reserve that extends over an area of over 90 sq km. Recognized as a wildlife sanctuary in 1984, it lies in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. As a result, Chinnar gets only about 48 rainy days in a year during the months of October and November when Northeast monsoons are at work. Apart from being the habitat of the endangered giant grizzled squirrel in India, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to tigers, elephant, bonnet macaques, gaur, Kraits, spotted deer, spectacled cobras, sambar, turtles, vipers, little cormorants, darters and black eagles. The place is also ideal for boating and trekking.
 
The sanctuary abounds in a variety of trees, including the unique thorny scrub forest with Xerophytic species. The flora of the sanctuary comprises dry deciduous forest, thorny scrub forests, high sholas and wet grasslands. It is, indeed, a reservoir of tranquil greenery ensconced the verdant valley.    

Among the species of flora include Acacia arabica (Karivelam), Acacia leucofolia (Velvelam), Santalum album (Chandanam), Anogeissuslatifolia (Mazhukanjiram), Elaeocarpus recurvatus (Bhadraksham) and Strobilanthus kunthianus (Neelakurinji). The rippling topography with breathtaking spectacle of craggy rocks adds to the scenic grandeur of the sanctuary. Best Season to visit the sanctuary is from December to April. As far as accommodation is concerned, private lodges are available at Marayoor, Munnar and Udumalpetta. You can also find accommodation in the government guesthouses at Munnar and Udumalpetta.

Silent Valley National Park

Located 40 km from Mannarkkad, Silent valley is Extremely fragile, a unique preserve of tropical evergreen rain forests lying above the equator and the forest strip which causes the summer rains in Kerala. This is one of the best tourist spots in Kerala. The Silent Valley National Park has an area of 90 sq km is located in the north eastern corner of the district. It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri Plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south.

The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the Silent Valley National Park. Despite its name, the Silent Valley (the clamour of Cicadas is conspicuously absent here) echoes with the sounds of teeming wildlife. The denizens of this sprawling habitat of endangered virgin tropical forests include rare birds, deer and tiger.

Perhaps, nowhere else can one also find such a representative collection of peninsular mammals, over a 100 species of butterflies and 400 species of moths and other fauna like the Ceylon Frog Moth, Great Indian Hornbill, the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and the Lion-tailed Macaque. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills, an altitude of 2000 m above sea level, and traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through the deep forest. The river Kunthi never turns brown and is always crystal clear, perennial and wild.    

The evapo-transpiration from these forests is much higher than from any other surfaces. This cools the atmosphere, helps easy condensation of water vapour and thus causes the summer rains. Though smaller in size in comparison to the other national parks in India, what makes it unique is the sylvan environment the region has along with its high altitude peaks and several rivers that run through it.

Located 40 km from Mannarkkad, Silent valley is extremely fragile, a unique preserve of tropical evergreen rain forests, totally undisturbed, lying above the equator and the forest strip which causes the summer rains during June- July in Kerala.

The local name for the park is Sairandhrivanam (the forest in the valley) which is also the last representative of tropical evergreen forests in India. The park which is remote has difficult terrain and is surrounded with Attappadi Reserve Forests in the east, and vested forests of the Palghat and Nilambur divisions in the west and south. In the North, the park is an extension of the Nilgiri Forests. The park which has never had human habitation is in the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.    

The fauna here includes around 100 species of butterflies, 400 species of moths, Ceylon Frogmouth, Great Indian Hornbill, the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, the giant Malabar squirrel, Nilgiri langur, the lion-tailed Macaque, elephant, tiger, leopard, wild bear, nilgai, sambar, pit viper etc. The parks best known primates, the Nilgiri Langur and Lion- tailed macaque are both listed in IUCN's Red List of Threatened Animals. A valuable reserve of rare plants and herbs including around 966 flowering and over 100 orchids plants are found along with the wide range of animals and birds. This park consist of 10 sq.kms of evergreen forests, 15 sq.kms of semi evergreen forests and 40 sq.kms of leaf shedding forests with a large variety of trees. There are very old trees in the park including a huge hollow tree which can hide at least 12 people in it.

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