Location – Idukki district, Kerala
Main wildlife found – Niligiri Tahr, leopard, tiger, wild dog and jungle cat
Coverage area – 97 Sq Km
Eravikulam national park is worldwide famous for its bio-diversity. Etymologically, Eravikulam denotes pools and streams. This park was created specially to preserve rare species of Niligiri Tahr, one of wild goat only found in south Himalayas. This park is located in the Kannan Devan hills of high ranges of the southern western Ghats of Idukki district of state of kerala. It is situated on the borders of states of Tamilnadu and Kerala. This park is spread over more than 97 Sq Km area. During British rule this region was given for tea plantation. It was declared as wildlife sanctuary in the year of 1975 and promoted as National park in the year of 1978.
Eravikulam park is abundantly rich with grasses and shola forests. This national park compromises high rolling plateau with base elevation of 2000 meters from sea level. The highest peak of south india that is Anamudi is situated in this park. The high plateau as well as hills rising of this park is covered by grasslands. Shrub land is seen at the bases of cliffs. Valleys of this park are covered by shoal forests. This park is rich in all types of rare flora as well as fauna. The protected area of this park is divided in three parts that is tourist zone, buffer area and core area. Tourists are allowed to see only tourist zone.
Eravikulam wildlife park is home to twenty six species of rare mammals including the largest existing inhabitants of Niligiri Tahr, estimated around 750 in number. The other species of mammals are Indian muntjac, sambar deer, golden jackal, wild dog, leopard, tiger, dhole and jungle cat. Other predators found here are Niligiri langur, ruddy mangoose, dusky palm squirrel, Indian porcupine, small clawed otter and Niligiri marten. Tourists can also see sometimes elephants here. Watching these mammals in their natural habit is unique experience.
Eravikulam national park is home to more than 132 species of birds like Nigiri pipit, black and white flycatcher, Niligiri wood pigeon, Niligiri verditer flycatcher, Kerala Laughingthrush and white nellied short wing. As per record of forest department, near about 19 species of amphibians found here. Endemic butterflies, red disk bush brown as well as plani four wings are other species of birds here. A new species of bright-reddish-orange colored frog with extremely short limbs and multiple glands has been found in this park. This park is also land of neelakurinji, flower which blooms once in twelve year.
Ecotourism of this park is becoming very popular. This park offers breathtaking views of valleys and paradise for trekking lovers. Tourists can also stay here in log house and enjoy delicious local foods.
When to visit
Eravikulam national park is close in monsoon season because of heavy rainfall. Winter and summers are best time to visit this pristine park because cool and mild weather. This park is open from 7 am to 6 pm for the tourists.
How to Reach: Eravikulam is 15 km from Munnar.
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 142 km from Munnar; Ernakulam, about 130 km from Munnar.
Nearest airport: Madurai (Tamilnadu) about 142 km; Cochin International Airport, about 150 km.