ERAVIKULAM NATIONAL PARK:(15 km from Munnar) One of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. Located about 15 km from Munnar, this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2006.15 km from munnar in idukki)The main attractions of this park situated in the Devikulam taluk are the Nilgiri Tahr and the Nelakurinji flowers (Storbilanthes kunthianus)that bloom just once in 12 years.the highest peak in south india ,Anamudi(2695m),is located in the southern region of the park
Eravikulam National Park is situated in the High Ranges (Kannan Devan Hills) of the Southern Western Ghats in the Devikolam Taluk of Idukki district, Kerala State between 10º 05′ – 10º 20′ N Latitude and 77º 0′ – 77º 10′ E Longitude. Etymologically, Eravikulam denotes streams and pools.The Park is 97 sq. km. in extent, consisting mostly of high altitude grasslands that are interspersed with sholas. The main body of the National Park comprising of a high rolling plateau with a base elevation of about 2000 meters from mean sea level. The Park is of undulating terrain and the highest peak is Anamudi (2690 m). Three major types of plant communities are found in the Park-grasslands, shrub land and forests. The high plateau and the hills rising above it, are primarily covered by grasslands. Shrub lands are seen along the bases of the cliffs. Shola forests are located in the valleys and folds. Turner’s valley, which splits the Park roughly in half from northwest to southeast, is the deepest.The only motorable road inside the Park, passes through the southern extremity inside the tourism zone (Rajamala) to the Rajamallay tea estate. Another road head leads to the Lakkom Muduvakudy on the periphery and is not usable at present. All other movements inside the Park are on foot along trails and footpaths.Public conveyance facilities like buses and taxi, telephone, fax, postal, internet and e-mail facilities are available at Munnar. Boarding and lodging facilities of various categories exist in this small township.The main body of the National Park is a high rolling plateau with a base elevation of about 2000 mts. Most of the knolls and peaks rise 100-300 mts. above it with some mountains reaching altitudes of over 2500mts.The highest peak is Anaimudi(2690mts). The vast grasslands interspread with sholas (patches of stunted evergreen forests) are the last remnats of the unique ecosystem that was once prevalant in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. The park is criss-crossed by perennial streams that originate in the sholas.
The climate is described as tropical montane. The Park experiences very heavy rainfall. It recieves its major precipitation during the south-west monsoons (June-August). The average annual rainfall is about 3000mm. January-March are relatively dry months. In winter, the temprature goes down even below freezing point.
Eravikulam National Park harbours the largets surviving population of Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius). This endangerd animal is endemic to the southern Western Ghats. Its nearest relative is the Himalayan tahr. The fully grown male is known as ‘saddle back’ is much bigger and darker than the female and has a silvery saddle like patch on its back. Mating takes place during monsoons and the birth season is January-February. The estimated population of tahr inside the park is about 700. Wild dog, leoperd 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.About 120 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like black and ornage flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Nilgiri wood pegeon, white bellied shortwing, Nilgiri verditer flycatcher and Kerala laughing thrush. Endemics confined to the shola-grass land ecosystem like the red disk bushbrown and Palni fourwing are among the 100 odd butterflies listed inside the park.
The shola-grassland ecosystem is a strange admixture of temprature and tropical qualities due to the combined effects of altitude as well as latitude. It is exceptionally rich in orchids and balsams. The spectacular mass flowering of the shrub neelakurunji (Phlebophyllum kunthianum) takes place in the grasslands in cycles of the 12yrs. The next neelakurunji ‘outburst’ is due in the year 2006.
Telephone access code: Thekkady, Kumily, Peerumadu: +91-4869
Air: Nearest Airport: Madurai (Tamil Nadu): 140 km
Kochi: 190 km
Thiruvananthapuram: 265 km
Kozhikode: 315 km
Chennai (Tamil Nadu): 570 km
Rail: Kottyam: 114 km (4 hrs.)
Madurai: 136km (3.5 hrs.)
Changanacherry: 93 km (4 hrs.)
Theni: 60 km (1.5 hrs.)
Road:Kottyam- Kumily: 110 km (4 hrs.)
Munnar-Kumily: 110 km (4 hrs)
Madurai-Kumily: 265 km (8 hrs.)
Thekkady-Kumily: 4 km (10 min.)
Kodaikanal-Kumily: 149 km (5 hrs.)
Idukki-Kumily: 65 km (2.5 hrs.)
Alappuzha-Kumily: 160 km (5.5 hrs.)
Ooty-Kumily: 390 km (11 hrs.)
Bus timings from Idukki:Thodupuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam: Frequent buses
Munnar: 1015, 1515 hrs.
Thekkady/ Kumily: 0730, 0930, 1400, 1550, 1750 hrs
Thiruvananthapuram: 1300, 1915 hrs.
Tourist Information Offices:
DTPC Information Centre, Munnar –Telefax: 04865-231516 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dtpcidukki.com
District Tourist Information Office, Department of Tourism, Near Private Bus Stand, Kumily Ph.04869-222620
Address for communication
The Wildlife Warden
Munnar PO, Idukki Dist.
For enquiries and reservations
Forest Information Centre
Wildlife Warden’s Office, Munnar PO
Idukki Dist.Kerala, India.
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