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Eravikulam National Park

 
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    Eravikulam National Park

    Eravikula National Park houses the highest population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr in the world.

    The national park is nestled in the higher altitudes of the Western Ghats in Kerala.

    The park is crisscrossed by a number of perennial streams.

    The landscape is interspersed with grasslands, shrubs, and forests.

    The vegetation is typical to the Western Ghats and predominantly consists of evergreen forests, and the terrain above 2000 m is covered with grasslands.

    It houses around 132 species of birds, and also 101 kinds of butterflies.

    The Atlas Moth, largest of its kind in the world, also dwells in the park.

    Around 26 species of mammals and 19 species of amphibians have been recorded in the Park.

    A high rolling hill plateau forms the main body of the park, and Anamudi (2695 m), the highest peak south of Himalayas is located within the park.

    Major Attractions

    Nilgiri Tahr: The sanctuary was set-up to protect endangered Nilgiri Tahr. An ungulate, Nilgiri Tahrs are common to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern part of the Western Ghats.

    These are stock goats with short, coarse fur and bristly mane, and curved horns.

    The Eravikulam National Park has the largest population of Nilgiri Tahrs, and according to estimates, they are 750 in numbers.

    Flora: Grasslands, shrublands and forests. Shrub neelakurunji (phlebophyllum kunthianum) and antibacterial eupatorium glandulosum are also found.

    Fauna: Gaur, Indian muntjac and sambar deer, golden jackal, jungle cat, wild dog, dhole, leopard, tiger, Nilgiri langur, stripe-necked mongoose, Indian porcupine, nilgiri marten, small clawed otter, ruddy mongoose, and funambulus sublineatus, dusky striped squirrel, elephants.

    Avian-Fauna: Black-and-orange flycatcher, nilgiri pipit, nilgiri wood pigeon,yellow-throated marten, white bellied shortwing, nilgiri verditer flycatcher and kerala laughing thrush, and more.

    Exact Location: Eravikulam National Park is situated in the Devikulam Taluk of the Idukki District in the state of Kerala.

    Nearest Town: Munnar

    Area: 97 sq. km

    Route: The nearest airport is in Cochin and the nearest railhead is at Aluva in the district of Ernakulam.

    The motorable road is up to the park headquarter Rajamalai, which is 15 km away from Munnar.

    From Rajamalai, one needs to travel on foot for 18 km to reach the national park.

    Best Time to Visit: Except for a small duration between January and March, the park remains open for visitors throughout the year.

    The best time for animal spotting is from September to October.

    Things to keep in mind

    • You can purchase entry tickets from the Rajamallay checkpost, about 5 km from the main road.
    • The park receives plenty of rainfall and visitors should be prepared for sudden rainfall.
    • Do not throw non biodegradable material like polythene bags in the national park.
    • Six mini-buses are operated by park staff as part of the visitor-management programme
    • Private vehicles are not allowed within the park.

    Other Attractions

    Munnar: This picturesque plantation town is located in the South Western Ghats.

    Munnar is fast becoming a major tourist destination in Kerala.

    Along with offering plenty of visual treat for nature lovers, this town also offers boating, trekking, parasailing, hot air ballooning, camping, wild life safari opportunities to explore.