Silent Valley National Park
Silent Valley is nestled in the Nilgiri Hills with a ring of hills enclosing it. Silent Valley National Park was established in 1980. Its' densely forested terrains boast of unspoiled and untouched rich biodiversity. This national park forms core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve and is one of the World Heritage Sites in the Western Ghats.
The entire length of the park from north to south is drained by Kuntipuzha river. The crystal clear, perennial river cuts the park into wide western sector of 5 km, and narrow eastern sector of 2 km width. On the upper slopes of the eastern side, the main tributaries of Kuntipuzha river - Kunthancholapuzha, Karingathodu, Madrimaranthodu, Valiaparathodu and Kummaathanthodu originate.
Park's landscape is covered with tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. Hilly areas above 1,000 m fall in the mountain rain region of the South Western Ghats. The area above 1,500 m is covered with shoals punctuated by open grasslands.
The national park houses the richest array of plant species - around 1000 species of plants. There are around 108 species of orchids and around110 species of plants that are used in ayurvedic medicine.
The park harbours almost all the peninsular animals. Around 170 species of birds, including 31 migratory, have been recorded. It also hosts a number of rare Butterflies (100) and moths (400).
Flora: Dicotyledons, monocotyledons, orchids ipsea malabarica, bulbophyllum silentvalliensis and eria tiagii, grasses, legumes, rubiaceae and asters, cardamom ellettaria cardamomum, black pepper piper nigrum, yams dioscorea spp, beans phaseolus sp, a pest-resistant strain of rice oryza pittambi, impatiens sivarajanii, a new species of balsaminaceae.
Southern sector: Cullenia exarillata & palaquium ellipticum, palaquium ellipticum & mesua ferrea (indian rose chestnut) and mesua ferrea & calophyllum elatum.
Central and northern parts of the Park: Palaquium ellipticum & poeciloneuron indicum, calophyllum elatum & ochlandra sp. and poeciloneuron indicum & ochlandra sp, palaquium ellipticum, cullenia exarillata, poeciloneuron indicum, myristica dactyloides, elaeocarpus glandulosus, litsea floribunda, mesua nagassarium, cinnamomum malabatrum, agrostistachys meeboldii, calophyllum polyanthum, garcinia morella and actinodaphne campanulata.
Fauna: Gaur, lion-tailed macaque, niligiri langur, malabar giant squirrel, nilgiri tahr, peshwas bat (myotis peshwa) and hairy-winged bat. There are nine species of bats, rats and mice. Also, one can spot tiger, leopard (panther), leopard cat, jungle cat, fishing cat, common palm civet, small indian civet, brown palm civet, ruddy mongoose, stripe-necked mongoose, dhole, clawless otter, sloth bear, small travancore flying squirrel, indian pangolin (scaly anteater), porcupine, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer and gaur.
Avian-Fauna: Nilgiri wood-pigeon, malabar parakeet, malabar grey hornbill, white-bellied treepie, grey-headed bulbul, broad-tailed grassbird, rufous babbler, wynaad laughing thrush, nilgiri laughing thrush, white-bellied shortwing, black-and-rufous flycatcher, nilgiri flycatcher, white-bellied blue-flycatcher, crimson-backed sunbird and nilgiri pipit.
Rare Bird Species: ceylon frogmouth and great indian hornbill, long-legged buzzard, a new species of raptor at sispara red winged crested cuckoo, malabar pied hornbill, pale harrier, black-and-orange flycatcher, black bulbul.
Sairandhri: This is the entry point of the Silent Valley National Park. It has a visitors' center, which has an exhibit building which contains photographs and information on various species of orchids, plants and animals in the park. There is also an observation tower, which provides a panoramic view of the lush green virgin terrains.
Lion-tailed Macaque: An old world monkey - this mammal dwells only in the Western Ghats. Head to the cheeks down to the chin is covered with silver-white mane. The fur of lion-tailed Macaque is dark-brown or black.
Exact Location: Silent Valley National Park is nestled in the Nilgiri Hills in Palakkad district of Kerala.
Area: 89.52 sq. km.
Route: The nearest airports are Coimbatore in Tamilnadu and Kochi in Kerala. Thrissur and Coimbatore railway stations are the closest to the Silent Valley National Park. Palghat (Palakkad) is also a convenient rail head. Reaching here, you can travel by road to the park. Regular buses are available from Palakkad to Mukkali. Reaching Mukkali, one has to hire a van or a jeep to reach the sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit: September to March
Things to keep in mind
- Prior permission required from Kerala State Forest Department.
- Entry is allowed only from 8 AM to 2 PM.
- Walking is the only way to see and enjoy the Park
- A forest guard accompanies each group as a guide to ensure that no damage is done to the national parks inhabitants.
- Day visitors are permitted only 2 km past Sairandhri.
Other Attractions in the Vicinity
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary is spread in an area of 285 sq. km. Its located 135 km from Palakkad. It houses elephants, wild boar, sambar, bison, guar, crocodiles, and also tigers and panthers. One can go trekking here; however, prior permission is required.
Choolanur Peacock Sanctuary: The peacock sanctuary is spread in an area of 500 hectares in Palakkad and Thrissur districts. This rocky terrain sanctuary is covered with shrubs and trees, and small streams meander through the area. The sanctuary plays host to about 200 peacocks, which is the major attraction of this place. Also, it houses other colourful birds and an incredible number of butterflies.