Eravikulam National Park, Munnar - Kerala’s First National ParkBeautiful backwaters, generous sun-kissed beaches, and affluent biodiversity, Kerala is known as God’s Own Country which has much more to offer than its luscious evergreen forests. Marked by abundant vegetation and varieties of indigenous fauna, the forests of Kerala lie in the southern region of the Western Ghats.
Munnar’s Eravikulam National Park is the first of its kind in Kerala. In fact, it is the first national park of Kerala. Its collection of endangered Tahr is what makes this spot special. Apart from these rare animals, you can also see some endangered species of butterflies.
Exploring the Eravikulam National Park, MunnarThe Park is sprawled across 97 sq km area along the extent of the renowned Western Ghats.
It is administered by the Forest and wildlife division of Kerala and the Munnar wildlife division.
The national park is a heritage site and is one of the finest places for exploring the ecotourism of the country. Apart from the diverse flora and fauna, The Eravikulam national park is interesting in terms of the topography of the region – the grasslands, hill plateau, sholas, mountain peak, and a sudden punctuations of the perennial streams which unite with Pamba Rivers and Periyar River. The place is ideal for the shutterbugs as well because of the plenty of waterfalls that mark its way through the dark green hue.
Did You Spot the Flower?As you explore the magnificent view of tea plantation along the steep of the rolling hills, make sure to spot the Neelakurunji. It is a blue flower that blooms once in 12 years. If you visit the place during the summer season, you will find the valley covered with a blue carpet made of Neelakurunji. If you are trekking up to the Anamudipeak, which is the highest peak in South India, the stretch of blue will leave you spellbound!
Different Areas of the ParkBefore getting into the park, it is wise to have a proper outlook about the area.
The park is separated into three different regions such as the buffer area, core region, and tourism circuit. The tourism area in this park is called Rajamali. Tourism is prohibited in the buffer and the core sections.
Rajamalai: As said in the thesis of the tourism zone of the National Park and you can look around to spot for various vegetation and animals. In fact, you can spot the Tahr in close quarters in this region. Photography is allowed and it is a blessing for nature photographers. The place remains closed throughout February and March for the mating season. Also, spotting neelakurunji flower is common in Rajamalai. For travelling, you can even opt for mini buses that function in this zone. There is no permission for private vehicles but walking tours are very well allowed.
Anamudi: You can go up the peak and slopes as a tourist. One of the most prominent activities here is trekking on foot to the top of the hill.
Lakkom Waterfalls: While exploring, do not miss out on the waterfall which starts inside the park and ends in Pamba River. The river flows into the core region where the wildlife thrives. However, the waterfall view is one of the most enchanting ones at Eravikulam National Park, Munnar.
Exploring the Flora of Eravikulam National ParkThe landscape within the park is generally classified as grasslands, shrublands and the dense forest. The shift above the elevation of 2,000m (2,187 yd) is mostly grasslands while the dense forest part is packed with hollow landforms. The deep valleys inside the core region as well as the tourist section are filled with thick forests while the shrubs are placed alongside the base of the mountain cliffs.
Orchids and balsams are found in the grassland where you can also spot the almost extinct Brachycorythis wightii. Neelakurunji and cyanotis are the most commonly spotted flora of the region.
Fauna of Eravikulam National Park
Nilgiri Tahr has the largest population that has over 26 species of mammals. They have their habitat inside the park. There are over 750 tahrare presently dwelling at the Park. Of the other mammals, you can try spotting jungle cat, wild dog, golden jackal, sambar deer, leopard, and tiger. The smaller animals which can be spotted are the Nilgiri langur, dusky palm squirrel, Nilgiri marten, Indian porcupine, ruddy mongoose, small-clawed otter and others. In certain seasons, you can spot elephants as well.
Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam National Park
Over 132 bird species are seen here, of which there are Nilgiri wood pigeon, black and orange flycatcher, white-bellied shortwing, Nilgiri flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit and others. Red disk bush brown and Palni four wings are the commonly sighted butterflies of the 100 other species seen.
Recently, a new species of frog has been identified and today, there are about 19 different species of amphibians you can find here. Atlas moth is the largest moth in the world, and it is found in this park.
Best Time to VisitSeptember to November and April to June are the best time to visit the Park. Munnar has a usual tropical montane climate and it receives heavy rainfall as compared to other parts of Munnar.
April and May are the hottest months in this region, while March to May is the summer season. It is the finest time to witness animals with their cubs that come to the water source to satisfy their thirst.
The south western monsoon makes June to August the wettest months of the year. Given the altitude of the place, the rainfall received is higher than any adjoining areas. As the trail becomes slippery, the park will remain closed.
October to February happens to be the winter months when spotting animals are harder.