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JUNGLE LORE OF KERALA- ERAVIKULAM & CHINNAR
  • April 2018
Two sanctuaries , Eravikulam & Chinnar both are completely different for the visitor angle but clubbed together. While Eravikulam is contiguous with the ‘Mudis’ of Tamilnadu, Chinar is contiguous with the Indiragandhi WLS of Tamilnadu, through Anamalai.  There are discontinuity in many areas due to pressure on land from both Tamilnadu and Kerala . 
 Eravikulam National park , the last refuge of the Nilgiri Tahr is on the way to Chinnar  WLS from Munnar,. Located at about  7000ft  above  sea level, 15kms from Munnar town situated on the Munnar-Udamalpettai  on the SH-17-the whole drive to Rajamaly is scenic and  take you to the entrance  of  the famous  Eravikulam National Park. Leave your  vehicles there and start walking a small gradient-keep an eye on both sides for the NilgiriTahr. 
An estimated 750 numbers wild goat are living here-though the tahr is a very shy animal-the ones in tourism zone are used to humans and are quite friendly. Those that are still found in other pockets, like higher reaches of parambikulam, Wayanad, sholas of Ooty, bolt at the sight of humans. These are endemic to southern Western Ghats and are related to the Himalayan tahr-found in Himalayas and some of their distant cousins-that live in Australia. Thus we are talking of some thing so exotic. The herd is controlled by a male called as Saddle Back-by the silvery saddle on the back and is the one who mates. The male is bigger and bulkier than the female. The calving season is Feb and the park is closed during this period. Apart from the Tahr-the elusive Niligiri marten, Rudy’s mongoose are also found, the predators are wild dogs, leopard and a rare tiger. Elephants do visit the park on and off-just being an off time visitor only. Around 100species of birds-like black & orange fly catcher, nilgiri pitpit, paradise fly catchers, etc., besides plenty of orchids & lots of exotic butterflies. The famous Neelakurinji  (Phlebophyllum kunthianum)-is also found here. Thus the place has got exclusivity about it. There is no camping place here-obviously, due to the exclusive denizens that inhabit the place. One can be a day time visitor from Munnar/and its surrounds, or can visit the place from the Chinnar  side  also.

By road Kochi-200kms (90 kms from Munnar)  through Coimbatore-Pollachi-Chinnar-via Amaravathy dam you can reach Chinnar  WLS is probably one of the driest sanctuaries in Kerala (ins pite of its proximity to Munnar) ,as this happens to be in the rain shadow area -with just 100mm of rains a year!!!.Majority of this is scrub jungle and dominated by acacia  species, yet there are vast patches of grasslands and some pockets that have good tree wealth -specially near the chinar rivers or nearby its tributaries, This is contiguous with Eravikulam-and Indiragandhi WLS of TN. One of the specialties of this jungle is the “GIANTGRIZZLED SQUIRREL”. The other animals include leopard, elephants , black panthers  and occasionally  tigers are to be sighted here.Deerspecies ,Spotted deer, Bison, (many have  sighted of white bison)and smaller ones like barking deer and few sambars also thrive here. Even though there is no organized Safari done here  small treks  for  2hrs  to 1 day duration are done. You can use the services of the guides of the Eco development committee for the same. As we are at the end of Kerala-food choices are basic-with maximum good tea shops, to quench your thirsts and hunger-with small rural nick-nacks! There are few Tree huts-inside the jungles along the river side-for you to stay-please note these are basic and have no power ,yet you feel close to jungle .The care taker can get you some basic food after your trek thro jungle by night fall!!- an experience!!


















 
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