Kerala is well known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich biodiversity. The state is home to several wildlife sanctuaries that offer a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant ecosystem of the Western Ghats. From dense forests to serene lakes and rolling grasslands, these sanctuaries provide a sanctuary for numerous species of flora and fauna. Whether it’s the elusive tigers in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or the endangered Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam National Park, each sanctuary has its own unique charm, making Kerala a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and nature photographers alike. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the top 10 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala and discover the wonders of the wild that thrive in this verdant state.
1. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Thekkady, is renowned for its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife. The sanctuary spans over 925 square kilometers and is centered around the picturesque Periyar Lake. It features among the top 10 national parks in India. Visitors can indulge in activities like boat cruises and guided treks to witness the wildlife in its natural habitat.
The sanctuary is home to various species, including elephants, tigers, sambar deer, and langurs. Moreover, the lush greenery and misty hills add to the enchanting ambiance, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.
2. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Nestled amidst the Western Ghats in Wayanad, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary offers a captivating experience to wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary’s rich biodiversity comprises rare and endangered species, such as the Indian elephant and the elusive tiger. Trekking through its diverse terrain, visitors can encounter leopards, deer, and langurs while being surrounded by lush forests and serene waterfalls. The Edakkal Caves, an archaeological wonder, are also located nearby, adding historical significance to the sanctuary.
3. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Palakkad, is a haven for nature lovers seeking tranquility. Spanning over 280 square kilometers, the sanctuary is characterized by its teak plantations and teeming wildlife. With a focus on conservation, visitors can spot endemic species like the lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri langur. The serene Parambikulam Lake within the sanctuary offers boating and guided safaris, allowing visitors to observe animals like gaurs and deer drinking from its shores.
4. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Idukki, enthralls visitors with its unique ecosystem and diverse landscapes. The sanctuary’s terrain includes dry deciduous forests, thorny scrub forests, and grasslands, offering a habitat for a variety of wildlife species. One of the main attractions here is the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel. Visitors can also encounter elephants, spotted deer, and numerous bird species. Trekking trails like the Thoovanam Waterfalls trek provide opportunities to explore the sanctuary’s natural beauty up close.
5. Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park, located near Munnar, is famed for its spectacular landscapes and the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. This park is a significant conservation area, dedicated to preserving the Nilgiri Tahr’s population. The rolling grasslands interspersed with shola forests create a picturesque setting. The Neelakurinji flower, which blooms once every twelve years, attracts visitors from all over the world. Guided tours to Anamudi, the highest peak in South India, are also available, adding an adventurous touch to the sanctuary visit.
6. Silent Valley National Park
Silent Valley National Park, situated in Palakkad, is a pristine wilderness that captivates visitors with its untouched beauty. The park’s dense evergreen forests and undisturbed ecosystem make it a unique haven for various wildlife species. The Lion-tailed Macaque, Malabar Giant Squirrel, and Great Indian Hornbill are some of the fascinating creatures found here. The Kunti River flowing through the park adds to its charm, and trekking along its trails provides a thrilling adventure through the heart of nature.
7. Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary
Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Thrissur, is a splendid retreat for nature lovers. The sanctuary, spread across 125 square kilometers, features tranquil lakes, moist deciduous forests, and grasslands. Boating on the Peechi Dam’s reservoir allows visitors to spot various water birds and enjoy the serene surroundings. The sanctuary is also home to elephants, leopards, and barking deer. Nature walks and guided treks offer opportunities to explore its diverse flora and fauna up close.
8. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, nestled in the Idukki district, is a haven of natural beauty. The sanctuary’s picturesque landscape comprises hills, valleys, and dense forests. Trekking enthusiasts can embark on exciting trails to witness abundant wildlife, including elephants, sambar deer, and wild dogs. The captivating Periyar River flows through the sanctuary, offering boat cruises that provide glimpses of animals drinking at the water’s edge.
9. Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam is a hidden gem awaiting discovery. With its diverse range of wildlife and captivating landscapes, the sanctuary offers a memorable experience for nature enthusiasts. The Shendurney River meandering through the sanctuary adds to its scenic charm. Visitors can spot species like the Nilgiri langur and bonnet macaque while trekking through the dense forests. The sanctuary’s peaceful ambiance and off-the-beaten-path appeal make it a perfect escape for those seeking serenity.
10. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated near Thiruvananthapuram, is a delightful combination of wildlife and natural beauty. The sanctuary surrounds the picturesque Neyyar Dam and offers a variety of activities such as boating, wildlife safaris, and trekking. Visitors can spot creatures like elephants, sloth bears, and gaur while enjoying the serene environment. The Agasthyakoodam Peak, which lies within the sanctuary, is a popular trekking destination and adds an adventurous touch to the overall experience.
In conclusion, Kerala’s top 10 wildlife sanctuaries are a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures and protecting its unique biodiversity. Each sanctuary offers a distinct experience, from thrilling wildlife encounters to serene boat rides through lush greenery. Whether it’s the towering peaks of Silent Valley National Park or the tranquility of Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary’s reservoir, these sanctuaries beckon travelers to immerse themselves in the splendor of nature.
As we bid farewell to this enchanting journey through Kerala’s wilderness, let us remember to cherish and protect these precious habitats so that future generations can continue to be awed by the beauty and majesty of the wild in “God’s Own Country.”