Spread over 97 sq km along the Western Ghats in Idukki district of Kerala, Eravikulam National Park is among the most bio-diverse regions of India. Home to the Nilgiri Tahr, the park along with the neighboring Chinnar and Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuaries, is amongst the largest conservation areas in Western Ghats. Eravikulam, situated in Idukki district, etymologically denotes pools and streams. The National Park is important as a catchment area for both east and west flowing rivers. The park which is also known as Rajamalai National Park was a hunting preserve for the British planters and was owned by Rajamalai and Eravikulam during the British rule and then was forked over to Kannan Deven Hills for tea plantation. Later the area was declared as sanctuary with an objective of protecting the indigenous population of Nilgiri Tahr when founded in the year 1975 and it was then upgraded as the national park in 1978.
Attractions in the Park
Flora: Three major types of plant communities are found in the Park - grasslands, shrub lands and forests. The terrain above 2000m is covered primarily by grasslands. However, there are numerous small patches of forests in hollows and gullies in these areas. The deeper valleys are extensively forested. Shrub lands predominate along the bases of the cliffs and interspersed in rocky slab areas. The antibacterial Eupatorium glandulosum is found here.
Fauna: Twenty six species of mammals have been recorded in the park including the largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr, estimated at about 750 in number. The other ungulates are Gaur, Indian Muntjac and Sambar Deer. Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Wild dog, Dhole, leopard and tiger are the main predators. Some little known animals such as Nilgiri langur, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Indian Porcupine, Nilgiri Marten, small clawed otter, Ruddy Mongoose, and Dusky palm squirrel are also found. Elephants make seasonal visits.
Avifauna: 132 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White Bellied Shortwing, Nilgiri Verditer Flycatcher and Kerala Laughing thrush.
Anamudi Peak: Located at the interior of the Park, the Anamudi Peak serves as the crown for the reserve area being accomplished with variant flora and fauna. The peak is also being recognized for possessing the endangered species of animals. Lying at a peak of 2695 m, the Anamudi peak shelters many animals. This is the location that brings a perfect chance to meet the nature with the fantastic longing for trekking on the hills.
Echo Point - Tourists prefer this place for trekking and nature walks and is the worthy place located at the distance of 15 km from the reserve. This point is being illustrated with lush green hills where the tourists can get a fascinating effect of their voice echo in the valley.
When to Visit
The best time to visit is from September to November and from April to June.
How to Reach
By Air: The Park is accessible from Cochin (148 km) and Coimbatore (175 km) airports.
By Rail: The nearest railway station in Kerala is Aluva (120 Km from Munnar) and Coimbatore (165 Km) in Tamil Nadu.
By Road: Eravikulam is nearly 15 Km north of Munnar and can be reached from Kochi (135 Km) and Kottayam (148 Km) by Road.