The beautiful hill station of Munnar is well known for its tea plantations and lush greenery and attracts tourists from all over. Munnar is one of the hill stations in South India you must visit. Hidden inside in Munnar is Eravikulam National Park; a sanctuary for the endangered Nilgiri Thar, a species of wild goat and Anaimudi, the highest peak in south India.
Spread across 97 square kilometers, Eravikulam National Park is located in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district along the Western Ghats. The terrain consists of a high rolling hill plateau with a 2000m elevation and grasslands. Along with its natural beauty and rare species, it also houses Neelakurinji flowers that bloom only once every 12 years. In 1975, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary and in 1978 was upgraded to National park status.
One of the most popular points in this park is the Echo Point where the view and the sound illusion never cease to amaze the visitors. It also offers a spectacular view of tea plantations as expected from a visit to Munnar. The Rajamalai area of the park is open to visitors while the Core area and Buffer area are restricted. A minibus takes you up the Rajamalai area and ends the tour at a photo gallery and store. After that point, you can take a trek up to the vantage point. The buses take you back down to the start. Private cars are not allowed in the park which helps keep the air pollution under control.
The peak of Anaimudi
The peak of Anaimudi which rests within the park has an elevation of 2,695 metres. The north and south slopes are gentle while the others are more challenging. The name Anamudi translates to “Elephant’s Forehead” since the mountain resembles an elephant’s head. You can walk up to 2 kms up the foothills. Special permissions from the Forest Department are required if you wish to scale the peak.
Along with the Nilgiri Tahr, you can spot the Nilgiri Langur, Indian Bison, Mongoose, Lion-tailed macaques, Small-clawed otter and the seasonal elephants. A point to be noted is that the park is kept closed at the mating time of Nilgiri Tahr, usually around February and March. The park boasts of 26 species of mammals, 132 species of birds and 19 species of amphibians. Birds like the Nilgiri Pipit, White-bellied Shortwing, Laughingthrush. Eravikulam National Park is also home to 101 species of butterflies like the Red disk bush brown. Recently scientists have discovered a new bright reddish-orange-colored species of frog with extremely short legs in this national park.
Primarily covered by grasslands, Eravikulam National Park, it transforms into a blue carpet when the Nilkanji flowers are in bloom every 12 years. The next bloom is expected in 2018 and it sure is a breathtaking phenomenon to observe. Apart from this magical blue flower, this national park is also known for its orchids and balsams. A rare species of orchid named Brachycorythis wightii was discovered here. Medicinal plants such as Drosera peltata also exist along with temperate species like Mahonia leschnaultti and Elateria cardamomum. Along with the grasslands and the dense forests, another type of terrain found here is the sholas which house the butterflies. Sounds like the perfect dream for nature lovers and photographers, doesn’t it? Whether you are one of the above or an adventure junkie, Eravikulam National Park is a must visit if you are headed to Munnar.
How to get there?
The nearest railway station is Aluva and Angamali both around over a 100 kms from Munnar. The nearest airport is Madurai which is around 142 kms away and Cochin International Airport which is 150 kms away. To know more about what you can do in Munnar, check out our blog on the top things to do in Munnar. There is a lot to discover in Munnar.
Where to stay?
Looking for a place to stay in Munnar? We recommend Sterling Munnar. This newly refurbished resort nestled within the quiet Chinnakanal village is the retreat you need to relax and rejuvenate. The mesmerising surroundings, the vast mountains, spice plantations and tea plantations are sure to make you fall in love with this south Indian paradise. The bustling central Munnar is only 18 kms away. What are you waiting for? Make a plan, visit God’s Own Country and be one with nature.