Parambikulam Tiger Reserve :
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai sub unit of Western Ghats, surrounded on all sides by protected areas and sanctuaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the sanctuary is endowed with a peninsular flora and fauna which are excellently conserved due to total protection and minimal human interferences. The sanctuary being a major ecological continuum from Peechhi to Eravikulam through Anamalai aids the large viable populations of wildlife. It is the home ground for different races of indigenous people who are as well an integral part of the prevailing harmonious ecosystem.
During the 19th century , the forests of Parambikulam were in two broad administrative units viz., Sungam Forest Reserve and Parambikulam Forest Reserve. Porter, in 1886 wrote the first ever plan to manage the Sungam Forest Reserve. Heavy exploitation of forests for valuable timber started then. Teak planting began in Parambikulam during 1921 and in 1983 was the last plantation raised.
Sungam Forest Reserve was administratively the Sungam Range of erstwhile Nemmara Forest Division and Parambikulam Forest Reserve was the Parambikulam Range.
One of the major milestones was the introduction of the tram way in 1907. It was designed to exploit the forests and remove valuable timber to Chalakkudy where from it could be transported by road. However, the Special Financial Committee abolished it in 1951.
Based on P.Narayanan Nair’s plan, a special Teak Plantation Division was constituted from Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in 1962. By then the Sungam Forest Reserve was declared as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (30 sq. miles) under the administrative control of State Wildlife Preservation Officer, Peermedu. Later in 1973, the Teak Plantation Division was dissolved and merged with the already notified sanctuary and a total area of 271 sq. km under the dual control of DFO, TP division and DFO, Nemmara.
In 1985, the sanctuary was administratively reorganized and it took the present shape and extent of 285 sq. km.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve : Topography
The various habitats here include evergreen forests, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous montane grass lands and Shola forests. The mosaic pattern of vegetation helps the forests house a diverse range of wild life. Apart from the forests, man-made vegetation such as teak plantations and the freshwater ecosystem created by the construction of three dams enrich the area.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – Peaks and valleys
Parambikulam offers a treat for the eyes and minds of nature lovers and the two important peaks and seven valleys here are endowed with nature’s bounty.
Vengolimala, one of the two slopes is a trekker’s delight with its steep slopes and cliffs and you stand a good chance of spotting the endangered species, Nilgiri Tahr, here. The tallest peak in the region is Karimalai Gopuram situated about 1430 m above the sea level and the place offers an enchanting panoramic view of the surroundings and the valleys.
From this vantage point, you will be able to watch the incessant flow of the backwaters of Thunakadavu and Parambikulam reservoirs apart from the verdant greenery of the forest region as well as the teak plantations. InParambikulam Tiger Reserve, there is a watchtower here where you can stay and enjoy the nocturnal life with prior permission from authorities.
Trekkers can start on soft, medium or tough adventure trails belonging to different trekking plans here and they will be accompanied by tribal guides.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – Kannimara Teak
About seven kilometres from Thunakkadavu stands the teak tree called Kannimara (Connemera – Irish name) considered to be the oldest and largest teak tree in the world. The tree, believed to be more than 350 years old, has a height of 40m and girth of 6.4m. To encircle this awesome tree that stands majestically in the forest, four persons with their hands outstretched will be needed.
The tribal folk in the area worship the tree considering it the abode of celestial beings.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – Anappady
If you want to get an insight into the ecosystem of the sanctuary, take a visit to the interpretation centre at Anappady.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – Flora and Fauna
About 39 species of mammals, 16 species of amphibians, 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish, more than 1000 species of insects and 124 species of butterflies have been identified in this region. The place is also a bird watcher’s delight with more than 250 species of birds.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is rich fauna of the region owes a lot to the mosaic pattern of the vegetation and the backwaters. A boat ride through the backwaters of the reservoir will help you watch the wildlife from a safe distance. You will be able to see herds of Elephants, endangered freshwater crocodiles, Otters, Turtles etc. Langurs, Sambars, Gaurs, Mongoose, Lion-tailed Macaques, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs, Civet Cats, Indian wild dogs, Porcupines and a whole lot of other fauna make the place a lively sanctuary.
Birds seen here include the Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, the Peninsular Bay Owl, the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, the Black-capped Kingfisher, the Great Black Woodpecker and the Lesser Grey-headed Fish Eagle. The endangered fish species Mahseer too is found in the water systems here.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve also houses more than 1400 species of plants coming under 753 genera and 140 families. It includes more than 1300 flowering species, 70 species of orchids and some threatened species of medicinal plants such as wood turmeric, sarsaparilla, sun dew and snake root.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve – Tourist Green Tips:
All of us can help protect our environment. Whether it is at home, at work or at school, we need to take charge of things around us and help fight global warming. Here are some tips on how to go green and ensure that your home, your school and your (or your parents’) place of work are eco friendly.
- Turn off your lights when you are not using them.
- Use low energy bulbs and tubes such as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs as they consume less electricity than high voltage incandescent bulbs.
- Electronic appliances such as computers, printers, televisions, music systems, etc. should not be left on stand-by. Switch them off when you’re done.
- If you have a balcony or any open space plants lots of trees or keep some potted plants. Community gardens are a wonderful way to get your neighbours and friends involved in your work. Another amazing thing to do is to start your own vegetable garden where you can grow organic produce!
- Remember the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We often print on one side of a page and then throw it away. Don’t print if you don’t need to and always use both sides of the paper. Make sure you always recycle even if it’s just a banana peel – fruit and vegetable skins make great manure. Avoid plastic and instead go for reusable cloth bags, carry your lunch in a box instead of foil – the list is endless!
- Surely you don’t need the air-conditioner when it’s lovely and breezy outside. Try keeping you’re a/c usage to a minimum – they’re power guzzlers!
- Form a car pool with colleagues or friends or take public transport to school, work or any other place you visit. It may take longer, but it is good for our environment. Riding your bike or walking are excellent options.
- Do NOT litter! Even though public places may not have dustbins that’s not excuse to make a mess! Put your garbage back in your bag and take it home with you. A good way of doing this is to keep assign a pocket in your bag for litter or to carry a small paper bag for your rubbish. Make it a point to correct people who litter and work with public authorities to install more dustbins and promote cleanliness.
- Avoid buying bottled water. The process of harvesting raw materials, processing and manufacturing the plastic and shipping them to the market is extremely energy intensive. Therefore, filter your own water and use reusable water bottles to fill water.
Accommodation facilities available in the sanctuary:
Parmbikulam with its panoramic landscape, meandering streams, extensive waterspread of the reservoir, cascading waterfalls, rolling hills and valleys and a wealth of biodiversity, is one of the most captivating place on earth.
Well kept and hygienic facilities available to accommodate the discerning tourist are given below :
|1||Tented Homes at Anappady||14 beds (7 tents)|
|2||Veettikunnu Island Inn||6 beds|
|3||Treetop Hut, Thunacadavu||2|
|4||Treetop Hut, Parambikulam||2|
|5||Elephant valley home, Parambikulam||6 beds|
|6||Bison valley Home, Parambikulam||6|
|7||Sambar Machan (Kuriarkutty)||5 Nos.|
|8||Peacock Machan (Vengoli)||5 Nos.|
|9||Cheetal Machan (Anakkal)||5 Nos.|
|10||Thellikkal IB||8 beds|
|11||LTM House||6 beds|
|12||Bay Owl Shed (Bagapallam)||5 Nos|
|13||Tahr shed (Vengoli)||5 Nos|
|14||Cane Turtle Shed (Thuthanpara)||5 Nos.|
|15||Tiger Hall, Parambikulam||20 Nos|
|16||Masheer Dormitory, Anappady||40 Nos.|
|14||Salim Ali Study centre||10 Nos|