Lying adjacent to the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the 285 sq km stretch of forest known as the Parambikulam Sanctuary is one of Kerala’s premier wildlife reserves. Tucked between the picturesque Annamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala on the Western Ghats, the sanctuary untouched by human habitation, harbours several varieties of aquatic fauna including mugger crocodiles that are often seen sunning on its banks. The area is hilly and rocky, drained by several rivers, including the Parambikulam, the Sholayar and the Thekkedy.
Parambikulam Sanctuary is highly protected and conserved from all the sides, and has thick forests with stands of bamboo, sandalwood, rosewood and teak. Parambikulam was once home to some of south India’s finest stands of teak; most of these, however, have now been replaced by teak plantations. Little remains of the original teak forests, other than the famous Kannimari teak tree, the largest in Asia.
It is endowed with peninsular flora and fauna which are excellently conserved due to total protection and minimal human interferences. The sanctuary houses large number of wildlife including many of India’s most prominent mammals: tigers, leopards, panthers, wild dogs, sloth bears, elephants, wild boar, barking deer, spotted deer, langurs and macaques. The sanctuary is bestowed with very rich and diverse wildlife due to the mosaic pattern of vegetation. Parambikulam is also home to Kerala’s largest population of gaur. Although the larger cats are few and far between, gaur, monkeys and deer are fairly common in the sanctuary.
Besides these, civet, chevrotain, pangolin, crocodile, jungle cat, porcupine and some 140 species of birds are found in the sanctuary, which add to the colourfulness and vibrancy of the forest area. Birds like grey headed fishing eagle, hornbill, nilgiri wood pigeon, oriental darter, night heron etc are found chirping and makes the journey into the sanctuary splendid and wonderful. One can also capture the fluttering varieties of butterflies while walking across the sanctuary.
So get ready to explore the nature at its best at Parambikulam Sanctuary.
Best time to visit
Parambikulam is open throughout the year, but is best avoided during the monsoon. Between June and August, the monsoon rains lash Parambikulam, making hillsides unstable and causing slush, mosquitoes, drippy roofs and other nuisances.