Top 10 Best Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Kerala is the magical ‘showcase’ of some of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Asia. From national parks to forest reserves and animal reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala boasts of unique, abundant, exotic and rare species of flora and fauna as well as tigers, elephants, monkeys, birds and mammals.

List of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

There are 14 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 tiger reserves in Kerala and we have included the top 10 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala that attracts both international and domestic tourists. Each

1. Eravikulam National Park

Eravikulam National Park is known to the world as the sacred haven of Tahr, the endangered goat-like mammal that lives in the Western Ghats. Spreads over 97 sq. km, Eravikulam National Park is situated in Munnar, the most popular tourist spot in India. The park also features Anamudi peak, South India’s highest peak. People flock to this national park to enjoy the beauty of nature. Strategically located at Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district, Eravikulam National Park is home to many endangered species and another dynamic biodiversity. Neelakurinji flower (small blue flowers) that blooms every 12 years is one of the major attractions of the land. Some of the exciting flora includes epiphytic orchids and balsams; and the stunning fauna line includes Nilgiri Langur, Indian Bison, leopards, etc.

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Trekking and camping are the two major ecotourism activities that can be done at Eravikulam National Park.

How to reach Eravikulam National Park?

By Air: Madurai International Airport is the nearest airport, which is about 142 km and Cochin International Airport, the second nearest airport is about 111 kilometers via NH 85 from Eravikulam National Park.

By Rail: Angamali railway station is the nearest station (about 108 km) from Munnar and Aluva, the second nearest and busiest station (109 km) from Munnar.

By Road: Munnar is the nearest town to the park and is located 13 km away. Munnar is well connected by roads from Kerala and the neighboring state, Tamil Nadu.

Best time to visit: Eravikulam National Park is opened on all days and will be closed from February to March every year due to the calving time of Nilgiri Tahr. The visiting hours are from 07:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.

2. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect example of rich and dynamic wildlife and the biggest and most popular among Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. Spread across 925 sq km of protected forest, the 350 sq km was later declared in the year 1982 as the National Park. The Periyar wildlife sanctuary also features tiger reserve and elephant reserve, as it is home to the massive population of tigers and elephants. Apart from tigers and elephant, the four main species that can be seen at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary are Nilgiri Langur, Gee’s Golden Langur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, and Bonnet Macaque.

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periyar-wildlife-sanctuary

Tourists can enjoy boat cruising at the Periyar Lake and can get a deep insight into the vibrant wildlife of Periyar by taking a Jeep Safari, or even an elephant safari.

ALSO SEE – Thekkady Boating- Booking, Entry Fee and Timings

How to reach Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport (200 km). Madurai International Airport is the second nearest airport (140 km).

By Rail: Kottayam is the nearest railway station (at 114 km).

By Road: Kumily is the nearest town to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (4 km).

Best time to visit: October to June is the ideal time to visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

3. Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is an undisturbed natural sanctum located in one of the most beautiful places in Kerala, Kollam. As a wildlife lover, if you wish to see the free roaming animals and enjoy the beauty of nature, then Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is the best choice for you. The long and muddy trekking trails invite tourists to watch the compelling beauty of evergreen forests. Parappar Dam built across the Shendurney river is a perfect picturesque point near the sanctuary. The place is home to one of the rare tree species, Glutatravancorica; locally known as Chenkurunji. The ecotourism activities like trekking, camping, and boating offer an incredible opportunity to watch a herd of deer. A jungle trekking and camping program called Idimuzhanganpara Nights and Kurumthotti Top Hut Camping are arranged for tourists to explore the wilderness of the forests.

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Parappar Dam built across the Shendurney river is a perfect picturesque point near the sanctuary

How to reach Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air:

Nearest International airport: Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala (53 km)

By Rail:

Nearest railway station: Shengottai railhead in Tamil Nadu (15 km)

By Road:

Buses operate on a regular basis from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.

Best time to visit: From October to June. The visiting time is from 07:00 am to 06:00 pm

4. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The diverse ecosystem sprawling along the eastern slopes of Western Ghats is the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spreads over 90 sq km in the Idukki district, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded as the national wildlife sanctuary in the year 1984 and is one of the most recent Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. It is a unique home to the Great Grizzled Squirrel of India, one of the most endangered species on the planet. Comprised of dry deciduous forests, hillocks, green plains, waterfalls, and another rich biodiversity, the sanctuary is highly recommended to fit in the list of World Heritage Sites.

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Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded as the national wildlife sanctuary in the year 1984

 

How to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: Coimbatore Airport is the nearest aerodrome, placed at a distance of 115km

Cochin International Airport is the second nearest airport- 208 km

By Rail: Pollachi railhead – 60 km

Aluva railway station – 200 km

By Road: It is situated on the Marayoor – Udumalpet Road. The most popular town near to Chinnar is Munnar, which is only 65 km away.

Best time to visit: November to February.

5. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

The Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is situated in Chittur taluk of Palakkad district. The protected area is placed at an altitude of 1438 m above sea level and is declared as a Tiger Reserve in the year 2009. The first scientifically managed teak plantation belongs to this sanctuary.  Nestled between the Anamalai hills and the Nelliampathy hills, it covers around 643.66 sq km of greenery and is regarded as the top protected ecological park in India. ‘Kannimara’, the world’s oldest teak, which is believed to be 350 years old, is the other major attraction of this place.

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Tiger in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

 

ALSO SEE – Parambikulam Tiger Reserve-Timing, Room Booking, Forest Stay

How to reach Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: The Nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport (110 km)

By Rail: Pollachi railhead is the nearest Railway station (39.0 km)

Palakkad is the nearest railhead in Kerala (79.3 km)

By Road: The Nearest town is Pollachi, which is a town in Tamilnadu. Hire taxi via Parambikulam Road and Ambarampalayam – Sethumadai Road to reach Parambikulam.

Best time to visit: From November to April, the climate is well set for tourists to indulge in bird watching.

6. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

Idukki, the other name of nature and Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is the other example to add to the list. Elegantly cradled by two famous rivers, Cheruthoni and Periyar and located about 750 meters above sea level, the sanctuary is spread over a grand 77 sq km. Mainly comprising of both evergreen and deciduous forests, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife. Elephants, tigers, sambar deer, jungle cats, grey jungle fowl,  the Malabar grey hornbill, cobras, vipers, to name but a few.

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Elephants, tigers, sambar deer, jungle cats etc are common in Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

 

How to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: Nearest airport – Cochin International Airport (113.8 km)

By Rail: Nearest railway station – Kottayam (85.3 km)

By Road: Closest major hub – Ernakulam (120 km)

Best time to visit: December to April tends to be the ideal time to visit Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.

7. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

An integral division of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of amazing wildlife and fantastic landscape ans is the second largest among the Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. It is established in the year 1973 and is a proud extension of the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka. Famous for its rich biodiversity, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the real pride of Kerala. The prominent river of Kerala, Lakkidi goes through this sanctuary. Tourists can also get to know more about the incredible tribal communities such as Adiyars, Paniyas, Kurichyas, Kattunaikkans, and Ooralis.

 

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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary will be a proud extension of the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka

Recent studies prove that Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary has the largest tiger population in Kerala.  The protected area is listed under Protect Elephant and hence acts as a major Elephant Reserve in the country.

How to reach Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode (125 km)

By Rail: Kozhikode (Calicut) Railway station

By Road: The nearest town is Sulthan Bathery (Wayanad – 14.1 km)

Best time to visit: June to October.

8. Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary

Popularly known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary is the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. The sanctuary is named after the eminent ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali. It is based on the recommendations made by Dr. Salim Ali, the Government of Kerala established this sanctuary in the year 1983. Tourists can enjoy the magic of avian life by visiting this sanctuary. An average of 300 species of birds inhabits this area. The word meaning of Thattekad is ‘flat forest’ and simply got the name from the low-land forest area. The forest area is spread across 25 sq. km. and is ideally located in between the tributaries of the longest river of Kerala, Periyar.

 

thattekad-wildlife-sanctuary
Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary is the first bird sanctuary in Kerala

Ranging from water birds and prey birds to pet birds, it’s fantastic and fun to watch the avian life freely flying through the forests. Some of the species you can see at the sanctuary are Sri Lankan Frogmouth, White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Bronzed Drongo, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Indian cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Racket Tailed Drongo, the Malabar Grey Hornbill, and Shama.

How to reach Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Air: Cochin International Airport (43 km)

By Rail: Nearest railway station: Aluva, (48 km)

By Road: The sanctuary is located about 12 kilometers from Kothamangalam. Buses ply between the major cities in Kerala and Thattekad to take passengers to their destination.

Best time to visit: All seasons except the monsoon is ideal for visiting the sanctuary.

9. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

The ultimate destination for birdwatchers is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located at Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala. The sanctuary is also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary as it is erected on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Spread across 14 acres of land, the sanctuary was earlier known as Baker’s estate and is home to a large number of migratory birds even from Himalayas and Siberia. From sociable birds to prey birds, birders can see a wide variety of birds including wood beetles, waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, Siberian Cranes, parrots, flycatchers, teal, and larks.

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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary

 

How to reach Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

By Air: The Nearest aerodrome is Cochin International Airport (94 km)

By Rail: Kottayam Railhead (about 13 kilometers)

By Road: Private and public bus services are available from major cities. Or you can hire cars or taxis from Kottayam to reach the destination.

Best time to visit: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a year-round tourist destination. It is best to visit the sanctuary from June to August as the season marks the breeding season of many wetland birds.

10. Silent Valley National Park

A magical extension of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley National Park got its status as the National Park in the year 1984. The legend has it that Sairandhiri (the other name of Panchali from Mahabharata) hid in this place along with her husbands, Pandavas, hence named the place as ‘Sairandhrivanam’. Tourists can see the majestic Nilgiri Plateau to the North and the lush Mannarkkad Plains to the South. The perfect place of magical silence, the Silent Valley features an incredible line-up of flora and fauna. Tourists can expect anytime leopards, elephants, Malabar Giant Squirrels and many more in between your visit. With breathtaking views, astounding wildlife and over 1000 species of flowering plants, the Silent Valley National Park still create wonders for the tourists!

 

silent-valley-kerala
Legend has it that Sairandhiri (the other name of Panchali from Mahabharata) hid in this place along with her husbands, Pandavas

Tourists can take a dreamy journey into the wilderness of the forest through trekking and also opt for 2-day camping called Keerippara Camping to relish the charm of nature.

 How to reach Silent Valley National Park?

By Air: Coimbatore International Airport (73.9 kilometers) via Anaikatti Road and Mannarkkad – Anakkatti Road.

By Rail: The nearest railhead is Palakkad (49.8 kilometers) via NH966 and Mannarkkad – Anakkatti Road

By Road: The Nearest town is Mannarkkad, which is located 32 kilometers away from the destination.

Best time to visit: Visit the park from December to April to watch the beguiling beauty of nature and wildlife.

 

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