SURPRISE ME!

5 Sanctuaries You Must Visit to Explore Wildlife in Kerala

Sapna Kaushik

Last updated: Apr 3, 2017

Author Recommends

See

Backwaters, wildlife and tea plantations

Do

Enjoy a snake boat race, relax with Ayurvedic therapies and take a peaceful houseboat ride on the backwaters

Eat

Appams and stew, Fish fry and Aviyal

Shop

Spices, Tea, Coir items and Woodcarvings

Click

A selfie on a houseboat Wildlife photography in the sanctuaries

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From exquisite coral reefs to the extensive mesh of river bodies, and from the splendid backwaters to the greenest valleys, Kerala has a vivid and varied topography that no other Indian state enjoys. On a recent trip to this exotic land, I took to discovering the national parks in Kerala. Though it seemed like an impossible task, I did manage it well! Here are my experiences.

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The beautiful backwaters of Kerala

 

Kerala is a tropical paradise and has as many as six national parks for one to explore. To discover the length and breadth of wildlife in Kerala, you need at least five to six days.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Starting from near Kochi (where my flight landed), the first stop was the enchanting Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Situated on the bank of Vembanad Lake in the backwaters of Kerala, this bird sanctuary is home to the largest number of migratory birds in India. Here, I managed to spot larks, herons, cuckoos, owls, the Siberian crane and a flycatcher. What a wonderful start to this expedition in the wild, I admitted to myself.

The serene Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary | Photo Credit: e900/Flickr Creative Commons

 

 Periyar National Park

Up next was the most awaited trip to the tiger reserve at Periyar National Park. Situated in the Western Ghats, the region is also known as Thekkady and is adorned with lush green beauty and is accessible throughout the year. However, there is very limited access for tourists. I cannot describe my disappointment when we could not spot a tiger but a herd of elephants, an occasional peeking deer, lazy reptiles, suspecting macaques and a number of birds like kingfishers and the Malabar Hornbill were welcoming sights that I will never forget. The boat cruise in the picturesque Lake Periyar was a wonderful ride that brought us closer to this idyllic land. The feeling of being ‘out in the wild’ was rapidly sinking in and I could not imagine going back to the dull life of malls and processed food.

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The stunning landscape at Periyar National Park

 

Eravikulam National Park

Just 15 kilometres from Munnar, we stopped at a beautiful grassland ecosystem with meandering rivulets in Idukki district at the Eravikulam National Park. The national park is famous for the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species of goat which we did manage to catch a glimpse of by a stream! What a sight it was to watch it drink calmly from the stream unaware of onlookers. Remember, the park is closed during January to April because it is the calving season of the Nilgiri Tahrs.

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A Nilgiri Tahr at Eravikulam National Park | Photo Credit: Sakeeb Sabakka/Flickr Creative Commons

 

 Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The next day, we headed to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary from Munnar where we managed to get a comfortable and beautiful hotel. The sanctuary is situated in the rain shadow area of the Western Ghats and therefore has almost a two-month long rainy season. In this deciduous forest, one can hope to spot the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel while enjoying a trek in the beautiful environs.

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Photo Credit: Kerala Tourism/ Wikimedia

 

Silent Valley National Park

Located in the Nilgiri Hills in the Palakkad District of Kerala, Silent Valley National Park was my last stop on this trail of wildlife reserves. The reserve is also one of the most well-preserved habitats for tigers. Silent Valley is one of the most vibrant rainforest areas and houses an unbelievable number of unique species of flora and fauna.

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A picturesque waterfall in Silent Valley National Park | Photo Credit: നിരക്ഷര/ Wikimedia

 

My memorable excursion to wild Kerala came to a beautiful end and I then proceeded to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu for my flight back home. Just as the state is dotted with forests and biosphere reserves, there is no dearth of hotels in Kerala. Find your perfect pick from a range of comfortable hotels offered by MakeMyTrip all over Kerala. Also, simply book a complete package to these natural heavens in God’s Own Country and holiday worry-free, soaking in the spirit of Kerala.

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