The Eravikulam National Park Munnar, spread over 97 sq km, is a green paradise which is home to rare flora, fauna, and wildlife. However, the biggest attraction of the park is Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), an endangered species of mountain goat.
Around one-third of the world’s population of this species lives in this park. Neelakurinji, the plant which flowers once in twelve years, grows in abundance here making the park a must-visit place during the kurinji flowering season. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India, is situated in the park. The Eravikulam National Park is around 13 km away from Munnar town. Every year sometime during January-February, which is the calving season, the park remains closed to the public.
The Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) is an endangered mountain goat species. Their numbers have dwindled over the years due to poaching and a lack of natural habitats for them. Kerala is proud to be home to this beautiful animal species in the 400 km stretch of the Western Ghats between the state and Tamil Nadu. Eravikulam National Park Munnar is a prime example of a separate safe haven being created to preserve these gentle beings. Visitors can view them at specific times during the year as well.This park boasts of the highest density and the largest surviving population of the Nilgiri Tahr.
They graze most actively during the early morning and the late afternoon. The male of the species is larger and darker than the female and is famous for their silvery saddle like a patch on the back. Mating takes place during the Monsoon and calving during the first 2 months of the year. Their life expectancy is up to 3.5 years but has the potential to be as high as 9 years. Eravikulam hosts about 300 of the species and it is from here that the fight for their survival is being spearheaded.
Besides the Nilgiri Tahr, the prestigious inhabitant of the park is Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas), which has the largest surface area of wings among all moths.Twenty-six species of mammals have been identified in the Eravikulam National Park Munnar. Besides the Nilgiri Tahr, the ungulates in the park include Gaur, Indian Muntjac, and Sambar Deer. The predators include Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Wild Dog, Dhole, Leopard, and tiger. Nilgiri Langur, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Indian Porcupine, Nilgiri Marten, Small-Clawed Otter, Ruddy Mongoose, and Dusky Striped Squirrel are also among the inhabitants of the park. Nilgiri Marten, Small-Clawed Otter, Ruddy Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, and Macaques can also be spotted in the park. Elephant presence inside the park is seasonal and tigers and leopards are also present though very few in numbers. A new species of frog named Raorchestes Resplendens, which is on the brink of extinction, was also discovered in the Eravikulam National Park Munnar.
The Eravikulam National Park Munnar, which is home to around 120 bird species, is a delight to bird watchers. Nilgiri Pipit, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Verditer flycatcher, Kerala Laughing Thrush, Yellow-throated Marten and Black and Orange flycatcher are among proud inhabitants of the park. Around 100-odd butterfly species have been spotted in the park including the Red Disk Bushbrown and Palni Fourwing.
Neelakurinji, a mass flowering plant which blooms once in twelve years, grows in abundance in the Eravikulam National Park Munnar. A park is a must-visit place during the kurinji flowering season. The large number of rare varieties of plants, quite endemic to the Western Ghats, grows in the park. Recently the park gave good news for nature lovers when a rare species of orchid named Brachycorythis wightii was discovered there. The variety has almost been driven to the brink of extinction. Another rare orchid variety found in the park is Habenaria flabelliformis. Besides medicinal plants such as Drosera peltata, there are wild varieties of cultivated plants like Piper Schmidt and Elateria cardamom in the park.
There are several temperate species in the park including Mahonia leschnaultti, Rhododendron arboreum, Gaultheria fragrantissima and Berberis tinctoria.
Grasslands, shrubland, and forests are the three major types of plant communities in the park. The high plateau and hills are covered by grasslands predominantly. While shrublands are along the bases of the cliffs, the shola forests are found in the valleys and folds. The park boasts of the largest contiguous and undisturbed Shola grassland ecosystem where orchids and balsams can be spotted in abundance and variety.
In the past, the known human inhabitants in the area were the Muduvans, a tribal community. The area falling under the park was a game preserve managed by the High Range Game Preservation Association during the colonial era. The Association was assigned to the task by the former Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company.
The Government of Kerala took over the area in 1971 and declared it a sanctuary in 1975. The park was given the status of national park in 1978. And it is known as Eravikulam National Park Munnar. The park is managed by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of Kerala. The Department ensures the participation of the tribal communities in the preservation of the park.
The climate of the Eravikulam National Park Munnar is tropical montane. Though latitude-wise, the park falls in the tropics, it exhibits extratropical climate owing to the altitudinal influence. This change in the bio-climate and geological stability is said to be important for the endemic species in the habitat.
The park receives heavy rainfall and the average annual rainfall is 3000mm. Heavy rains occur during the South-West monsoon and January-March are relatively dry months. In winter, the temperature may even go below the freezing level.
The nearest town Munnar is about 13 km away from the park. Munnar is well connected by roads from Kerala and the nearby state of Tamil Nadu.
Aluva (Kerala): 120 km
Ernakulam (Kerala): 130 km
Kottayam (Kerala): 142 km
Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu): 165 km
Pollachi (Tamil Nadu): 72 km
Cochin International Airport (Kerala): 143 km
The Visiting timing of the Eravikulam National Park Munnar is from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Every year the park remains closed during the monsoon season. The park is managed by the Munnar Wildlife Division under the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of Kerala. Contact the park authorities or the Idukki District Tourism Promotion Council before planning the visit.
Trekking facilities are available in the park. Contact the park authorities for details on the option well in advance. Accommodation facilities are available in Munnar.
Forest Information Centre
Wildlife Warden’s Office
Munnar PO, Idukki
Kerala, India – 685 612
Tel: +91 4865 231587
Other contact addresses:
The Wildlife Warden
Munnar Wildlife Division
Tel: +91 4865 231587
District Tourism Promotion Council Information Centre
Old Munnar Road
Idukki- 685 612
Tel: +91 4865 231 516