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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the jumbo trail at Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

An event of days gone by...last December during my solo all india motorcycle journey...



Parambikulam tiger reserve runs contiguous to the Anaimalai tiger reserve and is situated in the Anaimalai hills (literally means 'elephant hill') of the western Ghats, south of the Palakkad gap, in Kerala's Palakkad district, bordering Tamil Nadu. Though the Parambikulam tiger reserve is situated in Kerala, one can enter it only through the Anaimalai tiger reserve (formerly known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary) through the check post at Top Slip in Tamil Nadu.

I was staying at my forest accommodation in the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve. I had opted to stay here instead of the Parambikulam accommodation due to the exorbitant prices that the Kerala forest department charges here. Further, the Parambikulam check post was only 2 kms away from my forest accommodation at Top Slip. So, on a balmy morning, armed with my binoculars and camera, I walked the 2 kms from my forest accommodation to the Parambikulam check post. Here, I bought my entrance tickets and took a lift from a friendly Keralite group who were in their Ambassador. Upon reaching the Parambikulam tourist centre, I eagerly waited for the forest buses that were supposed to give us a 35 km tour of the national park and its wildlife.


Parambikulam is Kerala's third biggest wildlife sanctuary. At one time, teak trees were grown in the area, but today, the sanctuary is managed in such a way that the forest retains its natural status. About 9,000 hectares of teak plantations can be found at Parambikulam.

As the not so noisy forest bus motored along, I sighted spotted deer, large herd of gaurs, pretty peacocks and peahens, wild boars, common and nilgiri langaurs and bonnet macaques. The tourist bus also took us to the mammoth Kannimara teak tree, which is believed to be the oldest teak tree in the world and possibly the largest. According to the information provided by the Kerala forest department, the tree stands at 48.5m and has a girth of 6.57m. It is said to 450 years old. It is probably the last survivor of the wild teak that once grew in this area before the whole area was converted into teak plantations.

Next, the bus took us to the Parambikulam and Thunakadavu dams where boating services are offered. Both these places are considered good spots to sight wild elephants and mugger crocodiles. But, these animals chose not to bless me with their presence on that day. The return journey was marked with more wildlife sightings. A fruitful wildlife excursion!!

I would love to visit Parambikulam Tiger Reserve again and maybe try the more exotic accommodations here - the tree top huts, machan accommodation or the tented accommodations on islands on the dam.

To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist's lens, visit the album below.
my solo all-india motorcycle journey



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