The Endangered Nilgiri Tahr in Pictures - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Endangered Nilgiri Tahr in Pictures

The stare of a Nilgiri Tahr - Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

As a wildlife lover, one of the best perks of a holiday to Munnar is that you can get close to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, catch a good glimpse of it and may even walk beside it. Sounds surreal right? Well, such an experience is possible at Eravikulam National Park, a gem located just 9 kms away from Munnar city center.

Close up of a Nilgiri Tahr

Endemic to the high mountains of the NIlgiri mountains in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, this handsome animal with its powerfully built body and pointed horns that face backwards is a sight to behold. And when it defies gravity by standing at cliff edges and precipices, it looks absolutely majestic. No wonder, it is called Varai-aadu (or precipice goat) in Tamil. This state animal of Tamil Nadu, is closer to the sheep family than the ibex or tahr family as the name suggests or the deer or antelope family, which a lot of people misinterpret due to their looks.

Endangered Nilgiri Tahr walks amidst the rare Neelakurinji flowers

While the Nilgiri Tahr exist across many places in the Nilgiris, it is at Eravikulam National Park that you can see them in close quarters. Here, these animals have gotten used to humans walking on the trails inside the national park and have overcome the fear of humans. Thus, the interaction with these rare, endemic and endangered animals becomes that much more richer.

Nilgiri Tahr trying to cross the walking trail of Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Right from seeing the alpha protect his herd to them looking for threats by standing on precipices and from watching them feed on the mountain grass to simply resting at various steep surfaces, the interactions can be countless. Some visitors use this opportunity to take selfies, which I find to be stupid, but if you let the animal be, he will allow you to walk with him while he goes about his day to day business, which I think for a wildlife enthusiast is an unbelievable experience.

Eravikulam's Nilgiri Tahr in monochrome

These photographs offer just a sneak peek into the overall experience. In addition to the Nilgiri Tahr, Eravikulam National Park offers stunning mountain panorama, is home to some special flora and fauna and is also one of the best places to see the rare Neelakurinji flower bloom whenever it does. Do visit this national park on your next trip to Munnar and see it for yourself.

Nilgiri Tahr eating the Neelakurinji flower at Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Early morning and late evenings are best times for photographers to Eravikulam National Park in overall, but if you are going specifically for Nilgiri Tahr, go between 9 AM and 3 PM as that is the time when these animals come down from mountain tops to feed.

The Nilgiri Tahr and the Neelakurinji at Eravikulam National Park, Munnar

Nearest city:
Munnar would be your closest city, but Marayoor offers an excellent off beat and budget option.

The stunning horns of a Nilgiri Tahr

Nearest airport:
Kochi, about 120 to 130 kms way

Nilgiri Tahrs standing amidst Neelakurinji blooms

Best time of the year:
All around the year except February and March when the park is closed. Do carry an umbrella or rain gear during rainy days.

Nilgiri Tahr standing on a rock amidst the Neelakurinji blooms while enjoying the morning sun

How to book a ticket:
Look up Eravikulam National Park website for all details.

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