Karaiyar Dam: Offbeat Wildlife and Nature Holiday Destination in India’s Deep South - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Karaiyar Dam: Offbeat Wildlife and Nature Holiday Destination in India’s Deep South

A forest road - Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

One of the oldest dams and hydroelectric projects of Tamil Nadu, Karaiyar Dam, located near Papanasam in the Tirunelveli district is located right in the middle of gorgeously green, dense and remote Western Ghats. Surrounded by tall mountains, this massive water body is located inside Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve, a lesser known tiger paradise of India.

Photographing the scenic Karaiyar Dam inside Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

A day trip to Karaiyar Dam will take you through winding roads that cut through dense tropical forests, many mountain streams and waterfalls, give you an unparalleled view of the Agastyar mountain range of the Western Ghats and give you a fleeting glimpse of this national park’s rich wildlife. And while you are at it, you can jump under the perennial Agastyar waterfalls, bathe in the Thamarabharani river at Papanasam and offer your prayers at the 1000 year old Papanasanathar temple. You can also indulge yourself in a local massage, a good traditional local fish or vegetarian meal and a refreshing glass of chukku kaapi. All in all, Karaiyar Dam packs all the ingredients for a great day trip. Do try to avoid weekends and holidays as this place is frequented by a lot of locals who come to the waterfall for a bath.

The beautiful forests and mountains next to Karaiyar Dam, Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

If you have time at your hand, it is recommended that you stay overnight inside Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. Either you stay at the forest guest houses just below the Karaiyar Dam or you can stay at the glass house located in the middle of the tea estates. Both these places require advance bookings and access to your own vehicles. Staying at these places allows you to embrace the full forest atmosphere and become one with the wild. Late evenings and early mornings are best times for wildlife sightings. The Asian elephant, Nilgiri Langur, Grey Langur, Indian Gaur, Spotted Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Sambar Deer, Indian Mongoose, Leopard and Tiger are some of the animals that you can spot here. There is no wildlife safari as such, but you can go on guided walks to experience this wilderness. And if you are an avid bird lover, you will be spoilt for choice as Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in India’s deep South is a haven for a wide variety of birds, most of which are endemic to the Western Ghats.

Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is one of those hidden wildlife gems of India and Karaiyar Dam ecosystem happens to be an important part of it!

A walk by the banks of the Karaiyar Dam

Nearby tourist attractions:

1) 1000 year old Papansanathar Temple at Papanasam

2) Agastyar Falls

How to get here:

The nearest railway station is Ambasamudram, from where Karaiyar Dam is about 27 kms away. The nearest airport is Tuticorin, about 90 kms away. And the nearest large railway and bus hub will be Tirunelveli, about 65 kms away.

How to get forest permissions:

For day visits, you can simply get your permits at the forest check post after paying the prescribed fee. For stays inside the forest, you can either book at the office of the deputy director in Ambasamudram or book online at KMTR Eco Tourism website.

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