Eravikulam National Park: The Jewel of Munnar - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!
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Monday, February 03, 2020

Eravikulam National Park: The Jewel of Munnar

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

I am a pristine ecosystem of shola forests and grasslands. I am home to the highest point in the Southern peninsula. I am home to 48 species of mammals, 133 species of birds, 101 species of butterflies and 21 species of amphibians most of who are endemic and highly endangered. Once every 12 years, I dress myself in blue for months together. I am Eravikulam National Park, the jewel of Munnar, a thriving habitat of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and a short drive from Kochi airport where flights like Indigo provide you easy access with the rest of the country.

Spectacular view of the Western Ghats as seen from Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Eravikulam national park is a name not so well known in the circles outside Munnar, but its rolling mountain landscape interspersed with tea estates, shola forests, grasslands, shrublands, forests and crisscrossed by waterfalls and mountain streams is nothing short of paradise. It is a famous habitat of the Neelakurinji flower that blooms once every 12 years and is home to the largest population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. It also represents the largest and the least disturbed stretch of unique montane shola grassland vegetation in the Western Ghats.



Its high altitude ecosystem gives birth to medicinal plants, rare orchids, rhododendrons and a wide range of other flora and fauna. The highlight of a visit to Eravikulam would be to see the Nilgiri Tahr up close and the mighty Lakkom waterfalls, but if you have some adventure in you and are willing to rough it out, I would recommend trekking deep into the belly of this national park. This trek through some of the highest trails in the Indian peninsula would show you an ecosystem that cannot be viewed elsewhere. The views get more and more surreal and the flora and fauna get richer as you trek deeper into the national park.

Endangered Nilgiri Tahr walks amidst the rare Neelakurinji flowers

It doesn’t matter whether you are a botany student, a Herpetology researcher, a nature photographer, a trekker, a mountain lover, a butterfly researcher or just a good ‘ol tourist, Eravikulam National Park is bound to bowl you over with her riches and charms.

Early morning moment from Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

It is the kind of place that we would want to visit again and again. And it is the kind of place that we need to preserve and treasure so that our future generations can see the beauty of mother nature. Eravikulam National Park is certainly the jewel of Munnar and it holds an important place in my heart. Don’t miss to experience its rich ecosystem on your next holiday to Munnar.



How to reach here:

The nearest airport would be Kochi, about 65 kms or one and a half hours away. It is well connected with the rest of the country and airline tickets to Kochi if booked in advance can get you great deals and discounts.

The nearest railway station would be Ernakulam (60 kms away) and Aluva (about 120 kms away). You could choose the location based on your train route.

If you love road trips and winding roads, then there are various mountain routes to captivate your attention.

If traveling from Kochi, your route would be Kochi –> Neriamangalam –> Adimaly –> Munnar.

If traveling from Bangalore or Chennai, you have two options:

Option 1 is the more popular Theni –> Bodinayakanur –> Chinnakanal –> Devikulam –> Munnar or Option 2 is the more scenic and offbeat route Udumalpet –> Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary –> Marayoor –> Gundumalai –> Eravikulam National Park and Munnar.

Nilgiri Tahrs standing amidst Neelakurinji blooms

Best season to visit:

Eravikulam national park is open for 10 months of the year. It is closed only during February and March when it is calving season for the Nilgiri Tahr.

Post monsoon is the ideal season to visit this national park as that is when the vegetation is lush and the butterflies are in full action.

But, if you ask me for the absolutely best season, that comes once every 12 years. It last came in 2018 Aug-Sep and it will happen again in 2030. This is when the entire national park is covered in the of the Neelakuinji flower that blooms once every 12 years.

Timings:

7: 30 AM to 4 PM

It is best to opt for early slots to avoid crowds. Try and avoid weekends and national holidays if you can or be ready to jostle with the crowds.

Bookings for the entry tickets can be either made at the counter or in advance online at Eravikulam National Park website.

Eravikulam's Nilgiri Tahr in monochrome

Where to stay:

If you are a true nature lover and wish to stay inside the national park, I would recommend that you look up the Lakkom log house and dormitories inside Ervaikulam National Park. Accommodation may not be five star, but the experience would certainly be five star. If Lakkom is not available, you can try the other forest properties in the region, namely the ones in Anamudi Shola National park, Pampadum Shola National Park, Chinnar wildlife sanctuary and/or Mathikettan Shola national park.

For budget options nearby, you could try the hotels in Munnar and may be Marayoor for a quieter option.

If you prefer luxurious properties tucked inside tea estates and spice plantations, I would recommend you take a look at Windermere Estate.



Where to eat:

There is a small restaurant near the visitor center that serves basic food and drink. In case you wish to have a wider choice, you should head to Munnar city or to your hotel in or near Munnar.

The rolling tea estate hills as seen from Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Pampadum Shola National Park: Kerala’s smallest national park and a pristine ecosystem of shola forests and endemic wildlife.

2) Vegetable and fruit farms of Vattavada: Where you can gorge on fresh fruits and vegetables and sip on some traditional strawberry wine.

3) Visit the highest motorable roads in the Southern peninsula: That are part of a pre-Independence road system.

4) Yellapatty peak and Top Station for surreal mountain views and for views into the Tamil Nadu valleys in the yonder.

5) Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary: For an offbeat wildlife destination that is home to dense forests, amazing wildlife and stunning landscapes.

6) The Megalithic tombs of Marayoor: That give you a peek into how mankind existed here many thousands of years ago.

7) Thattekad bird sanctuary: A favorite location for Dr. Salim Ali, this place is birdwatcher’s heaven and a paradise for nature lovers.

8) Attukad waterfalls: One of the tallest waterfalls near Munnar.



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