Tucked away in the valley between the Anamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy ranges of Kerala on the majestic Western Ghats is the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary, a fine example of serene, tranquil and undisturbed eco system. Situated in Palakkad district, it was originally a small tract of reserve forest of 48 sq km. However, owing to growing wildlife needs, it was expanded in 1962 and today it is a vast expanse of greenery of 285 sq km in area.
One of the best sanctuaries to view the Gaur, Elephant, and Tiger in the country. The three artificial lakes in the sanctuary facilitate boating. The largest teak tree, ‘the Kannimara Teak’ is inside the sanctuary. Trekking, photography and bird watching are permitted.
Ideally suited to the growth of teak, the tract encouraged large scale teak plantations through artificial regeneration in the early 20's. This was, however abandoned when a full-fledged wildlife department was formed in 1985. 9000 ha of teak plantations in the sanctuary are being managed in such a way as to restore the forest's original status. A 400 year old giant teak tree 48.75m high and 6.48 m in girth is a standing monument of the past aptly named 'Kannimaram'.
Topography : Several streams originate from the hill ranges and flow down westward to join the river Chalakudi. The terrain is most undulating with a valley in the basin. The Karimala Gopuram is the highest peak (1444 m), the average elevation is about 600 m.
Climate : The Sanctuary receives much heavier rains between June and August. The eastern part of the sanctuary receives more rain in October-November. Temperature drops substantially and mist envelopes the sanctuary in the morning hours.
Dams and Lakes : Three dams have been built by the Tamil Nadu Government under the Parambikulam-Aliyar project. The reservoir offers several kinds of aquatic fauna.
Forest types : Natural forests are classified as West coast tropical evergreen forests, West coast semi evergreen forests, South Indian moist deciduous forests, South Indian dry deciduous forests, Moist bamboo brakes, Reed brakes.
Tropical evergreen forests (area 50 sq km approximately). A wide variety of trees grow here the top canopy consists of Pall, Puunna, Nangu, Vediplavu, Kalpine, Aini, Kambakam, Vellapine, Vellagil, Pathiri, Nedunar etc.
Lower canopy predominantly consists of Vetti Kara, Nasagam, Marotti, Kurukutti, cheru, Muthalvu etc. Undergrowth comprises Antidesma, Calamas, Glycosmis, Kxora species etc.
Semi-evergreen forests (extent 30 sq km)- Both evergreen and moist deciduous species are found in these areas.
Moist deciduous forests(extent 70 sq km) Top canopy : Manjakadambu, Vaka, Pala, Elavu, Vembu, Rosewood, Avaal, Venteak, Venga, Teak, Maruthi, Pathiri etc.
Administration : The sanctuary is heralded by a Divisional Forest Officer with headquarters at Thunacadavu and is under the direct control of the Field Director, Project Tiger. There are four ranges with 13 sections.
The sanctuary is accessible by road. Buses ply between Pollachi and Parambikulam. Pollachi is 60 km away and has a Railway station. The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 100 km away. Visitors can have boat rides in the Parambikulam lake and tour the sanctuary with the help of guides. There is a forest rest house at Thunacadavu. The Parambikulam project also provides accommodation. There are several hotels in Pollachi and Coimbatore.
J.P. Smrithi Vanam : Loknayak J.P. Smrithi Vanam and Deer park is in an extent of 10 acres of reserve forest at Walayar in the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu on the side of NH 47. Deers and other animals move freely in this park. Facilities for elephant ride are provided. The distance from Palakkad town is 22 km.
Mayiladumpara peacock sanctuary : Myiadumpara Choolannur peacock sanctuary is 30 km away from Palakkad. It is well known as a grove abounding in peacocks.
How to reach:
Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is 100 km from Palakkad and best accessed from Pollachi (Tamil Nadu). The sanctuary is 38 km from Pollachi and is served by buses (0615, 1115 & 1515 h). Best season is between August and February. Entry fee Rs 10. Trekking inside sanctuary can be booked. It is located in the Palakkad district of Kerala. Nearest town/Railway station- Pollachi-60 km. Nearest airport is Coimbatore – 100 km.
Forest IB, dormitories, Irrigation rest houses at Parambikulam.