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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eravikulam National Park

Eravikulam National Park is extended along 97 km. And it is located along the crest of the Western Ghats in the High Ranges of Idukki district, Kerala state of India.
Eravikulam National Park is administered by the Kerala Department of Forests and Wildlife, Munnar Wildlife Division, together with the nearby Mathikettan Shola National ParkAnamudi Shola National ParkPambadum Shola National ParkChinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kurinjimala Sanctuary.
Kerala Government taken this area over in 1971 and declared as a Sanctuary in 1975. Then it was upgraded to a national park in 1978 in recognition of its unique ecological values.
The main part of this park consists of a high rolling hill plateau with a base elevation of about 2,000 mts. All most all of the knolls and peaks surge of this park were 100-300 mts. above it with some mountains reaching altitudes of over 2500mts. The terrain consists of high altitude grasslands interspersed with sholasAnamudi (2690 mts), the highest peak in India south of the Himalayas is also inside this park. Many perennial streams criss-cross the park. They merge to form tributaries of the Periyar river and Chalakudiyar River on the west and the east flowing Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu. Lakkom Waterfalls is in this region.

The average annual rainfall is about 3000mm. January-March are relatively dry months. The temperature goes down even below freezing point in winter.
In this park nearly 26 species of mammals have been recorded including the largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr (one type mammal), estimated at about 750 in number. The other ungulates available are GaurIndian Muntjac and Sambar Deer.Golden JackalJungle CatWild dogDholeleopard and tiger are the main predators. Some little known animals such as Nilgiri langurStripe-necked MongooseIndian PorcupineNilgiri Martensmall clawed otterRuddy Mongoose, and Dusky palm squirrel are also found. Elephants make seasonal visits.
Nearly 132 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like Black-and-orange FlycatcherNilgiri PipitNilgiri Wood PigeonWhite Bellied ShortwingNilgiri Verditer Flycatcher and Kerala Laughingthrush.
Endemic butterflies confined to the shola-grass land ecosystem like the Red Disk Bushbrownand Palni Four wing are among the 101 species in the park.
In the park, nearly 19 species of amphibians have been recorded.
Private vehicles are not allowed within the park. You can park your vehicle in the parking area by paying a nominal fee and enter the buses. There are 6 mini-buses are operated by park staff as part of the visitor-management program as well as a pollution-control measure.
There are long queues in peak season for getting the buses. So you have to reach at least before 8:30 AM for a comfortable journey to the park. Tickets are issued till 4:30 PM every day.
Entry Fee:
For Indian nationals, Rs. 65 is charged per head (per Day) as an entry fee.
For Foreign nationals, Rs. 245 is charged per head (per Day) as an entry fee.
For video and movie cameras fee is Rs.2000/-day
Fee for ordinary cameras fee is Rs.25/-day

(Rs 45 towards the Mini-bus service, remaining amount used for the park infrastructure of this amount)
The ride of 30 mins on mini-bus takes you up of the hills along with a scenic view. The bus ride ends at a small a store of photo gallery and which is convenient to passengers. From there, visitors are encouraged to take a short trek of around 1.3 km (25-30 min.) to a vantage point. The trek has splendid views of the nearby hills and lets you observe the steep face of the mountain. Once you are back from the trek, return buses take you down the hill to the park entrance.
Littering is strictly banned inside the park. To protecting the park day and night, a well formed security wing is working. The park is accessible from two main airports that are, Kochi (Kerala) about 148 km away and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) about 175 km away. 13 km away from this park, Munnar is the nearest town which is well connected by roads from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The nearest railway station is Aluva in Kerala (120 km from Munnar) and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (165 km).

How to Reach:
By road:  Eravikulam is about 13 km from Munnar. Munnar is the nearest connected to other cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by government and private run buses. Many tour providers arrange package bus tours to Munnar from Kochi. There are no  direct buses to Munnar, but plenty of bus services are available to Kochi and Kottayam.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Aluva, about 120 km from Munnar and Ernakulam, about 130 km from Munnar.  Aluva is a major train station and transport services to reach Munnar and is connected to major Indian cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (165 km) and Aluva (120 km) are the other nearest railheads

By Airs:  The nearest airports to Eravikulam are Madurai, about 142 km and Cochin International Airport, about 150 km. from the Cochin International Airport, one can fly to Singapore, Middle East and Malaysia and to most major Indian cities. 

From the Cochin Airport Taxi Society, there are number of pre-paid taxi services available to reach Munnar. Both AC and non AC cabs are also available. Taxis charge an additional premium of 15-25 per cent as night charges (7 PM-6 AM).

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