Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tourism      Wildlife      National Parks      Kerala     Idukki    

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary




Idukki District, Kerala

Nearest town



Best time to visit


October- November

Main attraction


Giant Grizzled Squirrel

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Established in 1984, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the protected areas in the whole of the western ghats due to its ecological, floral, geomorphological and cultural significance. It is located in the eastern part of the highranges of southern Western Ghats of Kerala at Devikulam taluk of Idukki district. Covering an area of, the sanctuary is home to a large number of mammals, reptiles and avi fauna. The sanctuary is the second habitat of the giant grizzled squirrel, a Western Ghats endemic.

One can enjoy Chinnar's fascinating wildlife from the road itself without venturing deep into the jungle. Its undulated terrain with rocky patches holds a special fascination for adventure travellers. The highest peaks in the sanctuary are Kottakombumalai (2144m), Vellaikal malai (1863m) and Viriyoottu malai (1845m). Unlike in most other forests of Kerala, Chinnar gets only about 48 rainy days in a year and the rivers Chinnar and Pambar are the major perennial water resources in the sanctuary.

The Chinnar sanctuary has cultural and archeological significance also. Ancient burial chambers which date back to the Megalithic can be found in the Vasikapara area. There are wo tribes the Mudhuvas and the hill Pulayas traditionally settled in 10 different places within the sanctuary. Some of the major attractions in the sanctuary is Thoovanam Waterfalls and a Watch Tower. The Pambar River flows eastwards through the sanctuary and forms the beautiful Thoovanam Waterfalls. The Wildlife Department permit tourists to visit the falls and also conducts a trek from Karimutti Forest Station to Thoovanam waterfalls (Rs. 35/person). A trek through the pristine scrub forest offers watching wild animals and rare flora. Many endemic and rare species enrich this dry and deciduous forest. From the watchtower one can enjoy the panoramic view of the entire park, adjoining jungles in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu and the magnificent mountains far away.

The vegetation types found here are primarily thorny scrub, dry deciduous forests, sholas and grasslands that are interspersed with plains, hillocks, rocks and cliffs. The dominant plant species found here are Chloroxylum swietenia, Anogeissus latifolia, Strychnos potatoram and Ixora arborea. The Xerophyticspecies in the throny scrub forests are Acacia arabica, Acacia leucofolia, Acacia concinna, Prosopis juliflora and Opuntia dillenii. The Santalum album, Anogeissuslatifolia, Tamarindus Indica, Terminialia arjuna, Pongamia lanceolata, Dalbergia latifolia, Tectona grandis, Cassia Fistula, Terminalia bellerica, Emblic officianalis, Rhododendrom nilagiricum, Elaeocarpus recurvatus, Strobilanthus kunthianus etc. are the common species found in the sanctuary. There are 965 species of flowering plants in the sanctuary.

Chinnar Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Over 34 species of Mammals including Panthers, Elephants, Gaur, Bonnet Macaque, Spotted deer, Sambar, Common langur, Giant grizzled squirrel, Hanuman monkey, Blacknaped hare, Slender loris, Nilgiri Tahr, Porcupine, Rusty-spotted Cats, Rabbit and about 240 Grizzled Giant Squirrels are the commonly found animals in Chinnar Sanctuary. Staying overnight at Vasyappara in the tribal huts is best to see Elephants, Peacocks, Langur, Deer and the Giant squirrel.

Till now, about 225species of birds have been listed in different parts of Chinnar Sanctuary. Some globally threatened and endemic species like the Yellow-throated bulbul and the Nilgiri pipit are also found here.

Report says that this is the only place in Kerala where the Yellow-throated bulbul is found. The other avian fauna such as Rock bush quail , Plum-headed parakeet, Yellow-fronted pied woodpecker, Small green-billed malkoha etc inhabit the Chinnar forests.

The sanctuary also boasts a large reptilian diversity which includes 29 species of snakes, Indian Star Tortoise and the largest population of vulnerable Mugger Crocodiles. Sighting of crocodiles is possible during the day along the riverside. Most common of the 42 species of fishes observed in the Chinnar are Garra mullya minnows, River-carp baril,Giant Danio, the endangered hill stream game fish Deccan Mahseer and Tor remadevi, a Mahaseer species. 22 amphibian species as well as a large variety of insects and 156 species of butterflies are reported from the sanctuary.

The forest department does not run any safaris inside the Chinnar Sanctuary but they conducts Ecotourism facilities which includes River trekking, trekking to the cultural site, Nature trail to the watch tower., Trek to Thoovanam falls, Interpretation activities and medicinal Garden, Tree house at Chinnar, Machans at Koottar,Karakkad and Champakkad, Trekking and camping at Vasyappara. For trekking bookings contact Eravikulam wildlife warden at the checkpost.

Entry Fee : Indians Rs. 10/-, Foreigners Rs.100/-, Children below 12 years and bonafied students on tour Rs. 5/- .
Video & Movie Camera : Rs. 150/- , Still Camera : Rs. 25/-;
Vehicles : Heavy vehicles Rs. 150/-, Light vehicles Rs. 50/-, Others - Rs. 20/-

Nearest to this park are Eravikulam National Park and Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.