Established as a natural preserve for the Nilgiri tahr, Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary protects the largest population of tahrs in the world. Bordered by picturesque tea plantations, the 97 sq. km park lies along the high ranges of the Western Ghats in the Munnar forest division of Idukki district of Kerala. The topography comprises high mountains, rolling grass hills and dense evergreen shoal forests. The park’s altitude ranges between 1,400 m and 2,695 m, which is the elevation of Anaimudi, Peninsular India’s highest peak. The spectacular mass flowering of Neelakurinji, a unique species of flowers that blooms once in 12 years, is a major attraction at the park. After 1994, the Neelakurinji has bloomed this year, transforming the vast areas of the hilly terrain into a floral celebration. The flowering season is from September to December.
Herds of tart can invariably be sighted at close quarters near Rajamala, the main entrance situated in the tourism zone of the park. Rajamala is the natural habitat of this rare mountain goat.
Animals: Besides the tahr, Tigers, Malabar civets, lion-tailed macaques, wild dogs, barking deer, sambar deer, elephants and nilgai.
Birds: Black eagles, mountain hawk eagles, peregrine falcon, jungle fowls, painted bush quails, horn bills, Malabar whistling thrush, Malabar parakeets, Asian fairy bluebirds, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Malabar lark, Nilgiri Pipit, hill mynahs, black bulbuls, black-and-orange flycatchers and little Spider hunters can be spotted.
Trekking facilities are also available at the park.
Best Time to visit: Throughout the year except February and March. The sanctuary will be closed during these two months, the mating season of the Nilgiri tahr.
Forest type: Uninterrupted shoal-grassland ecosystem.
Where TO Stay : Hotels, resorts and government guesthouses in Munnar town.
How to reach there: There is a motorable road till Rajamala, the park headquarters. Rajamala is about 15 km from Munnar town. Munnar is connected to Kochi (135 km) and Kottayam (148 km) in Kerala and Udumalpet (77 km) in Tamil Nadu.
The nearest railway station: Aluva (115 km) in Ernakulam district.
The nearest airport: Ernakulam in Kerala and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. For details, contact the Forest Information Centre, The Wildlife Warden office, Munnar Wildlife Division, Munnar P.O. Ph: 04865-231587