Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is the perfect wilderness package you can ask for. This protected area is perched on the eastern slope of Western Ghats and it falls on the rain shadows region of the mighty mountain range. The area has one of the most diverse eco-systems that you will ever see and it shelters a multitude of micro-organisms, animal, and plant varieties. Every nook and cranny of the place looks like an unreal picture; it is rife with ethnic, natural, and cultural heritage. To acknowledge and to safeguard the rich biodiversity of the Chinnar area, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Kerala in August 1984.
Chinnar wildlife sanctuary is spread over the high ranges of Western Ghats. The area of the sanctuary falls in the Kanthalloor and Marayoor Panchayat of Devikulam Taluk. There is no direct railway or airway link to Munnar. The nearest airports to the location are Cochin International Airport which is 120 kilometers away and Trivandrum International airport which is 290 kilometers away. If you are employing air travel, it would be ideal to travel to Cochin and to continue the journey to Munnar via road. It takes 3.38 hours to reach Munnar from Cochin.
The nearest railway stations to the destination are Aluva and Ernakulam railway station which are 110 and 13o kilometers away respectively.
ALSO See – Marayoour Tourism and Sightseeing
What do we love about Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?
- The peculiar location of the sanctuary has showered it with the bounties of nature. The sanctuary is located in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats; the unique environment of this place makes it home to many rare plant and animal species. If you are someone who appreciates and admires the biodiversity, a visit to Chinnar can delight you. The significant features of the location like incessant rainfall, the presence of perennial streams have made it ideal for the growth of deciduous trees. The expanse of the sanctuary accommodates a dry thorny forest, deciduous forests, riparian forest, sholas, and grasslands
- The thorny forest and numerous other trees make the place stunning and picture-worthy. There are a whopping 965 species of flowering plants in the sanctuary and the multitude of flowers makes the sanctuary even more spectacular. The Eco-regions of the sanctuary is mostly grasslands and wet grasslands; every corner of the place is encrusted with lively, lush green grass.
- The elevated areas of the sanctuary are veneered with dense rain-forest. A walk through the shadows of the rainforest with sunlight peeping through small gaps in the thick canopy is a delightful experience.
- The distinct eco-system of the sanctuary makes it ideal it an ideal habitat for varied forms of life. All forms of life from micro-organisms to bovine animals all look sublime in the backdrop of the picturesque flora of the sanctuary.
- The sanctuary cradles 34 species of mammals alone. The varieties of fauna include panthers, spotted deer, Indian elephants, tigers, gaur, Sambar deer, Hanuman monkey, common langur, and bonnet macaque. The sanctuary is also home to many threatened and endangered animals like Nilgiri tahr, vulnerable rusty-spotted cats, and giant squirrels.
- The spectacular fauna of Chinnar does not end in animals. The sanctuary is a hot spot of biodiversity which includes 245 species of birds which includes yellow-throated bulbuls, 52 species of reptiles which includes Indian star tortoise, vulnerable mugger crocodiles and 29 species of snakes. The streams that flow across the sanctuary along with the Pambar and Chinnar rivers nurtures 42 species of fishes. The Garra mullya minnows, giant danio, river-carp baril, and the endangered hill stream fish Deccan mahseer amuse every one alike. 156 species of butterflies fly around the sanctuary.
Together, this assortment of stunning wild animals, vibrant plants, and colorful flowers unfurls an ethereal image in front of every visitor.
- The Marayoor sandalwood forest is located in the vicinity of the sanctuary. The breeze flowing from the sandalwood forest carries an aromatic scent of the sandal.
- The spectacular Thoovanam waterfalls is located within the Chinnar sanctuary. The cascade of crystal clear water in the backdrop of the thick forest is awe-inspiring.
- A trekking facility is arranged for the visitors near the waterfalls; tourists can indulge in some adventure and tread to the depths of the forest.
- The place is a repository of many rare medicinal plant varieties. Many life-saving medicines are still developed from these plants. Observing and studying the medicinal plants can be a thrilling experience even if you are not a medical student.
Best time to visit Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The best time to visit Chinnar sanctuary is after the monsoon season. The torrential rain revitalizes the place, leaving it with an abundance of freshness and life. The monsoon season is followed by spring in Kerala. The 965 species of flowering plants will be in full bloom during this time and a colorful, magical scene will unfurl in front of your eyes during spring. The lakes and streams will be flowing in full vigor and the place will be in a celebratory mood. The summers are also tourist-friendly here. Try to avoid a visit during the peak monsoon. Incessant rainfall sometimes poses the threat of flash flood and landslides.
Many amenities are provided by the Kerala Tourism Department near the sanctuary to facilitate a tension-free exploration to the visitors. An amenity center, two eco shops, one at Aalampetty and one at Chinnar, dormitory, inspection bungalow, and cafeteria are operating near the destination. An Interpretation Centre is available at Karimutty to cater to the needs of visitors; the center also acts as an information center for the visitors.
ALSO See – Kundala Lake Munnar
Munnar is visited for many reasons, its scenic grandeur, the invigorating climate, the adrenaline-inducing adventure activities, captivating plantations and so on. The wilderness of Munnar is not as admired as its other features. The numerous national parks and sanctuaries located in Munnar are a golden opportunity to have a tryst with wildlife and to get closer to the nature. A walk into the wilderness in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary can be as exciting and adventurous as scaling the mountain heights or swimming in a waterfall.