Eravikulam National Park in Munnar in Idukki district of Kerala spreads over an area of 97 sq. km in western Ghats. Eravikulam National Park is well known for Nilgiri Tahr which is an endangered species of wild goat and Anaimudi, the highest peak in south India. Apart from the Nilgiri Tahr, Sambar Deer, Nilgiri langur,Stripe-necked mongoose and predators like Wild dog, Golden Jackal and the leopard are also popular in Eravikulam National Park.
Placid lakes, never-ending plantations, and sprawling grasslands are ubiquitous in Munnar. There are many features that make the Rajamalai National Park and its premises unique among the deluge of grasslands. Rajamalai is located within the Eravikulam National Park which spreads over an extensive area of 97 sq.km.
Eravikulam including Rajamalai was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1975 and was later bestowed with National park status in 1978. The main motive behind this move was to facilitate the protection of Nilgiri Tahrs that are only found here. The park is categorized into 3 arenas, the tourism area, the buffer area, and the core area. The tourists are not allowed to access the core and buffer area but the tourism area is open to visitors. The Rajamalai constitutes the tourism area and all the exclusive flora and fauna of Eravikulam National Park can be spotted in Rajamalai. At Rajamalai you can tread into the grasslands and the deep forest as long as it pleases your heart.
The grassland is perched over the crest of the gorgeous Western Ghats. Are you not an adventure junkie? Then Rajamalai suits you the best. The leisurely stroll up and down and around the place is as thrilling as trekking to the mountain peaks.
Nilgiri Tahr, The endangered species of wild goat in Eravikulam National Park
Nilgiri Tahr whose scientific name is Nilgiritragus hylocrius is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
Eravikulam National Park (Rajamalai)is a protected area and the wildlife sanctuary is divided into three regions – the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area – Rajamalai – the region lying beyond the road entry into Eravikulam where one can observe the Nilgiri Tahr at close quarters.
Eravikulam National Park Timings , Entry Free and other Information for Visitors
Entry Fee – 65 Indian rupees per person for Indian Citizens and 245 rupees ( 4 USD) for Foreign Nationals
Visit Duration – 4-5 hours
Distance from Munnar Town – 13 kilometers
Best Season to visit Eravikulam National Park in Munnar: September- May
Timings -8:00 AM – 4:30 PM on All days of the week (The park is closed Forest in the mating season for the Nilgiri tahr, which is an endangered species and this usually happens in March every year. )
You should reach at least before 830 AM for an enjoyable journey to the park. Tickets are issued till 430 PM.
The national park is controlled and managed by the Kerala Department of Forest and Wildlife. An entry fee has to be paid to access the park and its premises. The eravikulam national park ticket price that forest department charges is a fee of Rs 65 per person for Indian Citizens and for foreign citizens, the fee is 245 rupees.
The mini-bus takes you on a half an hour ride up the hills along a scenic view. The bus ride ends at a small photo gallery, a store and has passenger conveniences. From there, visitors are encouraged to take a short trek which has splendid views of the nearby hills and lets you observe the steep face of the mountain. The total eravikulam national park trekking distance after the bus ride is 1.3 kilometers to a vantage point. Once you are back from the trek, return buses take you down the hill to the park .
How to Reach Munnar to visit Eravikulam National Park
Rajamalai is located 15 kilometer away from Munnar town. If you are traveling to the location by means of air travel, Cochin international airport is the nearest airport to the location.
If you are traveling within the state or from nearby states road transport can also be used. There are bus services from all major cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu to Munnar. A bike or car ride to Munnar is as beautiful as the place itself. If are traveling from distant locations, reach Kochi and you can rent a bike or car from Kochi to Munnar.
Nearest Railway Stations from Munnar: Kottayam, about 142 kms away from Munnar; Ernakulam, about 130 kms away from Munnar.There are no trains directly to Munnar; the nearest railway station to Munnar is Aluva which is 110 kilometers away. The other major rail routes are the Ernakulam railway station which is 130 kilometers away and the Madurai railway station which is 135 kilometers away.
Nearest Airports from Munnar: Cochin International Airport, about 120 kms away from Munnar; Madurai (Tamilnadu) about 142 kms away from Munnar; The location is 120 kilometers away from the airport and can be reached in roughly 3 and half hours.
Instructions for vehicles going inside Eravikulam National Park
Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park and visitors like Adventure Seekers , Photographers , Munnar Tour Packages Couples & Nature Lovers who visit Eravikulam National Park are taken inside the park in Kerala Forest Department Vehicles.Ban of the private vehicles is helpful in bringing down the air pollution in the area considerably. Eravikulam National Park closed at the time of mating of Nilgiri Tahr, usually during the early months of every year in February and March and no visitors are permitted inside the park.
Many perennial streams criss-cross the park and this is an ideal place to observe the biodiversity of grassland eco-system, Eravikulam National Park is a sanctuary for the endangered species.
The Rajamalai hills are the center stage for the Neelakurinji bloom. The hills transform into a masterpiece decked with the blue flowers. The bloom takes place in every 12 years and the next bloom is expected to occur in 2018. If you have plans to visit Munnar in the coming months, hold off till the Neelakurinji bloom.
Eravikulam National Park Visit – Common Birds you may see
The park is also home to around 132 species of birds, making sure that the park is teeming with life forms. When you visit the park, try to spot the rare Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Martin and Kerala Laughingthrush amongst the many fluttering wings.
Anaimudi, the highest peak in south India
Anaimudi, the highest peak in south India with a height of 2695 m , is located within Eravikulam National Park . Eravikulam National Park Trekking to Anaimudi is not permitted and is banned by Kerala Forest Department and the peak is out of bound for visitors. Anamudi is also the highest point in India outside the Himalaya – Karakoram mountain range .The first recorded ascent of the Anamudi was by General Douglas Hamilton of the Madras Army on May 4, 1862 as per the records available, but it is likely that there had been earlier ascents by local people.
Mathikettan national park, Anamudi shola national park, Pambadum shola national park, Chinnar wildlife sanctuary and the Kurinjimlala sanctuary are the other wildlife parks and national parks situated near the Eravikulam National Park.
ALSO SEE – Anayirangal Dam in Munnar
The terrain consists of high altitude grasslands interspersed with sholas. The park remains closed at the time of calving of Nilgiri Tahr, usually during the early months of every year.Also called Rajamalai National Park, the park offers a memorable experience and is among the best things tourists can enjoy in Munnar.
What do we love about Rajamalai Eravikulam National Park
- Most of the areas of the grasslands are consistent hill plateau. The panoramic view from the plateau is awe-inspiring. You can witness high rolling slopes here, the majestic hills around, the impressive canopy, the blanketing mist, and the scintillating horizon of Munnar beyond from the heights of Rajamalai.
- Many small streams are bound to come your way while you strut along the slopes of Rajamalai. The small milky streams later merge to form tributaries to Chalakudy and Periyar rivers. Drinking the cold, mineral-rich water can refresh your body and soul.
- The Lakkom waterfalls are located proximate to Rajamalai. If you visit this area you can explore numerous tourist attractions together.
- Nilgiri Tahrs can be spotted in large numbers at Rajamalai. The Rajamalai grasslands are the main herding location of the Tahrs and they are found in abundance here. Wildlife and photography enthusiasts can thus have a gala by visiting the place.
- The park has a plethora of exotic trees and shrubs varieties. Many plant varieties that grow only in the purest, non-polluted atmosphere can also be found here. The grasslands have an abundance of wild orchids and other flowering plants. The flower-laden Rajamali during spring is a scintillating sight.
- Nilgiri Tahrs are not the only wildlife you can spot here. The fauna here is as rich and bio diverse as the flora. You can spot 26 different species of mammals at Rajamalai and the list includes wild elephants, langurs, marten, and much more. If you observe closely you can steal a glance of wildlife lurking in the bushes and the forest beyond.
- The place is a favorite sojourn spot for migratory birds and other exotic birds. The Rajamalai area and its premises are home to about 120 species of birds. The black and orange flycatcher, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Nilgiri Pipit, white-bellied short wing and laughing thrush can be spotted at here. The vibrant birds, flowers, and plants make the place colorful and sublime.
Best time to visit Eravikulam National Park
The best time to visit the park is right after the monsoon in June from July to September. The place will be encrusted with lush-green grass and thick vegetation. There will be freshness and warmth in the area and the environment. Unlike other attractions like waterfalls and mountain slopes, Rajamalai grasslands are safe in monsoon season. The magnificent view of the grassland amidst the torrential rains is an out of the world experience. The peak season starts with the onset of summer; from March to May. The place will be crowded and the signature chill of Munnar could be absent during that time.