Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Palakkad District is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai sub unit of Western Ghats. Parambikkulam is an oasis of tranquil greenery nestled in a valley between the Anamalai ranges of Tamilnadu and the Nelliyampathy ranges of Kerala. The Parambikkulam Wildlife Sanctuary here spreads over an area of 285 sq km on the Western Ghats.
PARAMBIKULAM WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
The sanctuary offers an exotic experience of the rare fauna of Kerala. Quite a few hill tribes, like the Malayars, the Kadas and the Muthuvans also live in the jungles of Parambikkulam. This virgin valley that is the pride of Palakkad district is a glorious tribute to untouched nature.The reservoir harbours several varieties of aquatic fauna including mugger crocodiles that are often seen sunning on its banks.The fauna here include bonnet macaques, Nilgiri langurs, lion tailed macaques, tigers, spectacled cobras, kraits, vipers, turtles, darters, little cormorants and black eagles.
Many peaks are also seen here, of which the Karimala Gopuram is the tallest at 4,718 ft. A favourite with visitors, the Vengoli Peak is an easy climb and those lucky enough might even get to see the endangered Nilgiri tahrs. Watered by three dams, namely Parambikulam, Thunacadavu and Perivarapallam, a unique feature of this Sanctuary is the presence of a series of reservoirs interconnected with tunnels, channels, river courses and canals. The deep freshwater ecosystem created by the construction of these dams adds to the diversity of the Sanctuary.
Ecotourism Activities Bestowed with rich flora and fauna, Parambikulam is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. While deer, sambar and gaur roam around in the Vayal area, deep inside the Sanctuary can be seen lion tailed macaques, slender loris, king cobras, the royal Bengal tiger, cane turtle and the Nilgiri marten; as also 250 species of birds including the Malabar grey hornbill, great pied hornbill and the Peninsular Bay owl. The Sanctuary’s spectacular floral diversity – seen in the 285 species of endemic, rare and endangered flora, 1320 species of flowering plants, including 70 species of orchids, about 50 endangered medicinal plants – makes it ideal for nature lovers as well.
Ecotourism Activities Numerous activities including camping out in the forests, staying in watchtowers to view the animals, boating in the reservoirs, row boating at Thunacadavu and Parambikulam lakes, bamboo rafting and bird watching are possible here. A hilly terrain with many peaks and valleys, Parambikulam offers an assortment of soft, medium, tough and adventure trekking trails, classified on the basis of their length, duration and difficulty of the terrain. Each group of visitors must get permission to trek, from the Forest Information Centre at Anappady and hire a tribal guide. Boat cruises can be arranged in the Parambikkulam Reservoir. Trekking in the sanctuary is possible with the permission of forest officials. There is a tree-house in the Reserve Forest area in Thoonakkadavu, the headquarters of Parambikkulam, which has to be booked in advance. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer comfortable lodging.
Soft Trekking Trails
Elephant Song Trail
6 km (Anappady-Karianshola-Anappady).
6 km (Anappady-4000 Point-Seechali Vayal-Thunacadavu).
Flying Hooves Trail
8 km (Parambikulam Dam Site-Kothala-Parambikulam River Crossing-Tramway Line- Parambikulam).
8 km (Thunacadavu-Teak Plantations-Kannimara Vayal-Kannimara Teak-Thunacadavu).
Medium Trekking Trails
10 km (Parambikulam-Tunnel Entry- Evergreen Forests-Vengoli Viewpoint-Rock Point-Thunacadavu).
10 km (Anappady Depot- TP Block 1-Chettivara-Seechali- 4000 Point-Anappady).
Dr. Salim Ali Trail
12 km (Parambikulam Dam Site- Tramway-Kuriakutty-Parambikulam).
Tough Trekking Trails
12 km (Parambikulam-Earth Dam-Teak Plantations-Bamboo Break-Evergreen Forests-Grassland-Karimala Peak-Kalyanathee-Parambikulam).
20 km (Anappady-Karianshola -Pandaravaramalai Peak-Return to Anappady through Inter State Boundary).
20 km (Parambikulam-Tunnel Entry-Waterfall-Alamaram-Velayudhankai-Return to Parambikulam by Bamboo Raft).
Adventure Trekking Trails
Needle Peak Trail
20 km (Keerappady Valley-Naikarkadu-Kuchimudi Teak- Keerappady).
Rocky Ridge Trail
25 km (Parambikulam Coupe Road-Vengoli Peak-Rocky Ridge-Inter State Boundary-TP Block 1-Anappady).
Tented cottages in Parambikulam Sanctuary; The Forest Department Inspection Bungalow, Thunacadavu; PWD Inspection Bungalow, Thunacadavu; Treetop huts at Thunacadavu and Parambikulam; Wireless station on Vettikkunnu Island accessed only by boat; Overnight camping in machans at Chungam, Anappady, Vengoli, Kuriakutty and Annakal Vayal; Dormitory at Anappady; Community Hall at Parambikulam; the Bison Valley Lodge at Parambikulam all have to be booked in advance through the Anappady Information Centre.
Located 110 km. from Palakkad,Parambikkulam is accessible by a road from Pollachi in Tamilnadu. Palakkad-Pollachi is about 45 km by road and Pollachi-Parambikkulam is about 65 km by road.
Nearest railway station: Pollachi about 65 km
Nearest airport: Coimbatore in Tamilnadu state, about 55 km from Palakkad.