Asia > South Asia > India > Southern India > Kerala > Central Kerala > Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, which includes the erstwhile Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is in the Western Ghat mountain ranges. This tiger reserve is on the border of the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, in the southern part of India.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is 89 km from Palakkad and 44 km from Pollachi, adjacent to Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. Although Parambikulam belongs to the state of Kerala, it is accessible only via Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. The Western Ghats mountain range along with Anamalai Hills and Prambikulam is under consideration for selection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park was established in 1973. It was declared a tiger reserve with an area of 643.66 km² in 2009. This consists of a 390.89 km² core area and a 252.77 km² buffer area.
The park is thickly forested with bamboo and other such tropical wet and evergreen trees. The terrain is hilly, owing to it being a part of the western ghats. The reserve supports diverse habitat types, including evergreen forests, semi evergreen, moist deciduous, dry deciduous and shola forests. Other unique habitats like montane grasslands and marshy grasslands locally known as ‘vayals’ are also found here. Considerable extent of man-made Teak plantations and presence of three dams of deep freshwater ecosystem created under Parambikulam Aliyar Project added to the diversity of Parambikulam.
Flora and fauna
Parambikulam has a rich treasure of 1438 species of flowering plants falling under 704 genera and 136 families. It includes 81 species of Orchids both terrestrial and epiphytic. The natural forests of the Reserve are a rich treasure of medicinal plants. About 50 endangered medicinal plants are found in the Karianshola (MPCA) alone, in addition to the common species. About 17 of them are already listed in the Red Data Book of IUCN which emphasizes the importance of their conservation. There are about 285 rare endemic and endangered species of flora found in the Sanctuary. Haplothismia exannulata, a monotypic genus of Burmanniaceae rediscovered here after 1951. Coscinium fenestratum, Utleria salicifolia, the IUCN 'redlisted' medicinal plants endemic to Anamalais are also found here, apart from Syzygium palghatense, Pteroceras monsooniae and Medinilla anamalaina, which are endemic to Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.
The sanctuary includes 36 species of mammals, 16 species of amphibians, 268 species of birds, 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish, 124 species of butterflies and more than a thousand species of insects. The animals consist of lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, elephant, tiger, pantThe common species found here are Asian Elephant, Gaur, Royal Bengal Tiger, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer, Common Langur, Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Panther Wild Dog etc. The common birds found are Drongos, Bee-eaters, Treepies, Mynas, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers and Birds of prey. Reptiles like Pythons, King Cobras, Pit Vipers, Lizards and Tortoises are also found. The rare species include Tiger, Lion-tailed Macaque, Mouse Deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Marten, Great Pied Hornbill, Peninsular Bay Owl, King Cobra, Cane Turtle, etc. Besides Tomopterna parambikulamana, an endemic frog of Parambikulam and Garra surendranathanii, an endemic sucker fish of Parambikulam are worth mentioning.
The area falls under intense monsoon showers, both south-west and north-east monsoon. The average annual rainfall is 1600 mm. The reserve experiences wet tropical climate with temperature varies from 15°C to 32°C. The reserve has altitude ranging from 300 to 1438 m above sea level.
Pollachi, Palakkad and Coimbatore are the nearest towns. From Palakkad and Coimbatore, you must go via Pollachi and Topslip to enter Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.
Coimbatore airport is the nearest international airport to Parambikulam - approximately 100 km (via Pollachi and Topslip). International flights to Singapore, Sharjah are available by Silk Air (A subsidiary of Singapore Airlines), Air Arabia and Srilankan Airlines. Domestic airlines fly to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and other Indian cities.
There are only three bus trips to/ from Parambikulam on a daily basis. Two TNSTC buses start from Pollachi, and one KSRTC bus start from Palakkad. TNSTC bus starts from Pollachi at approximately 6:15AM and 3:15PM. KSRTC bus start from Palakkad at approximately 8AM. KSRTC bus touches Kozhinjampara and Pollachi enroute. The KSRTC bus starts the return journey from Parambikulam at approximately 12:30PM, while the TNSTC buses start their return journey at approximately 8:45AM and 5:45PM. These timings are tentative, and it is best to confirm these timings from the bus stations before one finalises the journey. Those who are travelling by bus and plan to go for a vehicle safari inside the tiger reserve should alight at Anappady and visit the Information Centre at Anappady to purchase tickets.
Coimbatore Junction (85 km) and Palakkad Junction (100 km) are the nearest railway stations. At present, all train services in Pollachi-Coimbatore; Pollachi - Palani, Dindigul; Pollachi - Palakkad sections are stopped due the Meter Gauge to Broad Gauge conversions.
For the day visitor, there are park-managed vehicles that takes a visitor on a park safari. Private vehicles are allowed inside the reserve only if they have a prior booking for an overnight stay. Toilet facilities are available at three locations - near Parambikulam check-post, near the Information Centre at Anappady, and at Parambikulam town.
As there are only 2 buses per day, hiring taxis will be the viable option, if you want to cover both Topslip and Parambikulam on the same day. Though there are lot of tourist taxis from Pollachi, it may not be easy to get one during peak seasons or when film shootings happen around the town. It is therefore advisable to book your cab in advance and ask your tour guide or cab driver to pick you from Coimbatore Railway station, Airport, Bus terminus or Pollachi Bus Terminus.
- Grass Hills Tours & Travels. Phone: +91 94878 79445, 94878 79446, 96008 18582, 90379 03515. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Palakkadtaxi.com +91 9946556202
Malayalam and Tamil are spoken but basic English is understood.
Fees and permits
The visiting time is from 7AM to 6PM. Entry fee for light vehicles is ₹50 and for heavy vehicles is ₹170. A 3-hour van safari will cost ₹150 per head. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park unless you have booked your accommodation in Parambikulam in-advance. Van Safari is possible only when there are 20 people. If not you must buy the tickets for 20 people (₹3000) and share it.
Community based ecotourism programmes provides a major share of employment to the tribals living in the Tiger Reserve. There are multiple eco-tourism packages. These activities are operated within the Buffer Zone of the tiger reserve with the help of local tribal guides.
- Trekking (from ₹600 to ₹6000 for a group of 5 for various trails)
- Bamboo rafting
- Purchase of souvenirs (wood crafted materials, key-chains made from recycled plastic, t-shirts, caps, jackets, organic pepper, paper bags etc.)
- Tree saplings can be purchased from a nursery located at Parambikulam town.
The packages inside the tiger reserve are managed by the forest department with significant participation from the local community. The forest department has not authorized any private tour operators or travel agents to take bookings or conduct tours on behalf of the forest department.
Vengoli Café, located inside the reserve, provides eating options. While the name sounds exotic, the menu here is limited. The café provides idli and dosa for breakfast, meals for lunch, and chappathi for dinner. Some Kerala favourite snacks such as pazhampori are available in addition to the usual packaged snacks such as biscuits. This restaurant is near the information centre at Anappadi.
Multiple options are available for stay inside the reserve, managed by the forest department. The website of the tiger reserve provides these details.
Tree Top houses that must be booked well in advance (₹2500 to ₹4000 for 2 persons).
Do not tease wild animals and stay away from them. Beware of lone elephants and never attempt to tease them or take pictures as they may turn violent in no time.
Do not try to do any activity after 6PM here.
Usage of alcohol and tobacco products is not allowed inside the tiger reserve.
Campfires are not allowed inside the reserve.
Bringing a binocular would be helpful to have a closer look at the fauna of the sanctuary.
Umbrella, rain jacket and rain pants will be of help if there are rains.
Wear shoes (especially hiking shoes) if you are planning for a trek.
It is advisable to wear light-colored clothing that have colors that align with the forest environment - light brown, light green, etc. Avoid contrasting colors (such as red, white) when you are visiting a forest.
BSNL is the only network that works here and rest simply do not work. None of your datacards like Tataphoton, Reliance or netconnect will work. There are some payphones available in the tea shops and your accommodation.