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Top 10 Best Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Kerala, sometimes known as “God’s Own Country,” has some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India. Periyar National Park, located in the Western Ghats, is well-known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, which includes elephants, tigers, and rare bird species. 

Silent Valley National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protects a virgin tropical rainforest, providing a safe home for endangered animals such as the lion-tailed macaque. Elephants, leopards, and a variety of bird species call Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary home, which is surrounded by beautiful flora. 

These reserves not only highlight Kerala’s rich biodiversity, but also provide immersive experiences in the heart of nature.

List of Best Wildlife Sancturaies of Kerala

Kerala has 14 wildlife sanctuaries and two tiger reserves, and we’ve compiled a list of the top ten that draw international and domestic tourists. Each of these Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala, with their own flora and fauna, is a nature and wildlife lover’s heaven.

There is so much to see in Keralas wild regions that can only be discovered by visiting national parks.

S No

Name of Wildlife Sanctuary

Nearest Airport

Best Time to Visit

1

Eravikuram National Park

Madurai

February to March

2

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

Trivandrum

October to June

3

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Madurai

October to June

4

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Coimbatore

November to April

5

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Coimbatore

November to February

6

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Kozhikode

June to October

7

Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

Cochin

December to April

8

Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary

Cochin

Throughout Year

9

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Cochin

June to August

10

Silent Valley National Park

Coimbatore

December to April

Best Wildlife Sancturies of Kerala

1. Eravikulam National Park

Eravikulam National Park in Keralas Western Ghats offers breathtaking landscapes. The park offers a stunning view of undulating hills and rich foliage.

Eravikulam is an important conservation location for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Visitors have a unique opportunity to see these gorgeous beasts in their natural habitat, grazing amidst the unspoiled landscape.

Experience the spectacular Neelakurinji flowers, which come every twelve years and transform the hills into a sea of blue. Diese natural show, which coincides with the flower’s life cycle, is a visual spectacle.

Guided Excursions provide an up-close experience with the park’s rich vegetation and fauna. Traverse the trails, looking for Nilgiri Tahrs, elusive leopards, and a variety of bird species.

Anamudi Peak, the tallest peak in South India, offers stunning views that add to the park’s picturesque appeal. Eravikulam National Park is a must-see destination for environment-lovers and adventurers alike, thanks to its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife.

How to get to Eravikulam National Park?

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Madurai International Airport, which is around 142 kilometers away, while the second closest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is approximately 111 kilometers away via NH 85 from Eravikulam National Park.
  2. By Rail: Angamali Railway Station is the nearest station (108 km) to Munnar, followed by Aluva, which is the second nearest and busiest station (109 km).
  3. By Road: Munnar, 13 kilometers away, is the park’s nearest town. Munnar is well connected by roadways from Kerala and the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.
  4. Best time to visit: Eravikulam National Park is open year-round, but closes from February to March owing to Nilgiri Tahr calving season.

2. Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the southern Western Ghats of Kerala, is a biodiversity hotspot. Discover a wide variety of flora and creatures within its lush green expanse.

Elephant Haven is renowned for its resident elephant population, providing a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Elephants graze freely through the lush forests, producing a spectacular spectacle for visitors.

Explore the sanctuary’s scenic waterfalls, including Meenmutty Falls, one of Kerala’s most stunning. The verdant surrounds and cascading waterfalls make it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

Bird enthusiasts will enjoy the sanctuary’s diverse avian population. Several bird species, including the Malabar Grey Hornbill and the Indian Pied Hornbill, draw birdwatchers looking for unusual and colorful sightings.

Trekking trails wind through the reserve, providing an opportunity to discover hidden jewels. The pathways lead to panoramic views and calm landscapes, offering an immersive experience in the midst of nature.

Shendurney Sanctuary encourages sustainable tourism through community-based projects. Visitors can engage with local people and learn about their traditional practices. The Sanctuary is more than simply a haven for wildlife; It is also a paradigm for peaceful cohabitation between nature and human populations.

How to get to Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary?

  1. By Air: The nearest international airport is Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala (53 Kilometers).
  2. By rail: The nearest railway station is Shengottai Railhead in Tamil Nadu (15 kilometers).
  3. By road: Buses run on a regular basis from Thiruvananthapuram to Kollam.
  4. The best time to visit is from October to June. The visiting hours are from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

3. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Kerala’s Western Ghats, is a natural paradise with lush flora and stunning vistas.

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind boat safari on Periyar Lake, where you may spot wildlife including elephants, deer, and birds drinking at the water’s edge.

Explore the sanctuary’s unique flora and fauna, which includes the Indian tiger, sambar deer, and Malabar Giant Squirrel.

Trekking pathways: Explore the sanctuary’s well-maintained pathways and discover hidden gems.

Visit Elephant Junction nearby to interact with and watch these gentle giants in a responsible and ethical atmosphere, strengthening your connection to Keralas natural treasures.

How to get to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport (200 Kilometers). Madurai International Airport is the second closest airport (140 km).
  2. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Kottayam (114 Kilometers).
  3. By Road: Kumily is the nearest town to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (4 Kilometers).
  4. Best time to visit: October to June is the best time to visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

4. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Nestled in the verdant Western Ghats, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala offers unadulterated solitude and a retreat into nature’s embrace.

Explore a rich habitat with abundant flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, elephants, and birds.

Canopy Walk: Explore the sanctuary’s wildlife and magnificent views while suspended in the treetops.

The Parambikulam Dam, a reservoir within the sanctuary, offers boat rides with stunning views of the river and adjacent hills.

Ecotourism Initiatives: Encourage ethical ecotourism, such as guided safaris and nature walks, while supporting conservation efforts.

How to reach Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary?

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport (110 kilometers).
  2. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Pollachi Railhead (39.0 miles).
  3. By Road: The nearest town is Pollachi, which is located in Tamil Nadu. To go to Parambikulam, take a taxi along Parambikulam Road and the Ambarampalayam-Sethumadai Road.
  4. Best time to visit: Between November and April, the weather is ideal for bird watching.

5. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala has a distinct ecology due to its unusual setting of dry deciduous forests, thorny scrublands, and rocky terrain.

Explore a biodiversity hotspot that is home to endangered species such as the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Indian Star Tortoise, and Nilgiri Tahr.

Thoovanam Waterfalls, located within the Sanctuary, offer a serene location for nature enthusiasts and a refreshing respite.

Discover the historical significance of Megalithic Burials, which provide insight into ancient civilizations that lived in the region.

Engage in cultural contacts with indigenous tribes, such as the Muthuvans, to learn about their traditional ways and enrich the wildlife sanctuary experience.

How to get to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: Coimbatore Airport is the nearest aerodrome at a distance of 115 kilometers. Cochin International Airport is the second nearest airport (208 km).
  2. By Rail: Pollachi Railhead – 60 Kilometers
  3. Aluva Railway Station – 200 Kilometers
  4. By Road: It is located on the Marayoor-Udumalpet Road. Munnar, located only 65 kilometers from Chinnar, is the most popular town nearby.
  5. The best time to visit is from November to February.

6. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Kerala’s Western Ghats, offers breathtaking views and lush green landscapes.

Explore the sanctuary’s diverse animals, including elephants, tigers, leopards and unusual birds, for an exciting wildlife adventure.

Muthanga Wildlife Safari offers an exhilarating excursion through the sanctuary, allowing you to observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary in Wayanad attracts birdwatchers with its uncommon and vivid birdspecies.

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Banasura Sagar Dam, adding to the sanctuary’s natural beauty and picturesque landscapes.

Recent research showed that Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary has Keralas greatest tiger population. The protected area is recognized under Protect Elephant and hence serves as a key elephant reserve in the country.

How to get to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode (125 Kilometers).
  2. By Rail: Kozhikode (Calicut) Railway Station
  3. By Road: The nearest town is Sulthan Bathery (Wayanad – 14.1 kilometers).
  4. The best time to visit is from June to October.

 

7. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala offers a beautiful panorama of lush forests and rolling hills situated in the Western Ghats.

Explore the sanctuary’s unusual location along the Periyar River Basin, which supports a rich range of wildlife.

Explore the sanctuary’s diverse species, including elephants, bison, deer, and birds, providing a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.

Enjoy scenic nature hikes that showcase the sanctuary’s grandeur and allow for birdwatching in peaceful surroundings.

Visit nearby tea estates, which add to the region’s scenic beauty and offer a unique experience.

How to get to the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport (113.8 Kilometers).
  2. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Kottayam (85.3 Kilometers).
  3. By Road: The closest significant hub is Ernakulam (120 km).
  4. The best time to visit the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is usually between December and April.

8. Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary

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Thettikad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala is a birdlover’s paradise, with a diversified and vibrant population.

Explore the mangrove ecosystem, which features winding water channels and dense foliage, providing a lovely location for birds and wildlife enthusiasts.

The sanctuary protects endangered bird species such as the Indian Cormorant, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and the elusive Kingfisher.

Birdwatching tours provide opportunity to identify and photograph many birdspecies against peaceful water features.

Visit the Thattakad Bird Interpretation Centre to learn more about the region’s avian diversity and conservation initiatives.

Located northeast of Kochi, this is Keralas most important and largest bird sanctuary.

How to get to Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: Cochin International Airport (43 Kilometers)
  2. By Rail: The nearest Railway Station is Aluva (48 km).
  3. By Road: The Sanctuary is around 12 kilometers from Kothamangalam. Buses transport passengers from Keralas major cities to Thattekad.
  4. Best time to visit: The sanctuary is open year-round, except during the monsoon season.

9. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located on the scenic Vembanad Lake in Kerala, offers a peaceful atmosphere and rich flora.

The refuge hosts a diverse range of bird species, including herons, cuckoos, and the stunning Siberian Stork.

The sanctuarys serene position among the backwaters is ideal for birdwatching.

Thanneermukkom Bund The Thanneermukkom Bund, an engineering marvel that divides salty ocean from freshwater in the Vembanad Lake, offers stunning vistas.

Boatcruises offer a unique opportunity to see birds and appreciate the natural beauty of Kumarakom.

How to get to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

 

  1. By Air: The nearest airfield is Cochin International Airport (94 Kilometers).
  2. By Rail: Kottayam Railhead (approx. 13 Kilometers)
  3. By Road: Private and public bus services depart from major cities. Alternatively, you can travel to your destination by hiring a car or cab from Kottayam.
  4. Best time to visit: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is open year-round to tourists. The greatest time to visit the refuge is from June to August, when many marshbirds breed.

10 Silent Valley National Park

Silent Valley National Park, located in Keralas Western Ghats, protects a natural tropical rainforest.

Explore the park’s wildlife, which includes rare and endangered animals such as the Lion-tailed Macaque, Malabar Giant Squirrel, and Nilgiri Langur.

The park’s varied flora, including unique orchids and medicinal plants, contribute to its ecological significance.

Explore the tranquil Kunti River, which flows through the park and provides stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere.

Learn about the park’s eco-friendly activities, which promote sustainable conservation and ethical tourism in Kerala.

How to reach Silent Valley National Park?

  1. By Air: Coimbatore International Airport (73.9 Kilometers) via Anaikatti Road and Mannarkkad-Anakatti Road.
  2. By Rail: The nearest railhead is Palakkad (49.8 kilometers) via NH966 and Mannarkkad-Anakatti Road.
  3. By Road: Mannarkkad is the nearest town, 32 Kilometers from the destination.
  4. Best time to visit: From December to April, the park is best for viewing nature’s enchanting splendor and fauna.

While Kerala is well-known for its backwaters, beaches, and lush greenery, the state’s national parks are also must-see destinations for wildlife enthusiasts.

FAQ On Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala

Which is the first wildlife sanctuary in Kerala?

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is Keralas first wildlife sanctuary. The Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, took the first official effort to conserve wildlife and biodiversity in Kerala in 1934 when he declared the forests around Periyar Lake a private reserve to prevent tea plantations from encroaching.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is Kerala’s largest wildlife sanctuary, covering an area of around 777 square kilometers. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected region in Kerala’s Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts.

 

According to the research, the state currently has a total forest cover of 20,321 square kilometers, or 52 % of its geographical area. The Western Ghats account for the majority of Keralas forest cover. The Western Ghats are one of the world’s 18 hot areas of biodiversity and are regarded a storehouse of endemic, uncommon, and endangered species.

The jungles of Kerala appear to provide an ideal habitat for tigers. Periyar, Kerala’s first tiger reserve, was established in 1978. It covers an area of 925 square kilometers. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is Kerala’s second tiger reserve. It lies in the district of Palakkad.

Kerala has several outstanding wildlife sanctuaries, including Periyar National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.

Wildlife enthusiasts can see elephants, tigers, leopards, Nilgiri Tahrs, unusual birds, and reptiles in Keralas sanctuaries.

Yes, most wildlife reserves provide guided excursions and safaris, led by qualified naturalists, who provide insight in the region’s flora and fauna.

 

The optimum time to visit varies for every sanctuary, but in general, the winter months from November to February are considered excellent.

Many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala provide trekking opportunities, allowing visitors to explore the landscape while encountering natural beauty and wildlife.

Yes, various wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala provide a variety of accommodations, ranging from forest resorts to eco-friendly lodges, providing an immersive natural experience.

Visitors typically require entry permits, and in certain circumstances, specific permissions for activities such as walking or boat safaris. These can be obtained from the corresponding forest departments.

Yes, children are normally permitted on wildlifesafaris; However, age limits may apply to some activities.

While photography is normally permitted, some sanctuaries may impose special laws and regulations to guarantee the safety of both tourists and wildlife. Always adhere to the guidelines stated.

Conclusion

A wildlife sanctuary trip in Kerala takes you deep into the heart of nature’s beauties. From the enthralling biodiversity of Periyar to the calm vistas of Silent Valley, each sanctuary provides a distinct experience. 

Visitors can observe the delicate balance of ecosystems while listening to unique bird melodies and the rustling of beautiful flora. Conclusion of tour demonstrates Kerala’s commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism. 

A journey not just for excitement, but also for developing a strong connection with the wild beauty of God’s Own Country.

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