Silent Valley National Park
The Silent Valley National Park, situated in Palakkad, district covers an area of 237.52sq.km. Some of the flora and fauna found here are endemic to the Western Ghats. It gets its name from the absence of the cicada a.k.a cricket that is found in most forests. The best time to visit the park is from December to April. The assistant wildlife warden of the park is authorised to grant entry into the park. Those who obtain the permission can visit it between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. The park also makes available guides for those interested in trekking and jungle safaris.
The area was investigated upon as early as 1847. In 1914, it was notified as reserved forest. It was declared a national park in 1984. And in 1986, it was included in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which also includes areas from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In 2007, a 148-sq.km buffer zone was added to the park. The highest point in the park is Anguinda (2,383 m). The park ranges from 900m to 2,300m. The park is also known as Sairandhrivanam (the forest in the valley), and is divided into four parts-Poochipara, Sairandri, Neelikkal and Wallakad.
The park is known for the lion-tailed macaque, tiger, leopard, elephant, Nilgiri tahr and bonnet macaque. There are about 225 snakes, and the most commonly spotted ones are king cobra, vipers and krait. The area has recorded a number of amphibians and reptiles endemic to the Western Ghats. The park is home to 1,000 species of flowering plants and 107 species of orchids. There are also many herbs and medicinal plants growing here.
The park is located at a spot near other bio-diverse areas- the Attappadi Reserve Forests fall to the east; to the west and south are the Palakkad and Nilambur forest divisions. The Nilgiri Forests fall to the North. Within the park are tropical evergreen forests, temperate forests and grasslands. Some of the other forest types found here are wet bamboos, semi-evergreen forests, tropical hill savannah woodland and shrubs.
Silent Valley is a haven for butterflies, with about 500 species of butterflies and moths identified here. It is home to specie like Southern Birdwing, the Red Helen, the Blue Mormon, the Cupid and the Pierrot. Kunthipuzha is the main river passing through the park. Kunthancholapuzha, Madrimaranthode, Karingathodu, Valiaparathodu and Kummathanthode are its main tributaries. The river joins the Bharathapuzha at last.
The park has been the scene of ecological and environmental activities for decades. A research and monitoring wing in the park enables short term management-oriented research and monitoring of the area. Scientists and researchers work with them. They also conduct surveys and aids nature-related education and eco-tourism. The Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department conducts nature camps in the park for school and college students and NGO. Students form an important part of their awareness programmes. The camps make them aware about preserving the environment.
Coimbatore, Ooty and Coonoor are the major nearby towns of Tamil nadu. Ooty and Coonoor are popular hill stations. You can also visit the Choolanur Peacock Sanctuary nearby.
How to reach
Silent Valley National Park is easily accessible by road, air and rail. The Peelamedu Airport (155km), at Coimbatore is the nearest airport. Cochin airport is 130km away and Calicut airport 80km away. Palakkad has the nearest railhead, at 70km away.
There are eco-lodges, rest houses and forest bungalows within the park. Palakkad has many hotels, guesthouses and resorts. An eco-drive in the area has sprouted a number of ecologically-sound homestays. They help to maintain the surroundings in the original form and to educate tourists about conservation.
- “Wildlife enthusiasts, grab your binoculars and camera, and get here!”Neil Som
- “The silence here is awesome. I felt a totally cleansing experience in these hills.”Pancine
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