Mukurthi National Park

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Entry Fees : · Children (5 to 12 years) – INR 10
· Children of Government and Aided Schools (5 to 12 years) – INR 2
· Adult – INR 15

Additional Charges : · Still Camera – INR 15
· Video Camera/Handy Camera – INR 25
· Shooting of Educational Documentary/Films with Video Camera and Handy Camera – INR 2000

Parking Charges : · Car/Van – INR 15
· Motor Cycle – INR 5

Opening Timings : · Wednesday to Monday – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
· Tuesdays - Closed

Best Time to Visit : The best time to visit Mukurthi National Park is from February until May and again from September until November.

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Mukurthi National Park, Ooty Overview

The culturally rich South-Indian state - Tamil Nadu – calls out tourists from all around the globe, and there is more than one reason to it. Be it the extravagance of architectural excellence in the form of magnificent temples, the serenity of the scenic beaches and the magical charm of the hill stations, Tamil Nadu is an absolute vacationers’ paradise.

With an astonishing assortment of rich flora and beguiling fauna, this state stays buzzed with wildlife enthusiasts as well, and the Mukurthi National Park is the living manifestation of this fact. Previously known as the Nilgiri Tahr National Park, Mukurthi National Park is situated in the western corner of Nilgiris Plateau. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established with the prime motive of conserving its keystone species – the Nilgiri Tahr.

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Geography of Mukurthi National Park

Mukurthi National Park covers a total area of 78.46 square kilometres, and it is sandwiched between the Silent Valley National Park and the Mudumalai National Park. The prominent characteristics of the park are its mountainous grasslands and shrublands in an area under the influence of high rainfall, strong winds and near-freezing temperatures.

Mukurthi National Park is a part of India’s first International Biosphere Reserve – Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 1st July 2012.

An intriguing feature of the Mukurthi National Park is its liaison and endemism with the Himalayan flora and fauna. The Sholas found in the terrain of the park have evergreen trees and savannah woodlands, which are more stunted than those found in the lowland evergreen forests. Three rivers – Pykara, Billithadahalla and Kundah – flow through the park because of its inclination towards the east and south.

Flora in Mukurthi National Park

The biodiversity in Mukurthi National Park is just incredible. Some of the Shola trees found in the park are Rhododendrons while Aerides crispa, Eria abliflora and Oberonia santapaui are among some of the Orchids that are found there. Other important floral species of the park include Wild Yellow Raspberries, Guthariya fergidinicma, Cinnamon, Mahonia Leschenaulti, Satyrium Nepalese, etc. Many Botany students have been carrying out different expeditions and research experiments to the study the flora of Mukurthi National Park. Unfortunately, the increasing amount of vehicular traffic and growth of non-resident plants, such as Wattle, has affected the plant-life of the park tremendously.

Hedyotis Maduppumalai
Hedyotis Maduppumalai

Fauna in Mukurthi National Park

  • Mukurthi National Park is home to some big animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Sāmbhar Deer, Nilgiri Tahr and Asian Elephant.
  • The Bonhote Mouse, Nilgiri Marten, Jungle Cat, Black-Naped Hare, Soft-furred Rat, Bonnet Macaque, Small Indian Civet and Malabar Spiny Dormouse are among the faunal population of the park as well.
  • The park houses some endemic frogs such as Ghatixalus variabilis, Bufo microtympanum and Raorchestes Tinniens, and preying reptiles like the Horseshoe Pit Viper, Rat Snake, Checkered Keelback, Bronze-headed Vine Snake, Perrotet’s Shieldtail and Dwarf Gecko.
  • Aspiring lepidopterists will be interested in exploring the colourful butterflies of the park namely the Indian Cabbage White, True Admiral, Indian Fritillary and Indian Red Admiral.
  • The diverse avifauna of the park includes Grey-headed Flycatcher, Laughing Thrush, Black-winged Kite, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Wood Pigeon and Woodcock.
Niltahr in Mukurthi National Park
Niltahr in Mukurthi National Park

Trekking and Camping in Mukurthi National Park

Trekking expenditures are organised within the forested areas of the Mukurthi National Park to create awareness among the public about forest conservation. The trekking routes go through places like Mukurthi Peak, which is the highest peak in the forest region, Anaikatti, Mudimund, Sipara, Western Catchment, Moyar and Silent Valley. The distance covered by these trekking routes varies between 8 to 60 kilometres.

The department organises the trek for a group of 20 participants at a time. All facilities such as tent, cooks, guides and eating arrangements, which are required to complete the trekking journey, are provided. The participant trekkers need to bring sleeping bags and rucksacks along with them. Permission to enter the forest is only granted to those who have special interests. Downhill treks in the region take about 3-5 days.

History of Mukurthi National Park

The confluence of two streams at the head of the Sispara Pass, towards the southwest end of the Mukurthi National Park, at Bangitappal was used as a halting place, and it was constructed in 1832 on the old Sispara Ghat road from Kozhikode to Ooty. This pass played a vital role in providing a short land route to the postal runners operating between Ooty and the West Coast during the 19th century. This was also a common route for cannabis, tobacco and salt smugglers. Later in 1930, a trekker shed, and a forest rest house was built there, which is now used by the park staff and visiting researchers.

How to Reach

The hill-station of Ooty is well connected to all the major cities in Tamil Nadu. Reaching Mukurthi National Park from Ooty takes around 3 hours. Tourists can opt for private taxis or government buses to reach the park.

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