Ideal Time: 3 - 4 hrs
Open Time: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Cost: Entry Fee: INR 50,
Still Camera: INR 25,
Video Camera: INR 200
The Silent Valley National Park, with its lush green forests and beautiful views of the rich flora and fauna, is a popular destination for nature as well as wildlife lovers all across the globe. Spread across an area of 89 square kilometres, the Silent Valley National Park is located in the Kundali Hills of the Western Ghats in Kerala in southern India. With its long, detailed history and the unique status of a rainforest, this national park is indeed a sight to visit. The well-planned Safari and the beautiful stop-overs around the park only make a trip to this part of Kerala more worthwhile.
The Silent Valley National Park comprises of about 1000 different species of flowering plants, 108 species of orchids, 200 liverworts, 75 lichens, 200 algae and 100 ferns. A variety of these faunal species are endemic only to the Western Ghats, and hence the rich biodiversity found here is of immense importance.
The Silent Valley National Park houses large numbers of faunal species, which includes 34 species of mammals, 31 species of reptiles, 292 species of birds, 13 species of fishes, 22 species of amphibians and 500 species of moths and butterflies. Other than this the national park is also home to a variety of lower forms of animals, most of which have not yet been documented.
The animals frequently sighted here include the Lion-tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Leopard Cat, Panther, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Brown Palm Civet, Fishing Cat, Common Palm Civet, Otter, Flying Squirrel, , Stripe-necked Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Pangolin (Scaly anteater), Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Porcupine, Wild Boar, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Gaur and Elephant.
Perhaps the most famous animal found here is the Lion Tailed Macaque, and its name has almost become almost synonymous with that of the Valley. This unique animal species are highly endangered. However, thanks to a large number of trees here that bear the Cullenia exarillata fruits, the survival of this species is ensured.
A safari at the national park is an exhilarating experience, and one must enjoy a safari here to explore the entire area. The safari rounds commence at 8:00 AM. This is done to ensure that an early morning entry into the area does not disturb the peaceful slumber of the animals. All of the allotted vehicles move slowly during the entire 23-kilometre ride and stop a few times on the way for five-minute photo sessions.
Even though animal sightings are quite rare, the view from the Watch Tower located at the end is quite spectacular and compensates for the former loss. This tower is located 1,050 meters above sea level. One can also trek down to the Kunthi River to see the hanging bridge.
The safari trip might disappoint you if you are not a huge tree bum since the thick vegetation of the Silent Valley evergreen forests is the only attraction. The road is unpaved, and the terrain is very bumpy. Locals of the area recommend that if you are carrying a bottle of commercial mineral water, you empty the water here and fill it to the brim with the pristine water which is found near the Watch Tower.
In the 1950s, the Kerala State Electricity Board wanted to construct a dam across the river Kunti, which flowed in the deep forests. Since the building of a dam has many disadvantages that accompany it, the decision of the Board led to nationwide protests all over the country by environmentalists. Eventually, as a result of the mass publicity campaigns undertaken by the media, supported by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi; the state government decided to abolish the hydroelectric project.
Consequently, the area was declared as a National Park and was initially named the 'Indira Gandhi National Park'. Since the name of the site where this place was located was known by the name of the Silent Valley, local tourists started to address the place by this name, and hence did the tourists.
The Silent Valley National Park is also known by the name of 'Sairandhrivanam'. This is because this place is considered to be the hiding abode of Sairandhiri, which is the secret identity that Draupadi had undertaken when she hid along with her five husbands, that is the Pandavas, from their wicked cousins, the Kauravas. The river Kunthippuzha which provides water to the entire forest is named after Kunthi, the mother of the Pandavas.
Entry Fee: INR 50,
Guide: INR 150,
Still Camera: INR 50,
Video Camera: INR 200,
Vehicle Entry: INR 250,
Vehicle Rent from Mukkali To Silent Valley: INR 650
The ideal time when you should visit the Silent Valley National Park is from December to April, after the park has received a major portion of its rainfall, and the humidity level is considerably low.
If you are travelling by air, the Peelamamedu Airport at Coimbatore is the nearest airport and is located 155 kilometres away from your final destination. The nearest railway station is the Olavakkode Railway Station at Palghat, located 75 kilometres from the Silent Valley National Park. The railhead is connected to all the metros and most of the other important cities of the country by regular trains.
For those travelling by road, Mannarghat, situated 32 kilometres from the Silent Valley National Park, is the nearest important township from where you can get buses to all the places in the region like Palghat, Coimbatore etc. There are frequent buses from Palghat to the Silent Valley National Park. Buses are also available directly from Coimbatore for the park.
1. Personal vehicles are allowed to enter the park by paying a fee of INR 100.
2. Entry of vehicles into the park is permitted only till 1:00 PM and all of these vehicles should exit the park by 5:00 PM.
3. Hiring a guide is mandatory to get entrance into the park.
4. Tourism is not encouraged at the national park to prevent damage to wildlife. Hence, tourists look for accommodation at Mukkali & Sairandhri.
5. Look out for leeches in the jungle. Keep table salt with you to get rid of leeches from your legs.
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