The Anamalai Tiger Reserve, more famously known as the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, located in the south of India is a unique reserve which has long since protected the endemic species of both plants and animals that reside here. The reserve was officially declared a Tiger Reserve in the year 2007. It lies in the Western Ghats which is a well-known hotspot for biodiversity. This also means that the species found in the tiger reserve are truly endangered and often rare and in need of protection. A visit to Tamil Nadu will never be complete without visiting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve that has been the constant state's companion since its establishment in the year of 1848.
The reserve’s unique location also makes it a gathering spot for many nature lovers and photographers that wish to witness the marvels of the reserve while also taking in the marvels of the landscape surrounding it. Another aspect that makes the reserve truly unique is the fact that it is also an anthropological reserve and hosts around six different tribal groups, one of which is endemic to the area. When visiting the reserve individuals are sure to witness at least a few things that would hold their interest and have them delving deeper into the reserve.
Geography of Anamalai Tiger Reserve
The Anamalai Tiger Reserve is spread over a wide area of 958.59 sq kilometres and is at the height of 2400 metres above sea level. The reserve spills over the Western Ghats as well as some parts of Kerala between Kodaikanal and Coimbatore. However, the main portion of the reserve lies in the Tamil Nadu portion of the Anamalai Hills, and the reserve, therefore, falls under the jurisdiction of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. There are a total of four revenue taluks that the reserve covers. These Taluks include- the headquarters in Pollachi, the Valparai, Udumalpet, and Kodaikanal.
The rich ground cover gives way to a lot of mixed styles of forests to preside in reserve. The dominant ones, however, are the tropical jungle, shoal forests and the grasslands that cover a majority of the sanctuary. There are several patches of land in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve that are also reserved for agriculture. The primary source of water and power for the entire reserve derives from the Amarvathy Dam.
Attractions at Anamalai Tiger Reserve
When visiting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, several attractions and activities can keep you busy and captivated. If you are one for the magnificent scenic views visiting the Thirumoorthi Falls, Nallamudi Poonsolai viewpoint, Attakatti viewpoints, and Valparai may be ideal for you. For the adventurers and families alike, several activities like trek routes, the forest safari, elephant camp visit as well as elephant ride as well as the waterfalls (Monkey Falls and Chinakallar Falls might be fun. For the religious individuals, local temples like the Kodanthur Kattalai Mariyamman Temple and the Thirumurthimalai Temple are also located within the reserve. Aside from this individuals can always partake in photography and bird watching, both of which have plenty of opportunities for in the premise. Camping is also permitted within the premises, and the staff encourages individuals to make full use of all activities provided by the Anamalai Tiger Reserve to have a fun-filled innovative day or even stay.
Flora and Fauna
As a biodiversity hotspot, the Anamalai Tiger Reserve has no deficiency in terms of diverse plant and animal species. The reserve is proud to flaunt their well kept and protected flora and fauna and raise awareness about them through the several guided tours provided by the reserve.
Flora The flora of the reserve ranges from wild wet evergreen forests and semi-evergreen forests to moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests. Some part of the reserve boundary also includes the shola forests in the Anamalai Hills and rarer Montane Grasslands, Savannahs and Marshy Grasslands. This broad mix of forest vegetation forms a healthy environment for all types of animal species to survive and live fruitfully. The human-made Teak plantations, Eucalyptus plantations, Wattle Pines and a freshwater ecosystem also mostly benefits the healthy reserve. Aside from this wide range, several Bamboo Trees, Canes, Reeds, different species of Palms and Ferns and more than 39 species of endangered plants can also be spotted throughout the Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
Fauna The diverse range of flora growing in the premise of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve gives way to an even larger diversity of flora, be it insects, birds, or animals. The reserve provides for at least 2500 species of Angiosperms, more than 120 reptile species, more than 300 bird species and around 80 mammals living in their natural habitat and free from any sort of dangers that they might otherwise face. As a tiger reserve, the place is bound to be famous for the ferocious wild beasts themselves as well.
Best Time to Visit Anamalai Tiger
June to February
Timings 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Annamalai Tiger Reserve is open all days of the week; however, timings may differ on special occasions)
How to Reach
By Air: the nearest airport is at Coimbatore which is 75 kilometres away. By Rail: the nearest railway station is at Pollachi which is 35 kilometres away. By Road: Buses and Cabs are available from both Coimbatore and Pollachi.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve - Entry Fee
Entrance INR 20 (5- 12 years of age) INR 5 (Government Aided Schools) INR 20 (Private Schools) INR 30 (Adults)
Vehicle INR 100 (Heavy) INR 50 (Motor/Van)
Vehicle Safari INR 50 (5- 12 years of age) INR 200 (Adult)
Valparai Range Trekking Shed, Upper Aliyar and Waterfalls, Attakatty A block, B block and C block, Sirukundra Rest House and an AC Conference Centre for Business
Ulandy Range Muhail, Bison House, Ambuli Illam, Horn Bill Rest House, Tree Top Deluxe, Tree Top, Pillar Top, Bamboo Hut, Chital House, Dorm 1 and Dorm 2.
Udumalpet Range Chinnar Trekking Shed and Rest House
Pollachi Sethumadai FRH 1 AND FRH 2
Manambolly Trekking Shed at Manambolly Range
Amaravathy Forest Rest House
Anamalai Tiger Reserve has so much to do and see that it truly speaks for itself and needs no praise. The place is a simple premise which opens all networks for visiting individuals to reconnect with nature and their surroundings through whatever means is preferable to them. Visiting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve may truly be an opportunity of a lifetime for you, your friends and your family.