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Parambikulam Sanctuary

Area: 285 square km
Altitude: 600 m to 1444 m above sea level
Rainfall: 1720 mm
Temperature: 24 - 35 Degree Celsius in Summers, 18 - 30 degree Celsius in Winters
Tourist season: Throughout the year, except June to November
Lying adjacent to the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, the 285 sq km stretch of forest known as the Parambikulam Sanctuary is one of Kerala’s premier wildlife reserves. Parambikulam lies in the Annamalai Hills, south of the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats. The area’s hilly and rocky, drained by several rivers, including the Parambikulam, the Sholayar and the Thekkedy.

Thickly forested with stands of bamboo, sandalwood, rosewood and teak, the sanctuary has some marshy land and scattered patches of grassland. Parambikulam was once home to some of south India’s finest stands of teak; most of these, however, have now been replaced by teak plantations.

Little remains of the original teak forests, other than the famous Kannimari teak tree, the largest in Asia. The tree is about 5 km from Thunakadavu, and is one of Parambikulam’s prime attractions.

Parambikulam’s animal species include many of India’s most prominent mammals: tigers, leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, elephants, wild boar, barking deer, spotted deer, langurs and macaques. Parambikulam is also home to Kerala’s largest population of gaur. Besides these, civet, chevrotain, pangolin, crocodile, jungle cat, porcupine and some 140 species of birds are found in the sanctuary. Although the larger cats are few and far between, gaur, monkeys and deer are fairly common in the sanctuary.

Entry Requirements
Visitors are allowed into Parambikulam only between 7 am and 6 pm; no vehicles can leave the park after 6.30 pm. The entry fee is a paltry Re 0.50; for light vehicles an entry fee of Rs 5 is payable, for heavy vehicles, it’s Rs 10.

Permits are issued by the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) at Thiruvananthpuram (Tel: 62217), the Field Director, Project Tiger at Kottayam, and the Divisional Forest Officer at Parambikulam.

Access
The town closest to Parambikulam is Pollachi, in Tamilnadu; it is about 48 km from Thunakadavu, and there are two daily buses, at 10 am and 5 pm, from the town to the sanctuary. Pollachi is also the nearest railhead and has train connections to Coimbatore and Palakkad. Both Coimbatore (88 km from Parambikulam) and Palakkad (97 km from the sanctuary) are important railway junctions, with a number of trains coming in from even as far as Delhi. Coimbatore, in addition, has a domestic airport served by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways. Important towns in Kerala- such as Kochi, Thrissur, Nenmarra and Kollangodu- are connected by road to Parambikulam.

Touring the sanctuary is possible by boat or jeep; both can be hired from the park authorities. Alternatively, you can climb one of Parambikulam’s two watch towers for a bit of wildlife-watching. One tower is at Anappadi (8 km from Thunakadavu) and the other’s at Zungam, 5 km from Thunakadavu.

Best time to visit
Parambikulam is open throughout the year, but is best avoided during the monsoon. Between June and August, the monsoon rains lash Parambikulam, making hillsides unstable and causing slush, mosquitoes, drippy roofs and other nuisances.






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