Seldom do we come across a national park tucked away in the endless stretch of tea gardens. Eravikulam National Park is one such fine example. On one hand, it offers an astounding view of the tea gardens; on the other, it is a haven for various endangered and endemic species. Thus, the national park is one of the most sought–after destinations of Kerala. In this blog, we have tried to sum up 12 essential tips for visiting Eravikulam National Park.
Table of Contents
What is Eravikulam National Park:
During the colonial era, Eravikulam served as a hunting ground. Later, Kannan Devan Hills Company got the ownership after independence. It managed this area till 1971. Afterwards, the Government took over the management. What followed afterward was Eravikulam’s journey into a protected area.
First, it was converted into a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 for the conservation of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Finally, in 1978, it was declared a National Park owing to its ecological importance. Eravikulam is the first National Park of Kerala.
Why is this national park famous:
The Eravikulam National Park covers just 97 square km. It is renowned primarily for the following reasons:
- Nilgiri Tahr: These stocky goats are an endangered species of India. Only 100 of them were left by the end of the 20th century. Consequently, serious initiatives were undertaken to conserve the Nilgiri Tahr. Accordingly, their number has now increased to around 3,000.The largest population of Nilgiri Tahr is found in the Eravikulam National Park. There are as many as 800 goats here. However, they are quite shy and hard to spot inside the park. We, for example, could not spot even one Tahr.
- Neelakurinji: Eravikulam is one of the homes of Neelakurinji flowers. This purplish blue flower blooms only once in 12 years. The entire area looks ethereal during this time. It flowered last in 2018. The next sighting in Eravikulam may occur around 2030.
- Anaimudi peak: The highest peak of the Nilgiris, Anaimudi (2,695 m), is situated inside Eravikulam National Park. Anaimudi is also the highest peak of southern India.
Where is it located:
Eravikulam is situated in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district. It is nestled at 2000 m in the Kanna Devan hills of the southern Western Ghats.
How to reach Eravikulam National Park:
- Kochi (148 km) in Kerala and Coimbatore (175 km) in Tamil Nadu are the nearest airports.
- The nearest rail stations are Alwaye (120 km) in Kerala and Coimbatore (160 km) in Tamil Nadu.
- You need to reach Munnar first after arriving in Kerala. Munnar is around 15 km from Eravikulam National Park. Government and private buses ply daily from Munnar. Also, cabs are easily available in Munnar.
What is the best time to visit:
The Eravikulam National Park remains closed in February and March as it is the calving season. Sometimes, it closes its door in the monsoon months also.
Therefore, October to December and April to June are the best times to visit this park.
What are the timings of Eravikulam National Park:
The entry time is from 8 AM to 2 PM. Although, in pre-Covid times, the park remained open till 4 PM.
How to book tickets for the park:
Tickets are available at the entrance. However, long queues at the booking counters start as early as 6 am in the morning. Queues often reach up to even 2-3 hours in the peak season.
Thus, it’s best to book tickets online beforehand. In this way, you can save a lot of time. Book tickets at https://eravikulamnationalpark.in/landing/axRegister.php
The cost of a ticket is INR 200 for Indians, INR 500 for foreigners. INR 50 for ordinary cameras and INR 350 for a video camera.
How to travel inside Eravikulam National Park:
You cannot take private vehicles inside the park. There is no jeep safari as well. Rather, a few minibusses of the forest department ply inside. This aims to control human interference and pollution inside the park. The buses take you through the gorgeous Lakkom Mauduvakudy tea estate to the Rajamalai area of the park. From there, you need to hike for 2 km to explore the park.
What flora & fauna live in this park:
Most of the park is covered by grassland and shrubs. It also has the Shola vegetation.The Sholas render a unique feature to Eravikulam due to which it remains moistly and misty most of the time. Various orchids also inhabit this park.
29 species of mammals, 140 kinds of birds, 100 varieties of butterflies, and 10 species of amphibians inhibit Eravikulam. Along with Nilgiri Tahr, there are also Sloth Bear, Nilgiri Langur, Gaur, Giant Squirrels, Civets, etc.
What are the activities available inside the park:
Two trekking options are available here:
- Kurinji Trail: A 3 hour trek conducted in the mornings and evenings along the Kurinji and Nilgiri Tahr’s trails. The package costs INR 290/person for Indians and INR 560 for foreigners.
- Cascade Walk: This trek takes you through the Shola forests up to the Lakkom waterfalls. Pocket pinch is INR 100/ person.
You can also camp here at Lakkom Log House, near the Lakkom waterfalls. The cost of package is INR 3000 for Indians and INR 4000 for foreigners.
For more details on ecotourism, visit https://www.keralatourism.org/ecotourism/trekking-programs/eravikulam-eco-tourism/12
What are the nearby attractions of Eravikulam National Park:
After completing a tour of the national park, you can visit Marayoor. It is the hub of sandalwood forest in Kerala. You can also find many Megalithic Dolmens (locally called Muniyara) here. Go for the Marayoor Heritage Safari, organized by the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. It will take you to Ezuthala rock paintings and Anakottapara Megalithic Park.
What are the accommodation options:
There are no accommodation options available at Eravikulam National Park. Hence, it is best to stay at Munnar. Munnar has lots of options for overnight stays. We stayed at the Misty Munnar Resort. It is located in the midst of tea gardens. The USP of this resort is its terrace which offers splendid views of tea gardens.
Do’s and don’ts inside the Eravikulam National Park:
- Don’t carry food and beverage inside.
- Refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol while visiting the park.
- The park is plastic free zone. So, you cannot carry plastic items while visiting.
- Don’t tease, pet or disturb the wild animals.
- Maintain silence inside the park.
- Carry umbrellas as rainfall is unpredictable here. We visited in the last week of October. It was raining when we went to the park.