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Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park
 
 

The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, the largest and well preserved sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, lies in the Western Ghats south of the Palghat Gap, better known as Anaimalais (Mountain of Elephants). With an area of 958 sq.KM, it is rich in flora and fauna.This protected area constitutes the most important watershed for the agricultural economy and power supply. Major reservoirs like Parambikulam, Aliyar, Thirumurthi, Upper Aliyar, Kadambarai, Sholayar and Amaravathi are fed by the perennial rivers which originate from the Sanctuary.

Great Indian Hornbill
The tribal communities living in the sanctuary are Kadar, Malasar, Malai Malasar, Muduvar, Pulayar and Eravalar. They participate in the management as Forest watchers and Antipoaching Watchers.
Location
Map

The sanctuary lies in Coimbatore district.

The area lies between 10.13’-10.33’ N and 76.49’ – 77.21’ E

It was notified as a sanctuary in the year 1974. 108 sq.kms of its unique habitats at 3 places - Karian Shola, Grass hills, Manjampatty were notified as National Parks in 1989.

Flora
Musa
Cullenia excelsa
Shola Forest
Lion Tailed Macauque

The Anamalais rise from foothills at the height of 300 m to Topslip-Parambikulam Plateau at 800m and to the Valparai Plateau, between 1000 and 1250 m. The elevation range includes an array of habitats ranging from dry thorn forests in the low foothills to semi-evergreen stretches to grass hills and evergreen shoals in Valparai.

Forest types in this Reserve are:
  • Tropical wet evergreen forest.
  • Southern tropical moist deciduous forest
  • Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest
  • Southern Montane Wet Temperate Forest
  • Southern tropical thorn Forest
  • Dry Savannah Forest
  • Southern Bamboo Forest
  • Reeds.

The floral diversity has been estimated to be over 2000 species, of which about 400 species are of medicinal importance. The Karian Shola NP has been identified and designated as a Medicinal Plant Conservation Area (MPCA) due to its medicinal plant diversity.
Apart from its rich tree diversity, over 100 species of orchids, a wide variety of ferns, grasses, palms and canes abode here.

Fauna
Elephant Herds
Nilgiri Tahr
New Fishes
TahrKelaart’s Clawed Shrew

The sanctuary supports extremely diverse faunal population and several species are exclusive to this area. A wide variety of herbivores inhabit this Sanctuary including elephant, gaur, Sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, nilgiri tahr and wild boar. This is equally matched by carnivore diversity with Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Indian Fox, Leopard-cat and Jungle cat. Primates are represented by bonnet macaque, common langur, nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque and slender loris. Other important mammals include the Sloth Bear, Small Indian civet, Toddy cat, Ruddy mongoose, Stripped-necked mongoose, Common Otter, Smooth Indian Otter, Nilgiri marten, Indian Flying fox squirrel, Indian Giant Squirrel, Dusky stripped squirrel, Flying squirrel, Black naped Indian Hare, Bandicoot Rat, Grey musk shrew, Indian Porcupine, Indian Pangolin.

The Sanctuary is a birders’ paradise. Over 300 species of birds have been sighted. Apart from the Great Pied Hornbil-the flagship species, rare birds like the Frogmouth, Red-winged crested cuckoo are found here. Birds of prey like Crested Serpent Eagle, Spot-billied Eagle , Black Eagle, Crested Gohawk, Rufous bellied Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Owl. Grey Jungle fowl, Painted Bush quail, Red Spurfowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, Brown-backed Needletail, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Dollar bird, Malabar Trogon, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Blue-bearded Bee eater, White bellied Treepie, White-bellied Shortwing, Wynad Laughingthrush, Hill Myna, Nilgir Flycatcher. Many species of flycatchers, Drongos, Treepies, Birds of prey, Thrushes, Warblers, Babblers, woodpeckers, Parakeets, Pigeons, Shrikes, Cuckoos, Swifts and Owls are also found here.
Shortwing, Wynad Laughingthrush, Hill Myna, Nilgir Flycatcher. Many species of flycatchers, Drongos, Treepies, Birds of prey, Thrushes, Warblers, Babblers, woodpeckers, Parakeets, Pigeons, Shrikes, Cuckoos, Swifts and Owls are also found here.

Nilgiri Langur
Spiny Lizard
Sphaerotheca Rufescens
Common Pit Viper

The Sanctuary is a treasure house of several rare, endangered and endemic species of reptiles and amphibians. Rare reptiles like Travancore Cane turtle and Travancore tortoise,Marsh Crocodile,Common Indian monitor,Kerala Forest Terapin,. Travancore Cane turtle, Forest calotes snake, Sand snake, Olive keel back, Water snake, Bronze bark tree snake, Perrotes shield tail snake, Common wolf snake and Green keel back are present here.
Southern Green calotes , Common skink ,Snake skink,Draco or Flying lizard.Apart from this, several species of snakes including the poisonous King Cobra, Cobra, Common Krait , Saw-scaled viper, Russels viper , Bamboo Pit Viper, and non Poisonus Indian rock python, Green keelback, Vine snake, Common warm snake, Sand snake, Olive keel back, Water snake, Bronze bark tree snake, Perrotes shield tail snake , Common wolf snake and Green keel back are present here.

The amphibians include narrow mouthed frogs like the Microhyla, tree frogs like the Malabar gliding frog, Green tree frog and toads like the Bufo beddomi, Bufo melanostictus.The insect diversity is amply demonstrated by a wide variety of butterflies and moths found here.It is very rich in grasshoppers, mantises, beetles, flies, ants, termites and spiders (arachinids), which play an important role in eco system sustenance.

Luisia Evangelinae
Wild Pepper
Rhacophorus Malabaricus
Ceylon Frogmouth
Tourist info

The Sanctuary is highly diverse in its topography, altitude, rainfall, climate and temperature. Therefore, it naturally supports a wide variety of flora and fauna including several rare, endemic and endangered species of plants and animals. Diversity of landscape and its components enchants one and all alike be he a tourist, a trekker, an anthropologist, a wildlifer or a naturalist.
Best time to Visit
Moderate warm climate almost through the year makes it attractive destination throughout the year but the best time to visit would be December to April.
Weather
The mercury ranges from 14oC – 32oC during March to October and to 6oC-24oC during November to February.Torists may avoid rainy months.

Michelia Nilagirica
Approach
Bus services is available frequently from Pollachi to Topslip 35Km
Nearest Railway Station is in Pollachi – 35 kms away.
Nearest Airport is Coimbatore – 87 kms.away.
Places of Interest
Topslip is the place of first choice to most of the tourists. Ample accommodation, vehicle ride, elephant ride and regulated nature walk are provided. Adjacent Karianshola a tropical rain forest with tall rising trees and well-developed canopy forest is for serious visitors. Medicinal Plants Conservation area (MPCA) and interpretation centre here cannot be missed. In the west, it connects with Kerala’s Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary and a joint visit would give a taste of varied landscape and lot of surprises.
Elephant camp at Chinnar is 25 KM from Topslip. Grassy swamps and teak plantations and the Seychalli valley are other interesting spots.
 
 
Elephant Herd
Valparai is one of the highest mid elevation hill resort in the country. The tea plantations are surrounded by evergreen moist deciduous forest a rich elephant tract and a panther prowl.

Grasshills can be reached conventionally through pollachi over the Attakatti ghat or from topslip via vargaliar and manompally. The shoals and grass lands which are continuous with the grass lands till Konalar hut and a briddle path connects the grass hills of the Eravikulam National Park in Munnar district. Rhododenron, Kurinji are popular in this tract. Tiger, panther, Elephant Nilgiri Tahr and many other wildlife are found to be peacefully existing in this area. The grass hills road ends at Konalar, a small mountain stream across which the Konalar hut is located.

The Crocodile farm at Amaravathi dam is one of the four major crocodile farms in the country and is a popular destination. The crocodile farm is also the home of grizzled squirrels with many nests located on trees within the farm. The forests around are ideal elephant tracts.

Monkey falls located at the 29th km junction on the Pollachi-valparai road, is the place for a refreshing bath from the natural falls

Attakatti is about 36 km. on the pollachi Valparai state highway.A well maintained trekking shed is available near Attakatti. The area is an ideal dry deciduous and moist deciduous forest tract and home of wildlife like Elephant, Tiger, Nilgiri Tahr, Sambar etc.

Monompally is about 85 km from Pollachi and about 20 km from valparai has a beautiful trekking shed close to Manompally river. The place is known for its thick shola forests, fast flowing rivers and scenic beauty.

Manjapatty valley is a unique elephant country. The Dhallinji and Manjampatti tribal settlements are within this area.

Thirumurthy hills , about 25 km from Udumalpet, is famous for the Panchalingam water falls. The place has many tribal settlements around and has rich moist & dry deciduous forests.

Chinnar is situated at about 25 km from Amaravathi. Elephants are very common here. Deers and Bisons are also seen in large numbers. It has abundant population of Elephants, Grizzled Squirrels, wide variety of small mammals, birds and reptiles. Tigers are a common sight for visitors on this road.

Trekkers delight
Arundina Graminifolia
Plain Tiger
Lime Butterfly
Unnamed
Several interesting trek routes are avaialable and regular guided treks are conducted during favourable season. Prior notice of a fortnight is necessary.Some of enchanting trek routes are
  • Top Slip-Karianshola-Pandaravarai-Topslip trek of 12 kms takes 5 hrs. It is best done during September – March. It is a trek for animal and bird watching. There will be no need for camping enroute.
  • Akkamalai-Thanakka malai-konal Ar- Fishing hut – Akkamalai. Moderate to steep climb to a distance of 10 kms and climbing down for 20 kms takes 7 hrs. during june. The route passes through vast stretches of rolling meadows with evergreen shoals. Herds of Nilgiri Tahr a mountain goat are found.Fishing hut at Konalar is an exciting camp site.
  • Elumalaiyan Odai-Kamanuthu pungan odai-udumalpet moonar road. A steep climb for two kms and gentle undulating ground for 7 kms.takes 3 hrs. done during December- June. Panther, Gaur, Sambar, Deer, Elephant, Tiger and a variety of birds are sighted. Observation tower at Kamanuthu provision for halt at Amaravathi.
  • Monkey falls - a linear stretch of evergreen forests is surrounded by rocky cliffs.
  • Varagaliar – Kurampalliar and Varagaliar shola– Perrunkundru Malai- back - a 14 KM stiff climb taking 7 hrs, is best done during September- March. A It takes one through a stretch of lower elevation, shola supports large number of arboreal animals especially primates (Lion Tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Langur). Nilgiri Tahr and Indian Hornbill can be sighted. Forest Rest House at Varagaliar will be the camping site.
Accommodation
Comfortable accommodation is available at Topslip on prior booking at the reception center in the office of the Wildlife Warden, Pollachi. There are cottages and group accommodation facilities available at Topslip to suit different budgets. Catering facility is available at Topslip.Bookings are done at Office of the Wildlife Warden, Pollachi.
Contact:
The Wildlife Warden,
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park,
176, Meenkarai Road,Pollachi,
Coimbatore 642001,Tamil Nadu.
Tel. (04259) 25356
 
 
 
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