The misty, craggy abode of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr

Eravikulam National Park

This wind-swept yet stunningly beautiful wilderness in the southern part of the Western Ghats harbours half the world’s population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr.

The misty, craggy abode of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr

Eravikulam extends around 100km2 at altitudes ranging from 1,400 m to Anaimudi, peninsular India’s highest peak (2695m) which lies within the park.

The park is best known for its population of Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), which can be easily seen comfortably moving around the steep slopes.

It is one the few places where the Kurunj (strobilanthes kunthianus ) shrub thrives. It blooms once every twelve years, when the hills are carpeted in blue of Neelakurinji flowers.

Apart from the Nilgiri Tahr, the park is host to Nilgiri Langur, Lion—tailed Macaque, Elephant, Gaur, Leopard, Tiger, Dhole, Clawless Otter, Common Otter, Large Brown Flying Squirrel, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer and smaller mammals like Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose and the Brown Mongoose.

Like most of the Western Ghats, the area receives a generous amount of rain and is a biodiversity hotspot. Several species of amphibians, reptiles, insects and birds offer excellent opportunities for family and genus specific explorations.

Hamilton’s Plateau

In the late 19th century, the area was known as Hamilton’s Plateau. It was fortuitously spared deforestation as it was deemed unsuitable for the tea plantations that had spread over most of the original habitat of the High Ranges. It was instead maintained as a private hunting reserve by the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Corporation.

The High Range Game Preservation Association became involved in the conservation efforts in 1896.

In 1936 a small section around Rajamalai was declared a wildlife sanctuary but it was as late as 1978 when the local government realised the area’s full environmental value, enlarged the protected area and upgraded it into a national park.

Experiences

The park is divided into the tourist, buffer and core zones. Most visitors come to see the Nilgiri Tahr on a day visit from Munnar to Rajamalai (the tourist zone).

While the Nilgiri Tahr can be spotted easily, in order to see other species and explore the park fully, one must venture on treks ranging from 1-6 hours, or even multi-day treks that can be undertaken with experienced naturalists.

Trekking is a delight in this beautiful forest with unending grasslands spread over hills, interspersed with densely packed shola woods, blue mountains and glittering streams. The misty fog adds another dimension as do stunning sunsets and sunrises.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)