At a distance of 5 km from Topslip, 40 km from Pollachi, 80 km from Palakkad, and 82 km from Coimbatore, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected tiger reserve located in Palakkad district of Kerala. Situated on Tamil Nadu – Kerala Border, it is one of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala and among the top places to visit near Pollachi.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, formerly known as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 391 Sq. km protected area in Chittur taluk of Palakkad district of Kerala. The wildlife sanctuary, which had an area of 285 sq. km was established in 1973. It is in the Sungam range of hills between the Anaimalai Hills and Nelliampathy Hills. The sanctuary was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2010. Including the buffer zone, the tiger reserve has a span of 643.66 Sq. km. The Western Ghats, Anamalai sub-cluster, including all of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
Parambikulam is one of the biodiversity hot spots in the world as it supports diverse habitat types and endemism. A natural home to the majestic tigers, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve houses some of the most exotic and endangered wildlife species. As per the latest estimates, there are 28 tigers at the reserve. Apart from tigers, elephant, leopard, lion-tailed macaque, peacock, spotted deer, sambar deer, bison, porcupine, and Nilgiri tahr are part of this reserve. The presence of 250 species of birds offers fantastic bird watching opportunities. A rare type of frogs known as Parambikulam Chilappan can be seen only at this reserve.
Kannimara Teak in Parambikulam is considered to be one of the largest teaks in Asia. During the reign of the British, a tramway was constructed to take the teak to Chalakudy from Parambikulam. One can see the remains of the tramway tracks here even today. The Parambikulam Dam, which is part of the Parambikulam-Aliyar project, is situated here. Tourists can opt for a ride on the bamboo rafts at the Parambikulam reservoir. The nearby Thunakkadavu and Peruvaripallam Dams are also interesting spots to explore. The sanctuary is the home of four different tribes of indigenous peoples including the Kadar, Malasar, Muduvar, and Mala Malasar settled in six colonies. People from tribal colonies inside the reserve are engaged as guides for treks and safaris and are employed in various eco-tourism initiatives.
The forest department has made all safety arrangements for the tourists to enjoy the forests and observe wildlife. A jungle safari, trekking, and camps, too, have been set up. Jungle safari allows you to venture across the park and watch the wildlife in their natural habitat from the close quarters. A ride can accommodate up to 25 people for the jungle safari. The Parambikulam Tiger Reserve offers many trekking packages including Pugmark Trail, Bear Path Trail, Elephant Song Trail, and Kariyanshola Trail.
Though located in Kerala, this tiger reserve can be accessed only through Tamil Nadu. The tourists can reach Parambikulam, via Sethumadai in Tamil Nadu. Anappadi is the entry point to Sanctuary (all bookings have to be made here). The headquarters for Sanctuary is Thunakadavu (8 km from Anappadi & 9 km from Parambikulam Dam). There is a tree-house and few other cottages available in the Reserve Forest area in Thunakadavu & Parambikulam operated by forest dept which cab be booked in advance. Watchtowers are available at Anappadi & Zungam (5 km from Thunakadavu). Trekking is allowed with prior permission. Parambikulam can also be visited along with Valparai Packages.
Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM (last entry 4 PM), 7 AM – 3 PM for Jungle Safari
Entry: Rs. 23 for Indians, Rs. 300 for Foreigners, Rs. 70 for Car, Rs. 200 for Bus & Rs. 25 for Camera
Safari Cost: Rs. 200 for Jungle Safari, Rs. 3600 for 5 People for Pug Mark Trail, Rs. 500 for Elephant Song Trail, Rs. 500 for Bear Path Trail