The Eravikulam National Park was established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr, which is endangered specie of the wild goat found only to the south of the Himalayas. The park was notified as the park in the year 1978. The park, rich in forest and grasses, lies along the high ranges of the western coast in the Munnar Forest Division of Idukki district in Kerala. It is situated on the border of Kerala and extends to the Tamil Nadu in the north where it is known as the Annamalai National Park.
The North Travancore Land Planting Society, during the British period, owned the region of Rajamalai and Eravikulam. But the area was later handed over to the Kannan Deven Hill Produce Corporation by them. The Corporation converted the region into a private hunting area as they found it was unsuitable for the tea plantation. The area of Rajamalai was declared a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1936. But the Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary was established only in 1975. In 1978, the sanctuary was upgraded and given the status of a national park.
The Nilgiri Tahr is one of the most endangered species in India. Eravikulam is the only place where one can spot this wild goat. The park was established provide shelter to this animal in its natural environment. Due to the concerted efforts of the park authorities, the population of the Nilgiri Tahr has increased tremendously. Now at least five to six hundred Tahrs can be found here. Other faunal species found in the park are elephant Gaur, Giant Squirrel, Leopard, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Tiger, and Sambar. The park is also home to three species of lizards, four of snakes, and five of amphibians.
The Tropical Evergreen Forest is the main vegetation found of this region. Within the thick cover of the forest, one finds grassland as well as shrubs. The grasslands with patches of forests are known as Sholas and cover almost the entire region.
Anamudi, with a height of 2,695 m is the highest peak in south India. It is located within the park boundary and is a good place for trekking.
Eravikulam comes under the Munnar Forest Division. Besides the visit to the National Park, the tourists to this place can enjoy the pleasure of the natural surroundings and forested hills. The activities like walking and hiking around this small town are lively and thrilling. You can walk through the numerous tea estates of Munnar and can watch the entire process of tea making, right from plucking the tea leaves to their processing at the Kundale tea plantation.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 60 km from Munnar. It is the only protected area in Kerala with Semi-Arid and Dry Deciduous Scrub Forests. The Elephants, Gaur, Leopard, Sambar and the Starred Turtle are the wildlife found in this park.
For a calm and serene ambiance, one can go to Marayoor. It is 42 km from Munnar to east of the Eravikulam National Park. The place is renowned for the beauty and aroma of the sandalwood forest.
The Mudapetty Dam is 10 km from Munnar, en route to the Top Station. One can visit this place, as it is a popular picnic spot. You can have the pleasure in activities like boating and horse riding over here.
Tourists should not cause any damage floral and faunal life. The flora should not be plucked to take back home. You should not kindle any kind of fire; throw lit matches and cigarette buds. Do not throw or leave trash, litter and polyethylene bags in the forest. Firearms and chemicals should not be taken into the forests as they may cause harm to the wildlife and the vegetation. Never play radio and tape recorders as their frequency and voice might disturb, scare or irritate the animals.
The Southwestern Monsoon affects the climate of this region. April and May are the hottest months with the temperature rising to the maximum of 23°C. June, July and August are the monsoon months and this region receives maximum rainfall during this period. The northeast monsoon brings a little rain during September and December. January and February also receive little rain and the weather is generally clear during this time of the year. You can carry cotton clothes during summers and light woolen clothes during winters. The best time to visit the park is between the months of November and April.
The airport at Cochin is the nearest airport to Eravikulam National Park and is at a distance of 143 km from Cochin. Cochin is well connected with many cities of India by frequent flights.
The nearest railway station is the Ernakulam Railway Station at Ernakulam (Cochin). It is at a distance of 143 km. There are regular trains to all the metro cities of India.
The last motorable road leading to the park is till Rajamalai, which is the headquarters of the park. One has to trek for almost 18 km from Rajamalai to Eravikulam National Park. Rajamalai is at a distance of mere 17 km from the town of Munnar, which is very well linked with the several towns in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
There are no options for accommodation within the park. The tourists have to stay at Munnar to make frequent trips to the park.
STD / ISD facilities are available at Rajamalai and Munnar. Internet Connections are easily available in Munnar, as many new establishments have come up in the recent to provide this facility to the tourists.