- Aaralam Wildlife Sanctuary
- Parambikulam Sanctuary
- Silent Valley N. Park
- Eravikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
- Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
Silent Valley National Park
The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent Valley National Park is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history. Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries.
Sairandhri Vanam, meaning the forest in the valley, as referred to in the Mahabharatha and the River Kunthi give a mythological dimension to the National Park. The Silent Valley is seldom silent but it has an inexplicably unique character about it, what with the dense forest, the music of the birds and its quiet majesty. With an area of close to 90 sq kms, the park is situated in the north-eastern corner of the Palakkad district. It rises abruptly to the Nilgiriplateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south. The river Kunthi descends from the Niligiri hills above an altitude of 2000 m and traverses the entire length of the valley finally rushing down to the plains through a deep gorge. River Kunthi never turns brown; it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.
The forests belong to the bio-geographical class of the Malabar rain forests and harbor about 1000 species of plants. The flowering plants here include 966 species to 134 families and 599 genera. The dicotyledons are 701 in number, distributed among 113 families and 430 genera; monocotyledons are 265 distributed among 21 families and 139 genera. The 5 dominant families recorded from Silent Valley are;
1. Orchidaceae with 108 species belonging to 49 genera, Febaceae with 545 species representing 26 genera,
2. Rubiaceae with 49 species representing 27 genera and.
3. Asteraceae with 45 species representing 25 genera. Many of these are rare and endangered and some are now lost elsewhere. The following are some of the new species and genera recorded recently from Silent Valley - Hedyotis silentvalleyensis, Kanjaram palghatensis, Porpax chandrasekharanhii, Silentavelleya nairii, Nydnocarpus pendulus etc.
New species of orchids recorded are :
1. Oberonia bisaccata, Liparis indiraii, Eriatiagii, Ipsea malabarica, a ground orchid rediscovered after a lapse of more than a century
2. Scutellaria oblonga and Anodendron rhinos porum, two Sri Lankan plants have also been recorded.
The valley has a fair representation of all peninsular mammals. They are lion - tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque, tiger, leopard (Panther), leopard cat, fishing act, common palm civet, small Indian civer, brown palm civet, ruddy mongoose, stripenencked mongoose, wild dog, sloth bear, otter, flying squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel, Indian pangolin (scaly anteater), Porcupine, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, gaur and elephant.
Birds include rare such as Indian black-crested baza, bonellis' hawk eagle, rufous bellied hawk eagle, shaheen falcon, short-eared owl, peninsular scops owl, Ceylon frog mouth, great Indian hornbill, Niligiri laughing thrush, house martin, rufous bellied short wing, Malay bittern etc. About 170 species have been recorded of which 31 are migrants. The fauna include a number of possible new species, a few very primitive animal groups, notably Ceacilians (limbless amphibians) and some rare small mammals such as the Peshwa's bat and heary-winged bat. Butterflies and moths are varied and plenty. There are more than 100 species of butterflies and 400 species of moths. Quite a few of them are extremely rare and endemic.
The Silent Valley is a veritable treasure house-a gene pool of tropical flora and fauna. This has to be protected from human depredation and cherished for all times to come.
Travel Information :
Nearest town : Mannarkkad (32 kms)
Nearest airport : Coimbatore (115 kms) .