Which are the most popular wild life sanctuaries of Kerala to watch wild animals near?

Kerala – God’s own country is a paradise for tourists. Those who love eco-tourism, greenery and water bodies prefer to choose Kerala as a tourist destination. Not only that, certain places of Kerala are famous for wild animals also, including the endangered ones. Through this column I shall briefly explain a few such tourist places and wild life sanctuaries of Kerala to see wild animals. Eco-tourism started across the world in the 1980s, when nature lovers felt the need to preserve wild life. It was a bit late, but not too late, and the wildlife sanctuaries are its end products.

Neyyar wildlife sanctuary for lions at Thiruvananthapuram

Neyyar dam and associated wildlife sanctuary is situated in Thiruvananthapuram district, near Kattakada. It includes lion safary park and rehabilitation centre for deer and alligators. Visitors can travel through Lion Safari Park in vehicles and watch lions residing in the forest. Boating, trekking and elephant rides are other recreation activities available here. Agasthyar forests near Kottoor owns a biological park which is known for elephant sanctuary. Peppara Bird Sanctuary near Nedumangadu is a paradise for those who love butterflies. Ponmudi, Arippa and Kallar are other major centres in Thiruvananthapuram district. Read more about Neyyar Dam.

Thenmala of Kollam district

A part of Western Ghats, Thenmala near Punalur is country’s first planned eco-tourism project. Wild squirrels and deer are main highlights, apart from elephant and tigers. Adventurous trekking and rock climbing are other promises for tourists. Chenthuruni wild life sanctuary is also a part of Kollam district. Jatayu rock, Kulathupuzha, Achankovil, Palaruvi etc are other major attractions of the district. Read in detail about Jatayu Rock, which was most recently opened to public.

Aanakalari of Pathanamthitta district

Konni of Pathanamthitta district is best known for training wild elephants. Aanakalari literally translates as ‘School/training centre for elephants’. Aanakoodu is one of the ancient training centres for elephants. There is a historical museum exclusively reserved for elephants.

Nilgiri Tahrs of Idukki district

Iravikulam near Munnar of Idukki district is famous for endangered species of Nilgiri Tahrs. The highest peak of south India, Anamudi is a part of it. Landscape, water streams and grasslands together gift spectacular visuals for tourists. One of the major highlights of Munnar is the blossoming of Neelakurinji flowers in the mountains once in every 12 years, and it last blossomed in 2018 soon after floods. Read more here. Vast tea plantations also form another highlight. Wild squirrels, elephant, rhinoceros, gaur, deer etc are some of the wild animals found in Chinnar wildlife sanctuary of Idukki district. One of the most beautiful districts of Kerala, it includes many tourist spots like Peeramedu, Kuttikaanam, Rajamala, Thommankuthu, Marayur, Kulamaav etc. Periyar tiger sanctuary placed Idukki in the tourism map of the world.

Boats and water bodies of Kottayam district

Kumarakam is one of the major tourist spots of Kottayam district. Apart from sails through backwaters, Kumarakam is an abode of different species of birds, found in rain forests and nearby places. The place is near to Thannimukkam Band. A tourist can climb watch tower and observe the major portions of bird sanctuary.

Nilambur teak plantation of Malappuram district

Nedunkayam wild life sanctuary and rain forest is the major tourism destination of Malappuram district. Rainforests of this district is loved by nature lovers a lot. Bear, elephant, rabbit, wild cat etc are some of the animals found here. Nilambur is famous for teak plantations, with world’s oldest Kanoli Plot situated on the banks of Chaliyar river.

Parambikulam wild life sanctuary of Palakkad district

Best known for Gaurs, tourists can travel in rafts in Parambikulam wild life sanctuary, where they get opportunity to watch animals very close. Such wild animals include elephants and tigers. Night stay in tents inside forests and mountain climbing are other major attractions. Silent valley best known for Lion-tailed macaque is a part of Palakkad district. Squirrels and tigers are also found here. Beautiful places like Nelliyambati, also known as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’, Malampuzha, Siruvani and Chooranallur form a part of Palakkad’s tourism map. Read more about Siruvani here. There is one more place in Tamilnadu which is also addressed as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’. Click here to know more.

Thattekadu Bird sanctuary of Ernakulam district

Ernakulam is also known as the paradise of bird lovers and observers. At Thattekadu Bird sanctuary, a visitor can watch different kinds of birds and also study about them in detail. Kodanadu and Bhoothathaankettu are other major centres.

A wildlife sanctuary for cobras at Kozhikode

There is one wildlife sanctuary in Kakkayath of Koilandi taluka of Kozhikode district best known for cobras. Different types of birds and butterflies are also found here. It’s a forest area connected to Kakkayam and Peruvannamuzhi water reservoirs near the dams. Urukkuzhi waterfalls, Janakikadu forest near Perambra, Thusharagiri near Thamarasseri, Vanaparvam Biodiversity Park etc are a few more beautiful places of Kozhikode district.

Thrissur district best known for waterfalls

Athirapally waterfall is famous across the globe, and one of the major tourist spots of Kerala. Chimmini wild life sanctuary and waterfalls at Athirapally and Vazhachal played an important role in lifting Kerala tourism and to find a place in the world tourism map. The surrounding forest area is a home to several endangered species. Peechi, Vazhani and Sholayar are other major attractions.

Arakulam wildlife sanctuary in Kannur best known for monkeys

Monkeys are common in almost all forest reserved areas and tourist spots. If you want to find all types of Kerala monkeys at a single place, Arakulam wildlife sanctuary near Thalassery in Kannur district is the best option. Sambar deer, three types of hornbills locally known as Malamuzhakki, Kozhi and Pandan are also found here. Pandan hornbill (Malabar pied hornbill) is the main highlight.

Ranipuram national garden at Kasaragod district

Ranipuram national garden is located near to Kanjangaadi. Because of its natural beauty, this place is also known as ‘Kerala’s Ooty’. Almost all animals found in forests are seen here. Giant Grizzled Squirrel is the major highlight.

Islands of Wayanad

Kuruva Island of Wayanad is a major tourist spot of Kerala. 67 island clusters in Kabani river form this tourist sport. You can sit in raft and travel through water to enjoy the spectacular visuals of the island. Muthanga, Tholpetti, Thirunelli, Vellarimala, Mananthavadi etc are some other tourist spots belonging to Wayanad district.

You can read a few more articles on some of the major tourist spots of Kerala here. Here is the page link. Click on the images in the gallery to read

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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