Best Wildlife Sanctuaries In Tamil Nadu

Best Wildlife Sanctuaries In Tamil Nadu
Best Wildlife Sanctuaries In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, the land of 33,000 temples, is a famous tourist destination in India, with the country’s largest tourism business. Tamil Nadu is known for its temple towns, heritage sites, hill stations, waterfalls, national parks, native cuisine, and spectacular wildlife and scenery. The major Tamil Nadu tourist destinations are Chennai, Madurai, Trichy, Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur, Vellore, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, and Kanchipuram. Furthermore, the natural beauty of hill stations like Ooty and Kodaikanal mesmerises visitors with their compelling allure.

The state also has some of the best wildlife sanctuaries with an exquisite variety of flora and fauna for nature and wildlife lovers. Some of the top picks of the must-visit Wildlife Sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu have been compiled by us in this web story.

Mudumalai National Park And Sanctuary

Around 37 km from Ooty and 92 km from Mysore, the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the foothills of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. A birdwatcher’s paradise, some of the species one can spot here include Peacock, Grey Jungle Fowl, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Large Racket-tailed Drongo, Shama, Magpie-robin, Hawks, and more. The area is also known as Mudumalai Tiger Reserve due to the presence of more than 48 tigers in the reserve. Due to the presence of ferocious animals, park officials do not allow trekking and private vehicles are only allowed on the outer periphery of the national park. A more fun way to get around is to take the Elephant Safaris, which also allow access to guest houses located deep inside the forest.

Best Time to Visit: December to June.

How to get there: The nearest railway station to Mudumalai is Udhagamandalam Station (Ooty), almost 64 kilometres away from the Nilgiri Mountain Railway service. Taxi services from Ooty to Mudumalai are available to take you directly to the sanctuary. By road, the distance between Chennai and Ooty is approximately 545 kilometres.

Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary

This is located 35 km from Thoothukudi on the Tirunelveli-Thoothukudi highway in Srivaikundam Taluk, on a 64-acre hilly area. This Sanctuary was established specifically to preserve Blackbuck Antelopes. Vallanadu is the southernmost location in India where the natural population of Blackbucks exist. A popular sight is the Blackbuck population grazing on the steep terrain. Apart from Black Bucks, the Fauna population in this Sanctuary include Spotted Deers, Macaques, Jungle Cats, Mongooses, and Wild Hares. The Forest Service has gated the entire region to keep these blackbucks safe, due to developmental pressures, poaching in protected areas, and diminishing agricultural supplies.

Best Time to Visit: December to March.

How to get there: The nearest railway station is Tirunelveli Railway Station, which is 16 km from here. The nearest airport for the Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary is the Tuticorin Airport at a distance of 25 km.

Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary

Kanyakumari is a picturesque town on the southern edge of the Indian Mainland. It is bordered by Kerala on the northwest, Tirunelveli District on the northeast, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, and the Indian Ocean on the south border of this magnificent area. Spread over an area of 402 sq. km, this protected area in Kanyakumari is a tiger habitat. Seven rivers originate from this forest, including the Thamirabarani and Pahruli rivers. It is one of the most diverse forest locations with hundreds of species of plants, amphibians and insects that are endemic to the region.

The vast biodiversity and the presence of endangered species like Indian bison, tiger, elephant, rock python, lion-tailed macaque, mouse deer, Nilgiri tahr and the sambar deer make this sanctuary a treasure trove.

Best Time to Visit: October and March

How to get there: Kanyakumari is an immensely popular tourist destination in Tamil Nadu; hence one can find lots of buses and trains from all major cities in the state.

Megamlai Wildlife Sanctuary

Covering an area of around 630 sq. km, the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for wildlife and nature lovers. It is located at the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and acts as a buffer zone for the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. From evergreen trees to shrubs and a range of mammals, birds, and reptiles, it has a variety of flora and fauna.

Apart from the Periyar Tiger Reserve, it also shares its boundaries with Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Sanctuary. The Megamalai Sanctuary is home to elephants, leopards, tigers, Nilgiri tahr, gaur, spotted deer, barking deer, sambar deer, wild boar porcupine, lion-tailed macaque, and common boar porcupine langur, bonnet macaque, sloth bear, grey junglefowl, smooth-coated otter, and the flying squirrels.

Best Time to Visit: October to May

How to get there: The nearest airport is at Madurai, at a distance of 137 km. The closest Train Station is in Theni, which is 55 km away. You can also get buses to the wildlife sanctuary from Madurai or Theni.

Palani Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Established as a protected zone in 2008 under the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, this massive sanctuary spans an area of 736.87 km2 and encompasses several mountains and hills within its territory. It is located on the southern tip of the upper Palani hills and is home to animals like elephant, Indian Gaur, tiger, panther, various deer species, Nilgiri Tahr, langur, grizzled squirrel, many species of reptiles and over 50 varieties of bird species. The forested area also has 26 waterfalls inside it and this provides nourishment to the biodiversity inside the zone, creating green stretches filled with amphibians, reptiles and birds.

Best Time to Visit: April and May.

How to get there: The Madurai Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of around 134 km, and it has regular flight connectivity with all major cities like Chennai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru. From Madurai, you can take a cab to Kodaikanal or directly to the sanctuary. The Kodai Road, which is about 79 km away, is the nearest train station with good train connectivity with major cities like Chennai, Kanyakumari, Delhi, Tirupati, Madurai, Hyderabad, Howrah, Palakkad, and Mumbai. 

Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary

The Kaveri North Wildlife Sanctuary or the Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu, India. It is named so as it is located above the north of Cauvery River and the south of the river connects the wildlife sanctuary to the state of Karnataka.

An ideal place to trek, you can climb atop a hill to get spectacular views of the picturesque valley below. The river that goes through the valley is also great for fishing, angling, and rafting. The fauna that one can see include the Asian elephant, tiger, leopard, wild dog, striped hyena, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital, and the four-horned antelope.

Best Time to Visit: November to March.

How to get there: The closest airport is in Coimbatore. The sanctuary is about 5.5-hour drive away from Coimbatore. The nearest railway station is at Krishnagiri at a distance of around 70 km, and another at Dharmapuri, both of which are easily accessible from all major cities in Tamil Nadu.

Nellai Wildlife Sanctuary

In a small village in the Tirunelveli district, a new sanctuary is taking shape. With around 35 species of birds that come here for breeding and migrate after the season, this place is a new favourite of migratory bird species. The bird visits start by December and fly away by June or July after the young ones are old enough to fly with the older ones. The villagers are fiercely protective of these birds as they are considered harbingers of good luck, and anyone who troubles them, is punished. Some of the birds spotted here are Painted Stokes and Flamingos.

This is part of the larger landscape of Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli and serves as a link between Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary, with floral and faunal diversity comparable to the surrounding areas.

Best Time to Visit: September to January

How to get there: The nearest International Airport from Tirunelveli is in Coimbatore, roughly a six-hour drive. Tirunelveli Railway Station is also well connected to major cities like Mumbai, Bilaspur, Coimbatore, Guruvayur and Howrah through Nagercoil Express, Bsp Ten Express, Tiruchendur Express and Kanyakumari Express.

To know more visit Tamil Nadu Tourism’s official website.

In Partnership with Tamil Nadu Tourism

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