Kerala mostly boasts of wet evergreen forests and is popularly referred to as “God’s own country”. It is affluent in biodiversity and extremely rich in landscape beauty. Kerala is the most famous tourist destination in South India and is surely worth a visit. Kerala has got coastal planes, brackish lagoons, parallel lakes, crystal clear water and trekking trails. Along with this, it is blessed with abundance in wildlife and vegetation. Here is a list of best national parks in Kerala:
1. Eravikulam National Park
Ideal period to visit Eravikulam National Park is from November to April. It was originally established as wildlife in 1975 sanctuary but now it is acclaimed as the roof of Kerala. It is the largest national park of the state and is situated in the Idukki district. It was declared as a national park in 1978. The endangered Nilgiri Tahr or the wild goat is the chief attraction here. It fortifies the Anamudi peak at an altitude of 2,695 metres. The park boasts of rich flora and lush green vegetation.
2. Silent Valley National Park
The ideal period to visit Silent Valley National Park is from September to March. It is an evergreen forest and is 155 kilometer away from Coimbatore. It was declared as a national park in 1984. It is home to several endangered species such as the lion tailed Macaque. Elephants, panthers, tigers, gaur sambhar and a number of tiny plants and vegetation are found in the region. The national park got its unique name from the fact that the area is bereft of the chirping noises of the cricket birds. The 7 kilometre trek at an elevation of 1376 metres above sea level is breath taking and requires special permission. This park never had any human habitation.
3. Anamudi Shola National Park
Anamudi Shola National Park is spread in area of 750 hectares. It is rich in biodiversity and was notified as a national park in order to protect the wildlife. The best time to visit this park is from October to March. It is 45 kilometres away from Munnar. The pristine scrub forest also offers tea plantations in the vicinity. It has some rarest species of plants and animals. Thoovanan waterfall is a major tourist attraction over here. The forest is tropical evergreen and has 62 species of trees, 174 species of herbs and 39 species of climbers. Indian bison and nilgiri tahr are found in the region that experiences an average rainfall of 2000 to 2500 mm.
4. Matthiketan Shola National Park
Matthiketan Shola National Park was declared as a national park in November 2003. It falls in the Pooppara village of Idukki district. The area is blessed with unique ecology, flora, fauna and geomorphology. It is a part of the Cardamom hill reserve. It offers lion safaris and boasts of Crocodile Park, deer parks, waterfalls and elephant kraal. It is 135 kilometres away from Kochi. It contains several botanical rarities and is ideal for ecotourism.
5. Pampadum Shola National Park
It is the smallest national park of the state and is located in Marayoor village of Idukki district. It was notified as a national park in 2004. It is very near to Anamudi shola national park. The best period to visit this park is from January to March. The rugged terrains of this national park are covered with tropical evergreen forests. Ecotourism facilities like trekking and night camping are allowed in the region. 93 species of moths and 100 species of butterflies are found here. King Cobra, Pythons, black and orange fly catchers, darters, pied kingfishers, leopards, wild boar, barking deer, wild dogs, elephants and langur can be glared at in the arena. It also has mixed deciduous forest comprising of 60% of the vegetation.
The perpetual chains of hills in Kerala embellished with pulsatile national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are a guaranteed monotony breaker where the air is redolent and a whiff of freshness propagated everywhere. Paradise is certainly the permanent suffix of this state. I am not sure which gods live in this paradise. Smallest, largest, biggest, rarest or oldest but these superlatives surely reside here.