The Pambadum Shola National Park, which is home to several endangered species of flora and fauna, is the smallest national park in Kerala. Located in the eastern part of the South -Western Ghats, the area was declared a national park in 2003. About 131.80 hectares of land falls in the park area. The park that greets travellers with cloudy skies and mist offers wildlife watching and trekking options. April-September is the ideal time to visit. The park is situated about 35 km from Munnar.
The park is rich in exotic flora. Around 22 species of trees, 74 species of herbs and shrubs and 16 species of climbers have been identified here.
The important mammals found in the park include Elephant, Gaur, Leopard, Wild Boar, Sambar and Common Langur. Nilgiri Marten, the only species of marten found in South India, can be spotted in the park. Around 14 species of birds, 9 species of mammals and 93 species of moths have also been recorded from the Shola.
But the biggest surprise that awaits travellers to the park is an amazing variety of butterflies that inhabit the shola forests. Around 100 species of butterflies have been recorded from the park. Of these, many are rare species like Parantica nilgiriensis (Nymphalidae), which is listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Other important butterflies recorded from the park are Rohana pariasatis, Zipoetis saintis, Libythea lepita, Pantoporia ranga and Jamides dalecto.
Some notable birds found here include the Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black-and-orange Flycatchers, White-bellied Shortwing, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Blue Rock-thrush and Blue-capped Rock-thrush.
The park offers some special eco-tourism programmes to experience the wild. Nature trail, an exciting trekking option offered here takes travellers through the Munnar-Kodaikanal forest road to Vandaravu where there is a watch tower offering amazing sights.
And if you want a stay in the wild for a day or two, have it at the log houses situated at Kuttikadu and Neduvarpu.
The eco-tourism programmes are organised by the Forest Department, in association with Eco-development Committees (EDCs) comprising members of the local tribal communities.
How to reach?
The park is about 35 km from Munnar town. It can be reached from Kochi (135 km) and Kottayam (148 km) by road. The Kochi - Kodaikanal highway passes through the National Park.
Air: The Park is accessible from Cochin (Kerala) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) airports, which are located about 170 km and 160 km respectively.
Rail: The nearest railway station in Kerala is Aluva (180 km) and Udumalpet (110 km) in Tamil Nadu.