The Parambikkulam Tiger Reserve is located between the Anamalai mountain ranges in the adjoining state of Tamilnadu and that of the Nelliampathi ranges in Kerala. This 285 sq km sanctuary in Palakkad district is one of Keralaâ€™s major wildlife reserves. This wildlife sanctuary is about 140 km from the town of Palakkad.
The sanctuary with its hilly and rocky landscape teems with clusters of bamboo and also has highly valuable timber varieties like rosewood and teak. The sanctuary also has patches of grasslands and marsh lands. The biggest teak tree in the world - the Kannimari is located in the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary. This tree is 47.5 m tall and has a girth of 642 cm.
Parambikulam is rich in wildlife. It is estimated that the sanctuary is home to about 39 species of mammals, 16 species of amphibians, 268 species of birds, 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish and 124 species of butterflies; not to speak of a thousand odd species of insects.
Some of the noted mammals here include the Lion-tailed macaque, elephant, tiger, panther, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Boar, Sambar, Bonnet Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Sloth Bear and Gaur; the mascot of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is also noted for its reptilian life. One can find here, the King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Malabar Pit Viper, Travancore tortoise and the Western Ghats flying lizard. The avian world here is also fascinating and for birdwatchers the sanctuary offers a good time. One can spot here endemic ones like the lesser adjutant stork, Grey-Headed Fish-Eagle, Peninsular Bay Owl, Broad-Billed Roller, and Great Pied Hornbill.
Besides the wildlife, the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to few hill tribes. They include the Malayars, the Kadars and the Muthuvans.
Visits inside the sanctuary are possible by boat or jeep. These can be hired from the park authorities. Inside the sanctuary to enjoy a birdâ€™s eye-view of the surroundng, one can climb up the two watch towers, located at Anappadi and Chungam.
Boat cruises inside the Parambikkulam reservoir are exciting and is another way of enjoying the sanctuary. For trekking enthusiasts the sanctuary is a veritable haven. Prior permission from forest officials is required for the purpose.
There is a tree-house in the Reserve Forest area in Thoonakkadavu, the headquarters of Parambikkulam, which has to be booked in advance. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer comfortable lodging.
The trek routes here at Parambikkulam are enjoyable, due to the immense beauty of the forest, further made attractive by splendid viewpoints. Sighting large number of wildlife is a key element that sustains the excitement of treks inside the Parambikkulam Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is perhaps the only one of its kind in India, where one could see groups of Elephants, herds of Gaur, Malabar Squirrels, Wild Boar, Sambhar, Spotted and Barking Deer, Nilgiri Langur, snakes, a variety of bird species; all of them, during the course of trekking in the sanctuary. The guides available at the sanctuary are very experienced and friendly. They are committed to preserving the place and one can learn a lot about the sanctuary from them.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary receives visitors from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening. Vehicles are not allowed to leave the sanctuary after 6.30 in the evening. There is an entry fee for the sanctuary. Parambikkulam is open throughout the year, but is best avoided during the monsoon periods. Necessary permits can be obtained from the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) at Thiruvananthapuram; from the Field Director, Project Tiger at Kottayam and also from the Divisional Forest Officer at Parambikulam.
As far as accommodation is concerned, there is a tree-house in the sanctuary at Thoonakkadavu, the headquarters of Parambikkulam. It has to be booked in advance. Other options to stay at Parambikkulam are the rest houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode. Besides, accommodation is available at Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, the town closest to Parambikulam.
By road, Parambikkulam is about 65 km from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu
Nearest railway station: Pollachi about 65 km
Nearest airport: Coimbatore in the State of Tamil Nadu, about 55 km from Palakkad