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The Eravikulam National park is home to some rare species like the Nilgiri Tahr and the South Indian goat.

Eravikulam National Park

The Eravikulam National Park, located about 15 km from Munnar, is spread over an area of 97 sq km in the Kannan devan hills of the Western Ghats. The Eravikulam Sanctuary was declared a sanctuary in 1975 and was upgraded to a National Park in 1978. The sanctuary is divided into three major areas - the core area, the buffer area, and the tourism area. Only the tourism area, known as Rajamalai, is permitted for visitors to tour. The highest peak of South India, Anamudi (2690 m), and the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr (scientifically known as Hemitragus hylocrious) add to the picturesque landscape of this sanctuary.

Numerous types of floral and faunal life can be found on the slopes of the hills that enclose the area. The floral beauty basically consists of three types of plant life: grasslands, which cover the high plateau and hills rising above it; shrub lands, which cover the bases of the cliffs; and sholas forests that are located in the valleys and folds. The sanctuary nurses the largest surviving population of Nilgiri Tahr, about 700-800 according to estimates. Apart from Nilgiri Tahr, the most unique inhabitant of the park is the Atlas moth, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Some other rare faunal species found here include leopards, Nilgiri Langur, stripe-necked mongoose, Indian porcupine, Indian Muntjac, golden jackal, jungle cat, and lion-tailed macaque. The sanctuary is home to over 120 species of birds, 19 of amphibians, and 101 of butterflies.

The park experiences heavy rainfall, with a record of 3000 mm average annual rainfall across the region. The major portion of downpour is experienced in the months from June to August during the southwest monsoon. The mean daily temperature rises from January through May but drops abruptly during the monsoons. However, the temperature is at its minimum during the winter season and with the radiant loss of heat, the surface temperature often reaches so low that frosts become a regular phenomenon during wintry nights.

The national park provides an ideal surrounding for trekking, allowing adventure lovers to trek to the Anamudi peak. The park is open all through the year, except from 1st February until the next 45 days, since it is the calving season for the Nilgiri Tahr. The visiting hours are from 7 in the morning till 6 in the evening. The nearest railway station is Aluva in Kerala, about 120 km away from Munnar, while the closest airport is Cochin International Airport, around 150 km from Munnar. Although no accommodation facilities are available inside the park, the neighboring towns can be made a base while making a visit to the park. Local transportation facilities are available from adjoining towns, railway stations, and airport.

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