This glorious sanctuary is a part of Idukki District of the Western Ghats of Kerala and is protected in a unique way in the rain shadow region in the eastern slope of the Western Ghats, adjoining Tamilnadu. A lot of tourists, especially nature lovers and wildlife enthusiast visits this thorny scrub forest to spot endangered Giant Grizzled Squirrel of India. They are also attracted towards species like elephant, Gaur, panther, Hanuman Monkey, etc., that makes an important part of the sanctuary. The unique flora and fauna of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary supports a healthy population of the Grizzled Giant Squirrel and give life various other exotic animals.
Flora and Fauna
The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a well-known repository of medicinal plants and it houses a good population of the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, star tortoise, tufted grey langur, gaur, spotted deer, slender loris, wild elephant, crocodile, tiger, leopard, along with many bird and insect species. There are close to 144 species of animals, 225 recorded species of birds, 1000 species of flowering plants, and a wide variety of medicinal plants in the forest. All these together make the Sanctuary one of the richest forest reserve in Kerala in terms of vegetation.
Declared as a biodiversity hotspot, the sanctuary is covered by the Eravikulam National Park from the south side and by the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary from the north side. Its unique topography combining deciduous forests, dry thorn scrub, riparian forest, shoals, and grasslands, makes it an ideal place for trekking and wildlife exploration. Also, an extensive sandalwood forest nearby the sanctuary, is another reason why tourists love visiting this place.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its eco-tourism activities, organized by the Forest Department and the Ecodevelopment Committees of the local tribal communities. These activities include river trekking, jungle trekking, trekking to the cultural site, nature trail to the watch tower, tree house stay, camping, and more. The sanctuary is a well known storehouse of medicinal plants, used to make different type of Ayurvedic and allopathy tablets.
The best time to visit this wonderful destination is during winters as the place looks extremely beautiful post Monsoon season, which hit Kerala twice in a year. Rain gives a unique freshness to this tropical forest range, which is hard to find anywhere else.