Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the rain shadow region of the western ghats in the Idukki district of Kerala.
Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1984, the area is covered with mixed vegetation which includes dry deciduous forests, high sholas and wet grasslands.
The altitudinal variation of the region that ranges from 500 to 2400 mts blesses it with a diverse variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is home to some of the highest peaks including Kottakombumalai (2144 mts), Vellaikalmalai (1863 mts) and Viriyottumalai (1845 mts). The wildlife sanctuary is located at easily approachable distances from the Eravikulam National Park and Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Wildlife Attractions in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
A drive of a few kilometers in the park along the road will introduce you to a variety of bird and butterfly species, especially the Lepidoptera. The park is home to more than 225 species of birds including Peafowl, Bulbul, Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Drongo, Bushchats, Hoopoes and other rare species such as the green-billed malcoha.
Besides these, other wild attractions of the area include animals like the common mongoose, huge mammals such as Elephants and Gaur, some species of deer including sambar and cheetal, a leopard or perhaps even a tiger.
The forest department does not offer any conducted safaris, however there are other options like the 'river trekking programme' (from 6 to 11 AM & 3 to 6 PM, Rs. 50/person) and the 'trek to thoovanam waterfall' (Rs. 35/person). Other options include the trek to the pre-historic dolmens. Bookings can be made for all these programmes from the checkpost or the Eravikulam wildlife warden's office.
Eravikulam National Park
The national park, situated at a short distance from Chinnar is complete with amazing natural beauty and a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr among other variety of rare animal and plant species.
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary
The hard core wildlife fans have the option of visiting yet another wildlife destination. The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is situated just across the border in the state of Tamil Nadu.
How to Get There
By Air -
Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport. Cochin is connected by regular flights from Delhi (8:00, Daily), Mumbai (11:05, Daily), Bangalore (13:00, Daily), Chennai (12:55, Mon, Fri), (14:40, Wed, Fri, Sun) & (18:30, Tue, Thu, Sat)
By Rail -
Ernakulam is the nearest railhead, connected by daily trains from Delhi, Mingla LKSDP Exp. (9:55) & Kerala Exp. (11:30). Daily trains running Mumbai-Ernakulam are Mingla LKSDP Exp. (8:50), Kanyakumari Exp. (15:45) & Netravati Exp. (11:40). Other important trains are Bangalore-Ernakulam bound Kanyakumari Exp. (22:00, Daily) and Chennai-Ernakulam, DHN ALLP Exp.(3:50, Daily).
By Road -
The Munnar-Udumalpet road passes through the sanctuary providing an easy access to the place. State transport buses provide regular services from all the major neighboring cities. Another option is to hire a taxi or travel in your own four wheeler.
Distances from Major Cities
Travel Tips/Important Information
- Some of the sanctuary charges include Entry Fee : Rs. 10 (Indians) & Rs. 100 (foreigners), Vehicle Entry : Rs. 150 (heavy vehicle), Rs. 50 (light vehicle) & Rs. 20 (other vehicles), Camera : Rs. 25 (still) & Rs. 150 (video), Guide : Rs. 40/Day
- Sanctuary timings are 7 AM to 5 PM
- Remember that this is an elephant country and walking or driving around the road, especially at night should be avoided.
- The Eco development committee situated next to the Chinnar forest checkpost is the place from where most of the activities are organised. You can also hire a guide from here.
- Watchtowers have been built all over the place, which are specially good for observing the wildlife.