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Silent Valley National Park-one of the few virgin rainforest in the world

Silent Valley National Park is located in the Nilgiri Hills, Palakkad district. The park is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats montane rain forests and tropical moist evergreen forest in India. Contiguous with the proposed Karimpuzha National Park to the north and Mukurthi National Park to the north-east, it is the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve, and is part of The Western Ghats World Heritage Site, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster under consideration by UNESCO.



Silent Valley is a virgin, fragile forest, nestled in the mountain folds of the Nilgiris in Southern India. Silent Valley is an ideal destination for nature lovers, researchers and gutsy trekkers. Undulating mountains and lush greenery greet the eye at Silent Valley.  View from the watch tower at Sairandhiri is panoramic and the entire valley below appears to be a wavy green enormous carpet. A silver line that runs through is the Kunthipuzha. 

The Kunthipuzha river is characterized by its crystal clear and perennial nature. The main tributaries of the river, kunthancholapuzha, Karingathodu, Madrimaranthodu, Valiaparathodu and Kummaathanthodu originate on the upper slopes of the eastern side of the valley. The river is uniformly shallow, with no flood plains or meanders.

Kunthipuzha is 2 km down hill trek over a suspension bridge. It is the place where one can see or get to wild elephants, very near. Lone male tuskers are a dangerous proposition and they can be judged from the frenzied paths they pave through thick foliage. However, there is no danger from them unless of course, you bump into them.

Silent Valley is very much famous for a medium sized species of monkey, called the lion tailed macaque. Other animals include tigers, leopards, snakes, Malabar squirrel, Nilgiri langur and the malabar laughing thrush. The only nest-building snake, the king cobra is a prized possession of the park. Vibrantly coloured butterflies, fluttering their enormous wings create an artistic mosaic, which is a sight to behold. Early mornings and evenings are the best time to spot animals.  

Where & How....?

Silent valley is 23 kms from Mukkali. Mukkali, 65 kms from Palakkad is the entrance for Silent Valley. Permission to enter silent valley should be given at Mukkali. One should hire jeeps to the silent valley as the road from Mukkali to Silent Valley is very narrow and steep at some places. A guide will also be provided for each group. The initial route is through coffee plantations and then the road passes through the dense forest. It will take nearly 75 minutes to travel from Mukkali to Silent Valley.

Silent valley is also called as “Sairandri”. The area is locally known as "Sairandhrivanam". The British named the area Silent Valley because of a perceived absence of noisy Cicadas. 

Forest department clearly mentions that Silent Valley is not for “tourists” and are not very eager to promote the place. People can only trek for 1.5kms from a watch tower near Sairandri to Kunti River. Treks to the core areas of the park are banned. The forest department rule states that one should return back to Mukkali before 6PM. Guides who come along with you make sure that you follow that.

Climate: 

The park being completely enclosed within a ring of hills, has its own micro-climate and probably receives some convectional rainfall, in addition to rain from two monsoons. In general the rainfall is higher at higher altitude and decreases from the west to east due to the rain shadow effect. Eighty per cent of the rainfall occurs during the south-west monsoon between June and September. It also receives significant amount of rainfall during the north-east monsoon between October and November.

The hottest months are April and May when the mean temperature is 23 °C and the coolest months are January and February when the mean temperature is 18o C. Because of the high rainfall, the relative humidity is consistently high (above 95%) between June and December. 

Do's & Dont's:

This place is declaired as a Polithene Free Zone-sometimes the animals may eat these polithenes, and it may cause to thier death. So please try to avoid Polithene Covers here..

The forest abounds in leeches. These 1-inch long, dark-brown thread like creatures latch on to any open area of your skin and bloat on your blood. If possible, wear high ankle leech proof jungle boots.

It is also safer to stick to your group. Silence pays, as chances of sighting animals are heightened. Do not be disappointed if you don’t see animals, as they are shy of humans. Be patient, observe keenly and you will find the forest teeming with various life forms.  

How to reach there...?

The nearest town is Mannarkkad (66Km) and the nearest airport is at Coimbatore (in neighbouring Tamilnadu State), about 55 km.

Bus transport is available to Mukkali(23 Km). You can hire a private jeep from Mukkali to Sairandhiri or trek right up. Jeep takes 1 hour while a trek uphill takes between 4-5 hours. Visitors are few as the place is totally non-commercialised. Forest officials are helpful and dedicated.

Entry fee per visitor is Rs 20/-. Private jeeps from Mukkali to Silent valley and back cost Rs 450/-. You can also take your own vehicle with permission from forest officials (Vehicle entrance fee-Rs 100/-). On the way uphill you see the Karivara farm inhabited by the Mudukar tribes of the Attapadi forest reserve.

Nearest Railway station: Coimbatore (68 Km), Palakkad(106 Km)

Keep in mind...!

Only serious trekkers find their way to Silent Valley, as trekking in this area with thick vegetation is not much simple and easy. Trek to Poochipara (Cat’s rock, 7-Km steep climb from Sairandhiri) takes 3 hours.  

Trekker’s are allowed to stay in the five camps of the forest department set deep inside. Trek routes can be chosen based on the duration of stay (1-4 days). A 4-day trek route starts from Mukkali and goes through Sairandhiri-Poochipara-Walakkad-Sispara and Anginda. Trekkers must procure all requisite permits from the forest department office at Mukkali or from the Wildlife Warden at Mannarkkad. For treks starting from Mukkali, all permits and payments are made at the forest department office, Mukkali. A guide-cum-cook accompanies trekkers through the trek route for the entire duration. 

There is no doubt that Silent Valley has one of the best rainforests in the world and entire National Park is completely void of any human habitation. A new frog genus supposed to be of the Jurassic era was discovered in the year 2003. It is no wonder then that scientists have described Silent Valley as ‘the richest expression of life on Earth’.

Silent Valley is considered to have one of the few virgin rainforest in the world and any nature lover would like to visit that place. 


2 comments :

renju said...

good one...hoping to see this place even once...

PROF.DR.S.DAMODARAN said...

Excellent article with all essential tips of do's and dont's.A cherishable experience in one's lifetime.Only nature lovers can understand this.My earnest desire is to visit this place once again.Thanks for sharing.Add one album in picasa of this place.
http://sdbotany.blogspot.com

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