21 Best National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries near Kochi (Cochin)

Hill Station | Wildlife | Lake & Backwater

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the top wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, especially for wildlife enthusiasts. Situated about 82 km from Munnar, 143 km from Kochi, and 211 km from Trivandrum, it is one of the must include places in Kerala tour packages.

Established in the year 1950, the sanctuary is spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is a thick evergreen forest. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. Among the top tourist places in Kerala, Thekkady is famous for Asian Elephants, Tigers, Gaurs, Sambars, Lion-tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs, Wild Boars, Spotted Deer, Nilgiri Tahr, etc. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can watch wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat from the lake. The main attraction of the sanctuary is a group of wild elephants that come to play in the lake.

Thekkady offers elephant rides, jeep safari, boating in the lake, tiger trails, and forest treks. Murikkady, Chellar Kovil, Anakkara, Mangala Devi Temple, Suruli Falls, and Pullumedu are the popular places to visit as part of Thekkady packages.

Distance from Kochi: 156 Kms

Wildlife

Bandipur National Park is one of the well preserved national parks in Karnataka, and among the top places of wildlife in India. Located between Mysore & Ooty, it is about 80 km from Mysore and 215 km from Bangalore.

Spread across 874 sq.km, Bandipur is a part of the famous Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve along with Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the must include places in Mysore Tour Packages as it is one of the 15 sanctuaries belonging to the Project Tiger Scheme. It is home to around 70 tigers and over 3000 Asian elephants, as well as other animals like leopards, dhole, gaur, sloth bears, and a variety of birdlife.

Jeep Safaris and Mini Bus Safaris are arranged by the forest department. The entry point & interpretation center of the park is located in Bandipur village on Highway after Melkamanahalli Village. Private vehicles are NOT allowed inside the park. The best time to visit Bandipur is from June to October. Explore our Bandipur Travel Guide for complete details on the famous national park. Bandipur can also be visited along with Ooty tour packages.

Distance from Kochi: 259 Kms

Wildlife

Nagarhole National Park is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India. Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, the park is situated about 218 km from Bangalore, and is among the must include places in Karnataka Tour Packages.

Spread across Mysore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka, Nagarhole got National Park status in 1988 and declared as 37th Project Tiger Reserve in 1999. The Western Ghats Nilgiri sub-cluster of 6,000 Sq. km, including all of Nagarhole National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is one of the top attractions you must include in Coorg tour packages. It is situated to the north-west of Bandipur National Park which are separated by Kabini reservoir.

The park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys, and waterfalls. The important animals in Nagarhole are tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, the hyena, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, wild boar and elephant. Bus & Jeep Safari available in the park run by forest dept from Kutta & Dhammanakatte (kabini side). Explore our Nagarhole Travel Guide for complete details on the beautiful sanctuary.

Distance from Kochi: 307 Kms

Wildlife | Adventure / Trekking

At a distance of 16 km from Munnar, Eravikulam National Park is a protected wildlife reserve located in Munnar. Situated on Munnar - Udumalpet Road, it is one of the popular national parks in Kerala, and among the must visit places during Munnar tour.

The Eravikulam National Park was established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr. Earlier, the area was managed as a game preserve by the Kanan Devan Hills Produce Company. The government of Kerala resumed control in 1971 and declared the Eravikulam-Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary in 1975 and became a National Park in 1978.

The national park is spread across an area of 97sq. km and is a protected area. The park is extended into Tamil Nadu and is known as Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary. This region is famous as the natural habitat of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Nearly half the world's population of this rare species is found in the area. Other faunal species found in the park are elephant Gaur, Giant Squirrel, Leopard, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Tiger, and Sambar. It is one of the beautiful places to see Neelkurnji flowers in South India as part of your wildlife tour in India.

The park is divided into 3 regions - the core area, the buffer area, and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed only to the tourism area, which is in the Rajamalai region. Tourists can take safari and trekking ...

Distance from Kochi: 145 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 5 km from Kumarakom Bus Station, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a protected reserve situated on the banks of Vembanad Lake in Kerala. Also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, this is one of the best places of wildlife in Kerala, and among the must-visit places during your Kumarakom trip.

Spread across 14 acres, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an amazing paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields, and coconut groves. It is one of the best sanctuaries near Kochi, the bird sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. In addition, visitors can get thrilled by the native kingfishers ablaze in psychedelic colours, experience a walk under rookeries of egrets and night herons or lone golden-backed woodpeckers and even delight in the acrobatics of the paradise fly-catchers.

Regarded as one of the must-visit places of sightseeing in Kumarakom, the sanctuary is accessible by road & boat from Kumarakom village. It has well-laid paths for moving around within the sanctuary (1-2 hours by foot). The best way to watch the birds is to take a 2-hour boat trip around the sanctuary through country boats available ...

Distance from Kochi: 52 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 53 km from Palakkad, & 102 km from Coimbatore, Silent Valley National Park is a national park located in the northeast corner of Palakkad district in Kerala. It is one of the famous national parks in Kerala, and among the top Palakkad tourist places.

Silent Valley National Park is a beautiful representation of the last remaining rain-forest of Kerala. Historically it is a paradigm of people's movement to protect the forest. In 1914, Silent Valley forests were declared as Reserved Forest. It was declared as National Park in 1984 and formally inaugurated in the year 1985. Till 1921, Silent Valley was part of the South Malabar Forest Division with headquarters at Nilambur. In 1921, it came under the control of the Palakkad Forest Division and managed so until 1988.

Silent Valley was called 'Sairandhrivanam' as it was the place where Sairandhiri (the secret identity donned by Panchali, from the epic Mahabharata) hid along with her five husbands, the Pandavas, during their exile. The Kunthippuzha River which feeds the entire forest was named after Kunthi, the mother of the Pandavas.

Initially, the park has only 89.52 sq. km area that forms the core zone of the National Park while in 2007, an area of 148 sq. km was added to this as a buffer zone. It is one of the smallest national parks in India and among the must-include ...

Distance from Kochi: 195 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of about 29 Kms from Trivandrum Central Railway Station, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 128 sq. kms at the foot of Western Ghats. The Neyyar Dam built over Neyyar River is located within the Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is the home of unique species of flora and fauna. From wild boars and elephants to the vast range of medicinal herbs, Neyyar is truly a nature lover's paradise. The crocodile farm, the lion safari park and the deer park are some of the main attraction of the Neyyar Sanctuary. Boating facility is available in the reservoir of the Neyyar Dam.

The best time visit Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary is October to March.

Distance from Kochi: 231 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 23 km from Thrissur, Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary located near Peechi village. It is one of the prominent places of wildlife in Kerala, and among the must-include places in Thrissur sightseeing tour.

Spread across 125 sq. km, the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1958. It is situated in the catchment area of the Peechi and Vazhani Dams. It is part of the Palapilli-Nelliampathy forests and forms the northern boundary of the Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary.

There are more than 50 species of orchids and medicinal plants in this sanctuary. There are 60 types of birds, 25 types of mammals, and 10 types of snakes in the sanctuary. The sanctuary provides shelter for Leopards, Tigers, Sambhar Deer, Elks, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Wild Dogs, Fox, Langurs, etc.

Peechi village is the entry point to the sanctuary. The Forest Department arranges trekking into the sanctuary and is recommended only for experienced trekkers. October to March is the best time to visit.

Bookings can be made at Wildlife Warden at Peechi (Ph: 0487-2699017).

Timings: 8 M - 5 PM

Distance from Kochi: 83 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 34 Kms from Thrissur, Chimmony WLS is located in Echippara village, near Varandarappilly town. The sanctuary is spread around Chimmony Dam. This is one of the popular weekend getaways from Kochi and among the popular wildlife sanctuaries in India.

Established in 1958, the sanctuary is spread over 100 Sq. Kms on the Nelliyampathy slopes of Western Ghats. It is bordered with Peechi-Vazhahi Wildlife Sanctuary. The entry point into the sanctuary is at Echipara checkpost (guides can be hired at checkpost). Forest department organizes trekking programs - short (3 Hrs - Rs. 250), half-day (Rs. 400) & full-day (Rs. 800). Bamboo rafting is also offered from Inspection Bungalow (2 Hrs - 100 per person). Elephants, Sambar are most common fauna. There are 200 species of birds and 100 species of butterflies in the sanctuary.

Sanctuary timings are 6 AM to 6 PM. Overnight stay is allowed with prior permission. Basic accommodation is available at Inspection Bungalow. For all bookings, contact Wildlife Warden at Peechi (Ph: 0487-2699017). Best season to visit is Sep-Mar.

Distance from Kochi: 78 Kms

Wildlife | Nature & Scenic

At a distance of 13 km from Kothamangalam, and 62 km from Kochi, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a protected area located at Thattekkad near Kochi, Kerala. Also known as Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, it is one of the best bird sanctuaries in India, and among the major places to visit as part of Kochi tour packages.

Spread across 25 Sq. km at the foothills of Western Ghats, the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary was established in 1983 and is the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. Lies across the Periyar River, this sanctuary owes much of its fame to Dr. Salim Ali, the famous ornithologist. His famous survey of Travancore in the 1930s led to the formation of this modern-day paradise for avian life. This is one of the popular places to visit near Kochi.

The sanctuary is home to about 300 species of birds including Peninsular Bay Owl, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Gray Hornbill, Crested Serpent Eagle, Rose-Billed Roller, etc. It also boasts of over 28 mammal species and over 9 species of reptiles. The place offers one of the best boating options in River Periyar. A brief ride on the river might take you close to cormorants, kingfishers, and many other birds, which feed off fish and other small creatures in the water.

There is a deer park inside the sanctuary. Adjacent to the deer park, the Taxidermic Museum showcases the natives of the region. ...

Distance from Kochi: 62 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 78 km from Kollam, Shendurny Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in the Kollam district of Kerala. Located at the edge of Thenmala Dam's catchment area in the Western Ghats, it is one of the lesser-known wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, and among the major places to visit as part of Kollam holiday packages.

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary comes under the control of Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve. It was established in the year 1984 and comprises 172 sq. km. The name is a corruption of the Chengurinji, a tree endemic to the region (Gluta travancorica). The sanctuary is a valley of green splendour acclaimed for its rich biodiversity lying on either side of the Shendurney river.

The sanctuary is spread across 26 sq. km artificial lake formed by Thenmala Dam. According to recent archaeological findings, this place has witnessed one of the oldest river valley civilizations in India, even older than the Indus valley. Remains of Stone Age culture dating back 5210-4420 BC have been excavated from a large cave near the river. The cave also contains ancient paintings.

Among the top Kollam places to visit, the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is a treasure house of plant diversity. About 1257 species of flowering plants belonging to more than 150 families are reported from this ...

Distance from Kochi: 200 Kms

Wildlife | Adventure / Trekking

At a distance of 20 km from Munnar, Anamudi Peak is a mountain peak situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala near Munnar. It is the highest point in India outside the Himalaya-Karakoram, and among the popular places of trekking in Kerala.

Located at an altitude of 8842 feet, Anamudi Peak is the highest point in South India, and among the must-visit Munnar tourist places. Located inside the Eravikulam National Park, it is a famous trekking destination in Kerala which offers breathtaking views of the Western Ghats. Anamudi, together with the Eravikulam Park, is home to one of the largest surviving populations of Asian elephants, Gaurs, and Nilgiri Tahrs. Anamudi is also famous for Kurunji flowers that blossom once in 12 years.

The 2-3 days trekking programming starts at the foothill of Eravikulam with night halts at tribal hamlets inside the forest. Taking prior permission from Wildlife authorities is mandatory before starting the trek to Anamudi Peak during your Munnar tour. It is advisable to take guided tours from travel agents in Munnar, who will provide food, guide, accommodation, permissions, pick up / drop, and all other facilities.

In order to just view the Anamudi Peak from a distance, visitors can take the guided minibus tour of Eravikulam National Park which will take to the viewpoint that offers ...

Distance from Kochi: 145 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 12 km from Nagarhole National Park, 12 km from Irupu Falls, and 39 km from Kalpetta, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, is a sanctuary and Elephant Reserve in the Wayanad district of Kerala. It is one of the must include places in India wildlife tours and among the best Wayanad tourist places.

Established in 1973, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was brought under the Project Elephant in the year 1991-92. The sanctuary is bordered with Nagarhole WLS & Bandipur WLS in Karnataka and Mudumalai WLS in Tamilnadu. Occupying an area of 345 sq. km, Wayanad WLS is the second largest WLS in Kerala and is now an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The sanctuary was set up with an objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region with due consideration to the general life style of tribes and others whose lives are dependent on the forest. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster, including all of the sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

Among the best sanctuaries near Kozhikode, the sanctuary is divided into two separate parts, known as Upper Wayanad WLS ...

Distance from Kochi: 283 Kms

Wildlife | Lake & Backwater

At a distance of 15 km from Kushalnagar, and 29 km from Madikeri, Dubare Elephant Camp is an elephant training center situated on the banks of the river Cauvery in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. It is one of the most famous places to visit in Coorg, and also one of the top attractions you must include in Coorg packages.

Dubare is a natural island formed by Cauvery River. It is an important base for the Karnataka Forest Department's elephants and among the must include places in India wildlife tour packages. Dubare Elephant Camp is a project undertaken by the forest department and jungle lodges & resorts. This camp has plenty of elephants which are trained under naturalists. The elephants used for Mysore Dussehra are trained at this camp. The trainers explain the various aspects of elephant history, ecology, and biology. Visitors can also participate in various activities involving elephants like feeding the elephants with ragi, jaggery, sugarcane, banana, and coconuts. Tourists can also watch elephants being given a scrub-bath in the river and also watch how oil is applied on their forehead, tusks, etc.

There are opportunities for trekking, elephant rides, coracle ride, bird watching, fishing, and river rafting. River rafting at Dubare is one of the top things to do in Coorg. These ...

Distance from Kochi: 360 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 3 km from Srirangapatna, and 16 km from Mysore, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a small sanctuary situated in Srirangapatna, Karnataka. It is one of the must include places in wildlife tours in India and among the must visit Mysore tourist places.

Spread across 67 sq. km, the sanctuary comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River. It was declared in 1940 as a result of many requests from Dr. Salim Ali who surveyed the birds in this area. Since then, the sanctuary has become a paradise for bird watchers. The sanctuary is a breeding ground for many migratory birds from all over the world. It is home to a wide species of birds including cormorants, darters, white ibis, spoon billed storks, open-billed storks, painted storks, white-necked storks, egrets, herons, terns, swallows, kingfishers, sandpiper, etc.

A boat ride takes you to the six islets crowded with many species of birds. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between June & October.

Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM

Entry Fee: Rs. 60 for Indians, Rs. 30 for Indian Children, & Rs. 200 for Foreigners

Boating Charges: Rs. 60 for Adults & Rs. 200 for Foreigners

Parking: Rs. 30 for Four wheeler & Rs. 20 for Two wheeler

Distance from Kochi: 353 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 12 km from Bandipur National Park, 37 km from Ooty, and 92 km from Mysore, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary or Mudumalai National Park is located at the foothills of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in Tamilnadu, and among the must include places in Ooty tour.

Established in 1940, Mudumalai is the first sanctuary in South India and was declared as a National Park in 1990. In April 2007, the Tamil Nadu state government declared Mudumalai to be a tiger reserve. The sanctuary is situated on Karnataka-Kerala border adjacent to Bandipur National Park of Karnataka and Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary of Kerala. At an altitude of 1140 m, the sanctuary is spread over 103.24 sq. km on Ooty - Mysore road and is one of the best Ooty tourist places.

Mudumalai is a part of Niligiri Biosphere Reserve which includes the Bandipur National Park, Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarhole) in Karnataka, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. The sanctuary is divided into 5 ranges - Masinagudi, Theppakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi, and Nellakota. There is a high diversity of animal life in the park with about 50 species of fishes, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 200 species of birds, and 50 ...

Distance from Kochi: 254 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 35 km from Pollachi and 76 km from Coimbatore, 5 km from Parambikulam, Topslip is a protected tiger reserve located in the Annamalai mountain range of the Western Ghats in Tamilnadu. It is one of the must include places in Pollachi Tour Packages.

Situated at an altitude of 240 m, Topslip is the tourist zone and main birding area of the Annamalai Tiger Reserve, which is separated from the Nilgiri Hills by Palghat Gap in the north. It stands majestically with Green Spread Mountains and forest all around. The place got its name during the British era, as lots of its timber slipped down to the plains below. Topslip is blessed with a gentle altitude, a salubrious climate, and a variety of flora and fauna. Its picturesque location and fabulous scenery have made it a popular location for several movie sequences. It is also famous for the elephant camp.

It is the best gateway for a wonderful wildlife experience of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. The unique teak forests, Bamboo forests, rich exotic species of plants, and wild animals are the major attractions of Topslip. It is also a wonderful destination for bird watching as it is home to 250 species of birds. MT Stuart block is another attraction which is located 3 km from Topslip. It has an ancient forest bungalow along with the grave of Hugo Wood, a British officer with an environmental conscience who emphasized that ...

Distance from Kochi: 188 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 5 km from Topslip, 40 km from Pollachi, 80 km from Palakkad, and 82 km from Coimbatore, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected tiger reserve located in Palakkad district of Kerala. Situated on Tamil Nadu - Kerala Border, it is one of the popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, and among the top places to visit near Pollachi.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, formerly known as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 391 Sq. km protected area in Chittur taluk of Palakkad district of Kerala. The wildlife sanctuary, which had an area of 285 sq. km was established in 1973. It is in the Sungam range of hills between the Anaimalai Hills and Nelliampathy Hills. The sanctuary was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2010. Including the buffer zone, the tiger reserve has a span of 643.66 Sq. km. The Western Ghats, Anamalai sub-cluster, including all of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the top places of wildlife near Coimbatore, and among the must include places in Pollachi tour.

Parambikulam is one of the biodiversity hot spots in ...

Distance from Kochi: 191 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 23 km from Bangalore City Railway Station, Bannerghatta National Park is a wildlife park spread in reserve forests of Anekal Range in Karnataka. At an altitude of 1245 - 1634 m, this one of the most famous wildlife parks in Karnataka and among the top tourist places in Bangalore. This park is part of a wildlife corridor for elephants which connects the BR Hills and the Sathyamangalam forest. Bannerghatta is one of the popular national parks in India and among the must include place in Bangalore packages.

Bannerghatta National Park was founded in 1971 and declared as a national park in 1974. Spread over an area of 25,000 acre and a portion of the park became a biological reserve called the Bannerghatta Biological Park in 2002. The park consists of the main Nature Reserve, a zoo, a children's park, an aquarium, a crocodile park, a museum, a butterfly park, a snake park and a safari park. The forest consists of deciduous trees and thorny scrubs.

This is a very prominent destination that attracts people from different parts of the country. The park is home to tigers, lions, leopards, bison, deer, bears, birds and butterflies. One of the main attractions of this park is lion and tiger safari or Grand Safari. The one-hour long ...

Distance from Kochi: 471 Kms

Hill Station | Wildlife | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 85 km from Mysore, 40 km from Chamarajanagar and 170 km from Bangalore, the Biligiri Ranga Hills popularly known as the BR Hills is a lofty hill range in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. It is considered to be the wildlife corridor that connects Eastern Ghats to Western Ghats. This is one of the popular tourist places to visit near Mysore and is one of the top attractions you must include in Mysore packages.

BR Hills is famous for BRT Wildlife Sanctuary (Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary). The sanctuary is situated at an altitude of 5091 feet and is spread across an area of 540 km. It was declared a tiger reserve in 2010 by the Karnataka State Government. The highest peak within the sanctuary is the Kattari Betta. The wildlife sanctuary is inhabited by a number of animals including elephants, sloth bears, bison, deer, porcupines and a number of other wild animals. It is said that the sanctuary has more than 250 species of birds like the Paradise Flycatcher, Racquet Trailed Drongo and the Crested Hawk Eagle, etc.

Another attraction of the BR Hills is the 500 years old famous Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple which is situated on the highest peak of the hill range, on the white cliff (biligiri) which gives the hill its name. The local form of the deity is called Ranganath, another form of Lord Vishnu and is depicted in a unique standing position. ...

Distance from Kochi: 353 Kms

Wildlife

At a distance of 71 Kms from Mysore, 85 Kms from Bangalore City Junction, Kokkare Bellur Bird Sanctuary is located in Mandya District of Karnataka and is about 20 km from Mandya. The name of the village is derived from Kokkare meaning stork and Bellur meaning village of jaggery. This is one of the popular tourist places near Bangalore & Mysore.

The Mandya district is famous for sugarcane fields and this village is famous for having large colonies of Painted Storks and Spot-billed Pelicans nesting in trees within the village. It is home to cranes, painted storks and pelicans.

The best season to visit the migratory birds is October to March.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Distance from Kochi: 404 Kms

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