Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
#11 of 12 Places to Visit in Kannur
Distance (From Kannur): 58 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 4 Hours/Half Day
Place Location: Near Valayamchal Village
Transportation Options: Bus / Cab
Travel Tips: Smoking, liquor and polythene bags are not allowed within the sanctuary.
At a distance of 18 km from Iritty and 58 km from Kannur, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Valayamchal village in Kannur district of Kerala. This is the northernmost wildlife sanctuary of Kerala and among the prime places to visit near Kannur as part of wildlife tour in India.
Established in 1984, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northwest slopes of Western Ghats contiguous with the forests of Coorg district of Karnataka. It was formed by carving out areas from the Odanthode Malavaram of Thalassery special division and from the Kottiyoor Reserve Forest of Wayanad Forest Division. The sanctuary covers 55 sq. km of tropical and semi evergreen forests. The headquarters of the sanctuary is near Iritty.
The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is among the finest of its kind in Kerala. The tropical forests of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary support diverse plant and animal life. About 23 species of mammals spotted here include Sloth Bear, Mouse Deer, Elephant, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar and Gaur. Leopards, Tigers and other Wild Cats are also present though they are hard to be sighted on a typical sanctuary visit. Besides, the sanctuary is also home to 22 species of reptiles, 188 types of birds, 39 species of fish and 144 species of butterflies.
The entrance gate of the sanctuary is located at Valayamchal which can be reached by vehicles. The sanctuary can be explored through a guided trek as well through a safari on SUV, which is the only vehicle allowed inside the jungle. Taking a safari through these thick woods and encounter many extraordinary species of animals as well as birds will leave you spellbound. One can take a ride or trek to the highest peak of the area, Katti Beta, standing majestic at almost 1145 m above sea level. One can get the magnificent view of dense expansive forest from the top. Guide service is available and can be arranged at Valayamchal.
The Forest Department also offers trekking and camping opportunities in the Buffer Zone for adventure lovers. The 14 km long trek to Meenmutti Falls forms the most exciting part of the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary visit. The 4 hours long trek offers the exotic beauty of the rain forests with the presence of a variety of endemic species of birds and butterflies along with the pure air and water. One can also go for 3- 4 day Ambalapara (1500 m) trek. Organized by the local agencies, these treks are difficult and dangerous, but since experts accompany the group, risks are minimal. Treks are only allowed in the buffer zone and never should be done alone.
Organised and run by local students and NGOs, nature camps are conducted at the Aralam Sanctuary mainly for students. Usually 2 or 3 day camps are conducted here with an average of 40 participants. Nature camps for non-student groups have to be authorized by Chief Conservator of Forests. Camping in the outskirts of the jungle enables first-hand experience of nature in the dark as well. These camps are organized throughout the year and one need to be booked in advance by contacting Wildlife Warden's office at Iritty.
October to June is the best time to visit the sanctuary as the weather is mild and pleasant during these months. The monsoon sets in from June, making it hard to travel here in the rain. Another interesting fact is that the months of November and December are the best to watch a huge variety of butterflies.
Timings: 8 AM - 4 PM (Last entry 2 PM)
Entry: Rs. 15 for Indians, Rs. 150 for Foreigners, Rs. 25 for Camera, Rs. 75 for Car & Rs. 300 for Guide
Wildlife Warden's office at Iritty: Ph: 91- 490-2493160 & Mobile: 9447979101