Mathikettan Shola National Park

Wildlife

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Munnar): 35 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): Full Day

Place Location: At Poopara Village

Transportation Options: + Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: The Wildlife Warden, Munnar PO, Idukki Kerala, Phone: + 91 4865 231587, Mob: +91 9447979093

E-mail: [email protected]

At a distance of 34 km from Munnar, Mathikettan Shola National Park is a national park at Poopara village of Udumbanchola taluk in Kerala. It is one of the protected reserves in Kerala and among the best places to visit in Munnar.

The Mathikettan tract was notified as a Reserve Forest by the Travancore Government in 1897. Some parts of the land, before becoming a national park, had been leased out for the production of Cardamom. It was declared as a national park in 2003 to protect the wildlife and rich biodiversity of the area. The Shola forest in the area is bestowed with geological fauna and flora and geomorphological wealth. Still, certain parts of the forest are used to cultivate cardamom.

The name Mathikettan has been derived from a Tamil word which refers to 'mind confuser'. It has been so named as the paths inside the forest is quite confusing and one who enters the park can easily get lost, according to the local folks. Three streams namely Uchillkuthi Puzha, Mathikettan Puzha, and Njandar being the tributaries of Panniyar, originate from the hill ranges of Mathikettan. The park houses evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, shola grasslands, and semi-evergreens.

Covered an area of 12.82 sq. km, the park is a biodiversity hotspot and plays a vital role in safeguarding wildlife in the region and also being a very important elephant corridor in South India. Elephants visit Mathikettan shola from the Munnar Division become trapped between the Bodinayakkanur and Kottamalai areas. This is due to private establishments on the northern side of Mathikettan, as well as degraded forests and human settlements on the southern side in areas of Chinnamanur Forest beat in the Gudalur range. The park is home to rare animals like Tigers, Panthers, Elephants, Giant grizzled squirrel, Flying squirrels, Spotted deer and Nilgiri tahr. The park abounds in snakes such as cobras, pythons, vipers and rat snakes, turtles, crocodiles, and lizards.

The forest department organizes trekking trips for visitors up to 9 km into the dense forest. Mathikettan Shola can be approached from Poopara via Munnar, on the Munnar - Kumily Highway. One can also reach Poopara on the Idukki route via Kothamangalam. The trek route starts from the Poopara village and attracts large numbers of adventure seekers with its trails that run through the forests providing amazing views of the region. Watching birds and wildlife in their natural habitat is a popular attraction among trekkers in the national park. Officials will accompany the tourists. Facilities for accommodating up to 24 persons overnight are available at Poopara. Make sure you wear the appropriate clothing and footwear to safeguard yourself from bites of any kind.

The park is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit Mathikettan Shola National Park is between the months of April to September.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM

Entry Fee: Rs.40 for Indians & Rs.500 for Foreigners