Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
At a distance of 12 km from Papanasam, 58 km from Kalakkad, and 60 km from Tirunelveli, Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is located in the Southern Western Ghats in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts of Tamil Nadu. This is the second-largest protected area in Tamil Nadu and among the best places to visit as part of your India wildlife tour.
The Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve was created in the year 1988 by combining Kalakkad Wildlife Sanctuary (251 kmē) and Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary (567 kmē), both established in 1962. This sanctuary covers an area of around 817 sq. km, out of which 459 sq. km falls under the core zone, and the remaining 358 sq. km comes under the buffer zone. Nestled between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Agastya Malai Hill Range forms the core area of the sanctuary and is part of one of the world's 18 biodiversity hotspots. It is also under consideration by UNESCO as a world heritage site. wildlife sanctuaries near Madurai.
The Reserve is home to a wide variety of animals and plants. The fauna includes around 150 endemic plants, 33 fish, 37 amphibians, 81 reptiles, 273 birds, and 77 mammal species. One can spot Elephant, Gaur, Bonnet, Macaque, Common languor, Tigers and Leopards, Chital, Dhole Panther, Sloth Bear, Python, Barking deer, Four-Horned- Antelope, Otter, Crocodiles (mugger), giant flying squirrel, Sambar, Hyena, Wild Dog, Wild Boar, Mouse Deer, Spotted Deer, Jackal, Hare, Porcupine and Mongoose as part of Tirunelveli holiday packages.
The topography of Kalakkad is rugged with numerous perennial hill streams originating from the rainforest areas on the upper slopes and they confluence to form the rivers of Thamirabarani, Manimuthar, and Ramanadhi. There are dams built across the Thamirabarani River and its tributaries which lie inside the Tiger Reserve namely Papanasam dam, Manimuthar dam, and Servalaru dam. Boating Facilities are available at Papanasam dam, but swimming is strictly prohibited as it is populated with crocodiles. Major waterfalls inside the Reserve are Agasthiyar Falls, Banatheertham Falls, and Manimuthar Falls.
There are 24 identified nature trails that are spread over the reserve. It gives a thrilling experience to trekkers. Visitors can also go for a night safari with prior permission from the forest officials. However, the best season is from September to January.
The only accommodation available at Mundanthurai is the Forest Department guest house. For advance booking, one has to contact Chief Conservator of Forests & Field Director, Thirunelveli. Other options are to stay at Tenkashi or Tirunelveli.
Timings: 7 AM - 5 PM
Entry: Rs. 20 for Adults & Rs. 15 for Children
Activity Fee (Max 6-10 persons): Rs. 2000 for Nature Trail, Rs. 500 for Thalayanai, Rs. 250 for Pothigai, Rs. 250 for Agasthiyar Falls, Rs. 250 for Manimuthar Falls, Rs. 250 for Hope Lake