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Visit Mukurthi National Park, home to many endemic plants and animals. Spread over an area of 78.46 sq kms this National Park lies in Western Ghats mountain ranges in South India.The park is filled with Grasslands and shrubs on lower regions and Sholas in the higher region. On one side, the park is bordered by the state of Kerala and on the other side, it is bordered by another national park called Silent Valley.

mukurthi photoPhoto by marcus334

Mukurthi National park is just 34 kms away from the more famous Ooty hill station. This park was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2012 as it in the middle of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

History of Mukurthi Park
Mukurthi National Park was set up as a wildlife sanctuary to protect the endangered in 1982. It was later declared a national park in 1990.

Features Of The Park

a. The topmost spots
Nilgiri Peak, Mukurthi, Sispara, Nadugani, Pichalabetta, Gulkal and Angida are some of the tallest peaks that you will find in this national park. The temperatures in the higher regions can touch zero degrees during the cold season. The winds touch 120 km per hour and the rainfall is also heavy here. All the streams arising from these peaks drain into the Bhavani Puzha.
b. The Trekking routes
Those of you seeking adventure can follow the famous trekking trails in Mukurthi National Park. So pack your trekking gear and start off on these trails………….

mukurthi photoPhoto by sakeeb

  1. Bangitapal to Sispara – length of trail 16kms
  2. Trekking shed to Kangerkudi Ndugani – distance 18kms3. Devanetta to Mukurthi Peak 12kms and to Fishing hut 8kms
  3. Kolarikutta to Bangitapal a distance of 20kms
  4. Kolarikutta to Bangitapal – 20kms
  5. Western Catchment to Bangitapal – 14 km
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What to see in the park

The biodiversity in this park is amazing. You will find some special birds and animals here, which are not found anywhere else in the world.

a. Flora
Rhododendrons are some of the Shola trees found here. Aerides crispa, Oberonia Santapaui, and Eria Abliflora are some of the Orchids in this park. Other plants and plant species include wild yellow raspberries, Cinnamon  Mahonia Leschenaulti, Guthariya Fergidinicma, Satyrium Nepalese and much more. Many Expeditions have been carried out Botany students to study Flora at Mukurthi National Park.But of late other Vehicular traffic and increase in non-resident plants like wattle has aaffected plantlife.

b. Fauna
The Park is home to big animals like Royal Bengal tiger Leopard, Mouse deer, Sambhar deer, Asian elephant and Nilgiri Tahr. It is also home to Nilgiri Marten, Bonhote mouse, black-naped hare, jungle cat, otter, wild dog, soft-furred rat, small Indian Civet, Bonnet macaque and Malabar Spiny dormouse.
There are some endemic frogs like Bufo Microtympanum, Ghatixalus Variabilisand Raorchestes-Tinniens. They are preyed by reptiles like Horseshoe Pit Viper, Checkered Keelback, Rat snake, Perrotet’s shieldtail, Bronze headed vine snake and dwarf gecko. True admiral, Indian cabbage white, Indian red admiral and Indian Fritillary are some butterflies that add color to the Mukurthi National Park.

Weathered fauna includes Kestrel, Grey-headed Flycatcher, Black Eagle, Black Bulbul, Laughing Thrush, Black and Orange flycatcher, Black-winged Kite, Woodcock and wood pigeon.

Best time to visit Mukurthi National Park

Since it gets very cold during the winter season, the best times to visit this park in September to November and February to May.

How to get there
By Air – The nearest domestic airport is Coimbatore at a distance of 140 kilometers
By train – The nearest railway station is Ooty.
By Road – Mukurthi is connected to most of the major cities and towns by Road.

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You might want to know some details in advance
• The entrance timings are 9.90 am to 5.30 pm all through the week. Tuesday is a holiday
• Entrance fee for adults is Rs.15 and for children between 5 to 12 years is Rs.10/-
• Students need only pay Rs.2/- for entrance
• Camera charges are Rs.25/- for still photography and Rs.150/- for a video camera. If you want to film documentaries the charges are Rs.2000/-
• The forest department organizes trekking trips so that visitors can see the conversation programs that they have undertaken by it. A group of cooks and porters usually join the group of 20 on these trips. The group travels to Mukurthi Peak, Silent valley, Sispara and Avalnchi under the guidance of a range officer.
• Bird watchers can work from Watchtowers constructed at strategic points in the Park.

There is more to the park than mentioned by me here. Mukurthi National Park beckons all the nature lovers – adventurous or otherwise. Happy Trekking!

Featured Photo by Balaji Photography – 4,000,000 Views and Growing


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