Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected area located in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India. The sanctuary was established in 1976 and covers an area of about 958 square kilometers.
The sanctuary is named after former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, who was a strong advocate of conservation and wildlife protection. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many endangered species such as the Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, gaur, lion-tailed macaque, and Nilgiri tahr.
The terrain of the sanctuary varies from the tropical evergreen forests in the low-lying areas to the shola forests and grasslands at higher altitudes. The park is also famous for its many waterfalls, including the Aliyar, Monkey, and Nirar dams.
Visitors to the sanctuary can enjoy various activities such as wildlife safaris, bird watching, trekking, and nature walks. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and the chances of wildlife sightings are higher.
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is an important biodiversity hotspot and a critical habitat for many threatened species. It is also an important source of water for the surrounding areas and plays a significant role in the ecological balance of the region.
Facilities inside the park
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary offers a variety of facilities for visitors. Some of the key facilities are:
- Accommodation: The sanctuary has a number of forest rest houses and cottages for visitors to stay in. These accommodations offer basic amenities such as electricity, water, and bedding.
- Safari: Visitors can go on a wildlife safari in the sanctuary. The safari is typically conducted in a jeep or on the back of an elephant, and provides an opportunity to see the sanctuary’s wildlife up close.
- Trekking: The sanctuary has several trekking routes, ranging from easy to difficult. These treks offer an opportunity to explore the sanctuary’s diverse terrain and flora and fauna.
- Nature walks: Visitors can also go on guided nature walks, where trained naturalists explain the various aspects of the sanctuary’s ecology and wildlife.
- Interpretation center: The sanctuary has an interpretation center that provides information about the sanctuary’s ecology, wildlife, and conservation efforts.
- Food and water: Visitors can purchase food and water inside the sanctuary.
It’s worth noting that the facilities inside the park may vary depending on the specific area of the sanctuary that you visit. It’s a good idea to check in advance with the park authorities to get the most up-to-date information on facilities and activities.
The entry fee for the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary varies depending on the nationality of the visitor and the type of vehicle they are using. As of my knowledge cutoff of September 2021, the fees were as follows:
- Indian nationals: Rs. 10 per person
- Foreign nationals: Rs. 100 per person
- Two-wheelers: Rs. 10 per vehicle
- Four-wheelers: Rs. 50 per vehicle
- Mini bus: Rs. 100 per vehicle
- Bus: Rs. 200 per vehicle
Please note that these fees may be subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check with the park authorities to get the most up-to-date information. Additionally, there may be additional fees for activities such as safaris, trekking, and nature walks, so it’s a good idea to inquire about those as well.
How to reach
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Western Ghats in South India and can be reached by road or rail. Here are some of the ways to reach the sanctuary:
- By air: The nearest airport to the sanctuary is Coimbatore International Airport, which is located about 70 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the sanctuary.
- By train: The nearest railway station is Pollachi, which is about 40 kilometers from the sanctuary. From the station, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the sanctuary.
- By road: The sanctuary is well-connected by road, and you can take a taxi or a bus from nearby cities such as Coimbatore, Pollachi, and Palakkad. The sanctuary is located about 20 kilometers from Pollachi and about 60 kilometers from Coimbatore.
Once you reach the sanctuary, you can take a safari, trek, or nature walk to explore the sanctuary’s flora and fauna. It’s a good idea to check with the park authorities for the latest information on routes, timings, and fees for these activities.
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many endangered species. Some of the key wildlife that can be found in the sanctuary are:
- Bengal Tiger: The sanctuary is home to a small population of Bengal tigers, which are among the most iconic and threatened big cats in the world.
- Indian Elephant: The Indian elephant is a keystone species in the sanctuary, and is critical to the ecological balance of the region.
- Gaur: The gaur, also known as the Indian bison, is a large and impressive bovine that is found in the sanctuary.
- Lion-tailed Macaque: The lion-tailed macaque is an endangered primate that is found only in the Western Ghats of India.
- Nilgiri Tahr: The Nilgiri tahr is a mountain goat that is found in the higher altitudes of the sanctuary.
- Sambar Deer: The sambar deer is one of the largest deer species in the world, and can be found in the sanctuary.
- Indian Wild Dog: The Indian wild dog, also known as the dhole, is a highly social and endangered carnivore that is found in the sanctuary.
In addition to these key species, the sanctuary is home to a wide variety of other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The sanctuary’s rich biodiversity and unique ecology make it a critically important habitat for conservation efforts in India.
Where to stay
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary has a few accommodation options for visitors who wish to stay within the sanctuary. Some of the popular options are:
- Topslip Forest Guest House: The Topslip Forest Guest House is located within the sanctuary and offers basic amenities such as electricity, water, and bedding. The guest house has several rooms and cottages, and is a popular choice for visitors.
- Parambikulam Tiger Reserve: The Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is located adjacent to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and offers a range of accommodation options, including treehouses, tents, and cottages. The reserve is managed by the Kerala Forest Department and is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.
- Bamboo Banks Farm and Guest House: The Bamboo Banks Farm and Guest House is located about 20 kilometers from the sanctuary and offers a rustic and comfortable stay in the midst of lush greenery. The guest house has several rooms and cottages, and offers a range of activities such as bird watching, trekking, and fishing.
- Valparai: Valparai is a small town located about 20 kilometers from the sanctuary and offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, resorts, and homestays. The town is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for tourists.
It’s a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist season. Additionally, it’s important to check with the park authorities for the latest information on accommodation options and availability.