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Mukurthi national park- Tamil Nadu forest department
The national park of Mukurthi is situated in the north western part of Tamil Nadu. It is close to Nlgiri Plateau along the mountain ranges of Western Ghats in South India. The main reason of the park’s existence is to protect many endangered species like Asian elephants and the royal Bengal tiger including the Nilgiri tahr. The park was earlier called as Nilgiri Tahr national park. Situated in a high altitude featured by montane shrub lands it faces very cold temperature with high winds. The park stands between the Silent valley national park and Mudumalai national park. Since the year 2012, Mukurthi National Park is declared as World heritage site by UNESCO.
Description of the forest’s Flora and Fauna
Numerous plants are spread across the park such as Rhododendrons, sholas lined with shrubs. Orchids are available at the high edge of the western side of the park. Most of the park’s habitats have been disturbed by accessing motor vehicle through entry points. If such commercial use of the forest is decreased then the number of tahrs would increase. Besides the threatened mammals, there are barking deer, jungle cat, wild dog, shrew, otter, leopard, bonnet macaque. Although nilgiri tahr is threatened, the park has been able to bring their numbers to 200. Birds like laughing thrush, wood pigeon, Nilgiri pipit and Nilgiri flycatchers found in the park are facing extinction. Some birds like black winged kite and black eagle could be spotted among the grasslands. Reptiles such as rat snake, bronze headed vine snake and shield-tails are quite common in the forest. Butterflies like Indian fritillary and rainbow trouts resemble the Himalayan butterflies. Amphibians are also there that made the food chain complete.
Trekking and camping in Mukurthi national park
Trekking programs are organised within the forest area of Mukurti to make public aware of conservation. Trekking routes cover places like Mukurthi peak (the highest peak in the forest region), Mudimund, Anaikatti, western catchment, sipara, silent valley and Moyar. The distance of routes covered by trekking stays between 8 km to 60 km. A group of 20 trekkers at a time is organised by the department. All facilities required to complete the trekking journey is provided such as tents, guides, cooks followed by eating arrangements. The trekkers only need to bring sleeping bags and rucksacks with them. It is something for the adventures people who can survive in camping and follow the instruction said by the guide. Permission to enter the forest is given only to those people who show special interests. Downhill treks are done with duration of three to five days. You may visit the Mukurthi dam which has been built at the foothills of the hills upon the Mukurthi River.
Important points to know
- Basically public tourism is not meant for this national park. The forest management department has chosen to keep the forest free from any rushes of tourists.
- Conservation program and natural awareness programs are conducted to allow a controlled visit to the forest. However tourists those who visit there for educational purpose, camping and trekking is allowed inside with special permission. Tour for commercial or casual purpose is not allowed.
- Rest houses are there inside the forest region named Avalanche, Bnagitapal, but these are unfurnished. The instructor of the trekking group arranges all thins need to stay. Trekking options are there based on number of days they have come there.
- The wild animals are a part of our ecosystem that should be conserved to prevent imbalance of the nature. In Mukurthi National Park every step is taken to stop poaching, hunting and deforestation. We should pray for survival of upcoming generation of the threatened animals and help in such activities.
Reaching Mukurthi national park and best time to visit
The nearest railway station is Udhagamandalam( Ooty) located at a distance of 45 km and the nearest airport is Coimbatore which is 140 km away from the spot. The best time when you can visit there is the months of February to May as well as September, October and November. The park remains opened from 9 o’ clock in the morning to 5:30 in the evening on all days of the week except Tuesday.