Eravikulam National Park - Rajmalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Eravikulam National Park is one among the two national parks in Kerala. The eminent sanctuary is located near Munnar. It is easily accessible by road; just 4km from the Munnar- Udumalapet road. It is 135 km from Kochi and is situated at the crest of Anamalai range. It was originally established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1975, and considering its ecological, faunal, floral, geo-morphological and zoological significance, it was declared as a National Park in 1978. It covers an area of 97 sq.kms of rolling grasslands and high level shoalas. The park is breath-takingly beautiful and is comparable to the best of mountain ranges in the Alps
It has the largest population of one of the most endagerd species, “Nilgiri Tahr” existing in the world now. Other major fauna include sambar, tiger, pantha, nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, wolf, pigeon, blackbird and jungle crow etc.A rich and varied type of flora can also be seen here. The rare species popularly known as “Neelakurinji” grows here. This amazing flower flourishes only one time in every fourteen years. The major flora includes Actinodaphne bourdilloni, Microtropis ramiflora, pittosporum tetraspermium, Sysygium arnottianum, Chrysopogon zelanieus, Eupatorium adenophorum, Strobilanthes, Kunthi anus (Neelakurinji), Eulalia phaeothrix, Tripogen bromodes, Arundninella fuscata and Cyanotis species.
The key fauna includes Tiger, panther and wild dogs are usually sighted in both the open grass land sholas forests. Civet cat and jungle cat also live in the sholas. Sloth bear, Nilgiri langur and wild boar are generally found in sholas and their fringes. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world, is seen in this park. The population of the world famous Nilgiri Tahr is 1317 according to the 1991 census. There were only 885 in 1989.
Eravikulam National Park is under the control of Idukki Forest Division with headquarters at Painavu (Vellappara) and under the direct charge of the Assistant Wildlife warden with headquarters at Rajamala.Tourists can visit the Rajmala part of the park with entry passes. The park is nearly 15 kms north of Munnar, which can be reached from Kochi (135 kms) and Kottayam (148 kms). The nearest airport is Kochi and the nearest railway station is Aluva, which is 115 kms from Munnar.