Silent Valley National Park: The Forest in the Valley

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Photo of Silent Valley National Park: The Forest in the Valley by Shashank

In 1857, a British botanist named Robert Wight decided to explore the Nilgiri Hills within the Palakkad district of modern day Kerala. He didn’t know it then but chance had brought Wight to the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve. He had discovered one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats mountain rain forests, which was named Indira Gandhi National Park. However, the locals don’t use that name; they call it the Silent Valley National Park.

Why travel to Silent Valley National Park

Credit: നിരക്ഷരൻ

Photo of Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India by Shashank

With a biodiversity index higher than the Amazon Rainforest, the Silent Valley National Park is home to numerous endangered species, including certain living fossils. Since this tropical evergreen park is completely enclosed within a ring of hills, it has its own micro-climate and receives rainfall throughout the year. The Silent Valley National Park is spread over 237-kilometre-square, one-third of which is the core forest area, while the rest is called the buffer zone.

Tourists are taken 22 kilometres into the buffer zone and only 1 kilometre inside the core forest. No private vehicles are allowed inside the park now; you have to choose between a government bus or jeep. These buses and jeeps do not move without a travel guide. The park opens at 8 am and closes at 1 pm in the afternoon, but a complete trip normally lasts a little under 7 hours. Tourists are allowed to trek down to the Kunthi river which runs through the entire length of the park. They get a bird’s-eye view from the watch tower at the end of the route.

Credit: Jaseem Hamza

Photo of Silent Valley National Park: The Forest in the Valley by Shashank

Silent Valley National Park is also the source of River Bhavani, the only east flowing river of Kerala. Tourists like to take a bath in the river when they’re in the park. One can also take a bus to Anakatty village, which lies at the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Separated by a bridge with a temple, Anakatty offers a stark contrast between the cultures of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Getting to Silent Valley National Park

Credit: CJ Samson

Photo of Silent Valley National Park: The Forest in the Valley by Shashank

By air: New Delhi to Kozhikode - INR 4300 onwards; Silent Valley National Park is 100 kilometres away from Kozhikode

By train: New Delhi to Coimbatore - INR 2300 onwards, Third AC; Silent Valley National Park is 100 kilometres away from Coimbatore

Accommodations

Le Meridien, Coimbatore

Gingerhill Nest

Hotel Hill View Tower

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