Silent Valley National Park is located in the Nilgiri Hills, Palakkad district, Kerala, in South India. The area under this national park was historically explored in 1847 by the botanist Robert Wight, and is associated with Hindu legend. Area is 89 sq km. It is no wonder then that scientists have described Silent Valley as ‘the richest expression of life on Earth’.
Silent valley national park is also known as Sairandhri vanam. According to hindu legend, Sairandhri is Draupadi, the polyandrous wife of the five Pandavas, who disguised herself as Sairandhri, queen Sudeshna’s assistant, while they were in exile. The Pandavas, deprived of their kingdom, set out on a 13-year exile. They wandered south, into what is now Kerala, until one day they came upon a magical valley where rolling grasslands met wooded ravines, a deep green river bubbled its course through impenetrable forest, where at dawn and twilight the tiger and elephant would drink together at the water’s edge, where all was harmonious and man unknown. Beside that river, in a cave on a hill slope, the Pandavas halted.The Silent Valley is considered to be the last pristine region of tropical evergreen
forest in India and is an area rich in biodiversity. The lush tropical greenery, undulating slopes, hills and rivers make the Silent Valley National Park a beautiful wildlife tourism destination in Kerala, India.
The Silent Valley National Park is adjacent to the Attappadi Reserve Forests to the East, the Palghat and Nilambur forest divisions in the West and South and the Nilgiri Forests in the North. This biodiversity hot spot is a unique treasure trove of rare flora and fauna. The Silent Valley National Park was threatened by the construction of a Hydel Power Project during the 1970’s. Protests by environmentalists led to the renotification of Silent Valley as a National Park in 1984. The Nilgiri
Biosphere Reserve with the Silent Valley National Park as its core area, was created in 1986.
The park is also known for the rare and unique herbs and plants that grow here, as well as the wildlife found in the Silent Valley, which include elephants, tigers and lion-tailed macaques.Silent Valley is home to the largest population of Lion-tailed Macaque.
Wildlife in Silent Valley Sanctuary
Silent Valley National Park is called Sairandhrivanam (the forest in the valley). There are four distinct types of vegetation in this biodiversity intensive area. The rain forest has moist tropical evergreen trees with teak, rosewood, amla, bamboo and semal. Apart from this there are tropical hill forests, temperate forests and grasslands. The wildlife in Silent Valley National Park includes elephants, tigers, leopards, wild boar, sambhar, gaur and the endangered lion-tailed macaque. There are also a number of snake, lizard and amphibian species in the Silent Valley National Park.
As the park and adjoining areas are declared polythene free zones, polythene going in must find its way out. Animals, which are unfamiliar with polythene and plastic may choke on them and die. The forest abounds in leeches. These 1-inch long, dark-brown thread like creatures latch on to any open area of your skin and bloat on your blood. If possible, wear high ankle leech proof jungle boots. The experienced forest guards however, roll up their trousers till their knees to easily spot leeches clinging on to their skin. Procure all required permit slips from the forest department office at Mukkali, before entry into the park. Mukkali, 23 Km from Silent Valley, is the starting point. A forest guard accompanies each group as a guide and also ensures that no damage is done to the fragile flora and fauna. It is also safer to stick to your group. Silence pays, as chances of sighting animals are heightened. Do not be disappointed if you don’t see animals, as they are shy of humans. Be patient, observe keenly and you will find the forest teeming with various life forms.
Only serious trekkers find their way to Silent Valley, as trekking in this undulating terrain with thick vegetation is no cakewalk. Trek to Poochipara (Cat’s rock, 7-Km steep climb from Sairandhiri) takes 3 hours. Trekker’s are allowed to stay in the five camps of the forest department set deep inside. Trek routes can be chosen based on the duration of stay (1-4 days). A 4-day trek route starts from Mukkali and goes through.Sairandhiri-Poochipara-Walakkad-Sispara and Anginda. Trekkers must procure all requisite permits from the forest department office at Mukkali or from the Wildlife Warden at Mannarkkad. For treks starting from Mukkali, all permits and payments are made at the forest department office, Mukkali. A guide-cum-cook accompanies trekkers through the trek route for the entire duratio.
Nearest town: Mannarkkad-66 Km
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore (68 Km)
Nearest Railhead: Coimbatore (68 Km), Palakkad(106 Km)
Best time to visit: September to March