Valley National Park
40 Kms from Mannarkkad, Kerala
Declared A National Park In
Best Time to Visit
September to March
Located in the Kundali Hills of the Western Ghats, the Silent Valley National Park holds a valuable reserve of rare plants and herbs. The park is rich in its wildlife, and elephants, lion-tailed macaques and tigers are the most common denizens of this park. Though smaller in size in comparison to the other national parks in India, what makes it different is the sylvan environment the region has, along with its high altitude peaks and several rivers that run through it. The park is surrounded with Attappadi Reserve Forests in the east, and vested forests of the Palghat and Nilambur divisions in the west and south. In the North, the park is an extension of the Nilgiri Forests. A visit to this park should be considered a memorable experience, as this is the last representative virgin tract of tropical evergreen forests in India.
The Wild Population - Silent Valley National Park
The park has a huge variety of wildlife, with over a 100 species of Butterflies and 400 species of Moths andother animals like the Ceylon Frog Moth, Great Indian Hornbill, the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush and the Lion-Tailed Macaque.
The Silent Valley National Park has around 26 species of mammals and 120 species of avifauna, many of them considered endangered. Apart from these, there are 11 species of snakes, 19 species of amphibians, and nine species of Lizards in the park.
The Silent Valley has over 110 plant species of medicinal value, and seven new plant species have been discovered here.
Sairandhri Vanam, meaning the forest in the valley, as referred to in the Mahabharatha and the River Kunthi give a mythological dimension to the National Park. The Silent Valley is seldom silent but it has an inexplicably unique character about it, what with the dense forest, the music of the birds and its quitet majesty. With an area of close to 90 sq.kms, the park is situated in the north-eastern corner of the Palakkad district. It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south. The river Kunthi descends from the Niligiri hills above an altitude of 2000 m and traverses the entire length of the valley finally rushing down to the plains through a deep gorge. River Kunthi never turns brown; it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.
The forests belong to the biogeographical class of the Malabar rain forests and harbour about 1000 species of plants. The flowering plants here include 966 species to 134 families and 599 genera. The dicotyledons are 701 in number, distributed among 113 families and 430 genera; monocotyledons are 265 distributed among 21 families and 139 genera. The 5 dominant families recorded from Silent Valley are;
Orchidaceae with 108 species belonging to 49 genera, Febaceae with 545 species representing 26 genera,
Rubiaceae with 49 species representing 27 genera and
Asteraceae with 45 species representing 25 genera. Many of these are rare and endangered and some are now lost elesewhere The following are some of the new specieis and genera recorded recently from Silent Valley - Hedyotis silentvalleyensis, Kanjaram palghatensis, Porpax chandrasekharanhii, Silentavelleya nairii, Nydnocarpus pendulus etc.
Species of orchids recorded are :
1. Oberonia bisaccata, Liparis indiraii, Eriatiagii, Ipsea malabarica, a ground orchid rediscovered after a lapse of more than a century and
2. Scutellaria oblonga and Anodendron rhinosporum, two Sri Lankan plants have also been recorded.
The valley has a fair representation of all peninsular mammals. They are lion - tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque, tiger, leopard (Panther), leopard cat, fishing act, common palm civet,small Indian civer, brown plam civet, ruddy mongoose, stripenencked mongoose, wild dog, sloth bear, otter, flying squirrel, Malabar gaint squirrel, Indian pangolin (scaly anteater), Porcupine, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, gaur and elephant.
Birds include rare such as Indian black-crested baza, bonellis' hawk eagle, rufous
bellied hawk eagle,
shaheen falcon, short-eared owl, penisular scops owl, Ceylon frog mouth, great Indian hornbill, Niligiri laughing thrush, house martin, rufous bellied shortwing, Malay bittern etc. About 170 species have been recorded of which 31 are migrants.The fauna include a number of possible new species, a few very primitive animal groups, notably Ceacilians (limbless amphibians) and some rare small mammals such as the Peshwa's bat and heary-winged bat.Butterflis and moths are varied and plenty. There are more than 100 species of butterflies and 400 species of moths. Quite a few of them are extremely rare and endemic.
The Silent Valley is a veritable treasure house-a gene pool of tropical flora and fauna. This has to be protected from human depredation and cherished for all times to come.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air : Nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 55 kms.
Rail : The nearest railway station is Palakkad, 75 kms.