Sanctuaries in TirunelveliOwing to its unique geographical features and a long stretch of forests, Tirunelveli is a proud home of two renowned sanctuaries, that is, Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Wild Life Sanctuary and Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary. Let’s find out more about the sanctuaries in Tirunelveli district in details.
Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Wild Life SanctuaryThe Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary located in the historic city of Tirunelveli is a modernized Habitat/Species Management Area or National Tiger Reserve. Established during the year 1988, the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Wild Life Sanctuary spreads over a total area of 817 sq. km in the south most western ghat mountain ranges. Out of the total area of 817 sq. kms., 459 sq.kms are in core zone and 358 sq.kms. are in buffer zone. The wildlife sanctuary is the second most prominent protected area in the southern state of Tamil Nadu next only to Erode Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary is a division of the Tamil Nadu and Kerala Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (1,351.50 sq mi). This division of the Agasthyamalai in the core of Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary is looked at as one of the five locations of biodiversity and endemism in the country by the International Union for Conservation of Nature abbreviated as IUCN. The Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, Western Ghats mountain ranges and Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary is duly considered by the World Heritage Committee - UNESCO World Heritage for selection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary is the home of at least 77 mammal species, 150 indigenous plants, 37 amphibians, 81 reptiles, 33 fish and 273 birds. Some of the important wildlife species found in the sanctuary include tiger, jungle cat, giant squirrel, crocodile, leopard, chevrotain, chital, sloth bear, common langur, lion tailed macaque and so on.
Best time to visit: September to January
Open: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (all days of the week)
Accommodations and Facilities: Forest rest house and several other accommodations are available in plenty at Thalayanai and Mundanthurai
Things to do: Trekking options
Nearby Places of Interest:
Papanasam: 8 km
Banatheertham Falls: 7 km
Arulmigu Sorimuthu Iyanar Temple: 4 km
Manimuthar Water Fall: 3.5 km
How to get there:
Nearest Railway Stations:
Tirunelveli Railway Station: 39 km
Trivandrum Central Railway Station: 49 km
Seydunganallur Railway Station: 48 km
Frequent buses are operated from Kalakad and Ambasamudram
Koonthankulam Bird SanctuaryDeclared officially as a bird sanctuary during the year, the Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary is a 0.4993 sq. mi. of an exclusive protected area for migratory birds. The sanctuary borders the small settlement of Koonthankulam located in the Nanguneri Taluk, Tirunelveli district. Located just 38 km away from the city center of Tirunelveli, the bird sanctuary is regarded as one of the largest reserve for migratory water birds in all of South India.
This singular bird sanctuary is actually protected and superintended by the Koonthankulam village people. People of Koothankulam protect the birds that are visiting their backyards and they consider them as forerunners of fortune. The droppings of birds are gathered by the village people and are used as organic fertilizers to their agricultural fields.
Almost 43 species of nonmigratory and migratory waterbirds visit the Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary annually. Besides, more than hundred thousand migratory birds flew in by December.
Some of the popular migratory birds visiting Koothankulam include White stork, Bar headed goose, Greater flamingo, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Common Teal, Coot and so on.
Location: Nanguneri Taluk, Koothankulam, Tirunelveli
Approx. visit duration: 2 to 3 hours
Nearby Places of Interest:
- Igatpuri Waterfalls: 9 km
- Tringalwadi Lake: 4 km
- Tringalwadi Fort: 2.5 km
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