Mukurthi National Park
Mukuruthi National Park is about 45km from Ooty, there are four access points to the park. From the north, it can be reached from Anumapuram near Pykara (24km from Ooty on NH-67). The route via Parsons Valley and Hodgson's Camp heads to Western Catchment II and III. A 25km drive from Red Hills/Avalanchi (30km from Ooty) leads to Uppper Bhavani Dam, towards the south of the sanctuary boardering Silent Valley National Park. This point can also be reached from Ooty (60km) via Manjoor. Southeast corner of Nilgiris Plateau, Nilgiris District.
A part of Nilgiri Biosphere reserve, this park is located on the high altitudes of the Nilgiris. It comprises of a succession of smooth, undulating rolling grass hills, interspersed with dark evergreen shoals in the folds ad the valleys and the Kundah range, which forms the backdrop providing the rugged touch. The scenic grandeur of this region is just remarkable having few equals. Specially created in 1982 it provides a natural habitat to the Nilgiri Tahr (hamitragus-hilocrius) referred to as Ibex, and has a sizeable population in this forest. Other herbivores include sambar, barking deer, and black naped hare. There are also predators like a rare Nilgiri marten, wild dog, Jungle cat, jacle, and mongoose. Small mammals like Nilgiri langur, Malabar squirrel, flying squirrel, and porcupine are also present. Avi fauna consists of mainly hill birds like laughing and whistling thrushes, woodcock, wild pigeon, and black eagle. Butterflies with Himalayan affinity like the blue admiral, Indian red admiral, Indian cabbage, hedge blue, and rainbow trout can also be seen.
The park is approachable from Ooty on the Ooty-Gudalur-Mysore Road or via Avalanche and Upper Bhavani. The entry is restricted and permits to visit the sanctuary, camping and trekking obtainable from the wildlife Range office located at Avalanche or the Wildlife Warden, Udhagai Phone: 0423-2444083.
India's equivalent to the Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains, Mukkurthi National Park (2,556m/8,386ft) in the Nilgiris forms one the safest havens for the Nilgiri tahr in the world. Spread across 78.46sq km, the cool and misty reaches of the National Park have an average elevation fo over 2,400m/8,000ft, Much of the region's pristine nature is retained due to the daunting territory and limitations of road access; thus making it deal trekking terrain.
The high altitude ensures winter nights (December to February) are freezing and the monsoon (April to August) bring in 2,500mm of rainfall, accompanied by strong gusty winds. Unlike anywhere else in the subcontinent, the vegetation in Mukkurthi is akin to Himalayan flora with rhododendrons, berries and orchids exhibiting a high degree of endemism. The fauna includes animals of the plains and mountains like Nilgiri tahrs, sambars, barking deer, elephants, black-naped hares, jungle cats, civet, dholes (wild dogs), jackals, stripe-necked mongoose, nilgiri martens, otters and giant squirrels. Birdwatchers have a field day with several hill species, raptors like kestrels, black eagles, black winged kites and endemics besides grey jungle fowls, flycatchers and thrushes. Many reptile species and butterflies are abundant here. To preserve the rich biodiversity, the forest department does not encourage casual tourism. However, camps for special-interest groups like trekkers and students, are allowed. Prior permission has to be obtained from the Forest Department to enter the park and for stay at Forest Rest Houses in Bangi Tapal, Upper Bhavani (EB), Mukkurthi Fishing Hut, Parson's Valley or to camp at the basic trekking sheds.
Wilderness area in Tamil Nadu 80 sq km Location along the western edge of Nilgiri nearest town Ooty 40km, Coimbatore 116km Annual Rainfall 2500mm, sudden bursts of rain are common Best Season February-May, September-November Information Phone: 0423-2444098
Guided Tours: apply for trekking permits in advance from Range Officer, Office of Wildlife Warden, Mount Stuart Hill, Ooty 643001 Phone: 0423-2444098,24445971.
Mukurthi National Park Timings
Morning: 9.30am to Evening: 5.30pm