Ecotourism is more than a catch phrase for nature loving travel and tourism. There are numerous Ecotourism destinations in Kerala that attract visitors for its tranquility, stunning landscapes, natural beauty and amazing view of the hills and forests.
It is tourism of fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas. Kerala, one of the most popular travel destinations in India is named as one of the ten paradises of the world. Step in to nature’s lap by visiting these top 15 Ecotourism destinations in Kerala:
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park located at 7000 feet above sea level is blessed with biodiversity of high elevation shola-grassland ecosystem. Spread over 97 sq km in the Kannan Devan hills, the National Park is a sanctuary for the endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr. Eco tourism is its appeal. The natural beauty of the Western Ghats, adventures in the environs are accessible to visitors with least damage to the environment and the inhabitant.
Anamudi, the highest peak south of Himalayas, stands majestically at height of 2695 m in the core area of the national park. The area abounds in many kinds of rare flora which include rare orchids and beautiful wild balsams. Species inhabiting the sanctuary are Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, leopard, tiger, Indian bison, etc. Trekking and other activities are allowed in the designated tourism zone. Accessible by vehicles, the views are breathtaking. Numerous trekking trails in the sanctuary make for pleasant adventures.
Thenmala known as “honey hills” is one of the most famous ecotourism destinations in Kerala and India’s first planned site. Thenmala lies at an altitude of 1650 feet extending over acres of dense forests. The lands are blessed with abundance of medicinal honey. Thenamala Eco Tourism Promotional Society offers exciting opportunities for fun, adventure, leisure and learning the significance and necessity of eco-friendly measures.
There are there designated zones according to the interest of visitors. At the Culture Zone, the highlight is the Musical Dancing Fountain. Visitors can relish the traditional Kerala dishes at the restaurant or enjoy a bit of shopping for memento sake. Get a peep on Kerala’s art and culture at the amphitheater. Check out the Tourism Facilitation Center in the Culture Zone to provide information on a wide range of tourism products available at Thenmala. Step into the Leisure Zone for breathtaking sights that soothe your body, mind and soul.
Neyyar is one of Kerala’s popular ecotourism site owing to its picturesque location. The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest national parks of the state. The sanctuary of wilderness has unique species of flora and fauna. It is the habitat of over a hundred of fauna including species of fauna including Asian Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, and other unique variants. The Neyyar Dam is a part of the wildlife sanctuary. It is a popular picnic spot. The lake formed by the dam across the Neyyar River is shaded in the bluest of blue.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Ecological significance of Peppara wildlife sanctuary got it listed in the eco-tourism sites in Kerala. Peppara is blessed with mixed forests of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist mixed deciduous spread over an area of 53 acres. The Peppara dam across the Karmana River is a pleasant picnic spot. Thick forests, rocky terrain with rich fauna and sparkling streams highlight the landscape. There are almost 13 tribal settlements in the sanctuary. These communities enjoy a peaceful existence in natural surroundings as they are quite protected by the sanctuary authorities. The wild species inhabiting the area are abundant in numbers making safari and other adventures thrilling.
Peppara is home to 43 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians and 27 species of fishes. It is especially attractive for birdwatchers and butterfly lovers. Birds and butterflies are easy to spot in some season. Watchtowers and guides help you spot the rare beauties.
Periyar is what nature’s bounty looks like. The great scenic charm of the mountainous beauty has blessed biodiversity. The notable Elephant Reserve and Tiger Reserve, Periyar National Park is located in the heights of Cardamom hills and Pandalam hills bordering with Tamil Nadu. The environs of Periyar are made scenic with man-made created lake built by stopping the flow of the Periyar River few centuries back.
Periyar is noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. The lake serves as a watering hole and is a unique aquatic ecosystem in itself. A cruise along it is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the reserve. Exciting trekking trails and other adventure activities wait at the enchanting nature blessed sanctuary for wildlife. Tribal trackers and armed guides takes you through scenic trails where you can come up-close with the animals inhabiting the sanctuary.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over acres of undulating forested highlands on the slopes of the Western Ghats. The highest peak here Katti Betta rises to a majestic 1145 m above sea level. Covered with tropical and semi evergreen forests, the Aralam is home to vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to Kerala’s hilly regions.
Aralam is home to a variety of birds and animals unique to the landscape of Kerala, Elephants, sambar, bison, leopard, boar, deer, jungle cats and different species of squirrels are the most popular inhabitants. An overnight stay in the forest watchtower is an ideal experience of the sanctuary.
Konni, is a forested village and ecotourism destination in Kerala. It is famous for its elephant cages, lush green forests and natural rubber plantations. The lush verdant lands are a haven of wild elephants. Here there is an Elephant museum, sanctuary and a very loving home for the gentle beasts. Nestled on the bank of the mighty Achencoil River has a long and rich history of man-forest interface.
Konni village lies on the banks of Achankoil River. The forests around Konni is one of the first reserve forests in Kerala. There is an abundance of rivers and streams in the area and diverse flora. Some rare medicinal herbs which are fast disappearing from the face of the earth are still found here. Aboriginals lived here once; their simple lives had never upset Man-Nature equilibrium. Konni is mainly associated with “Aanakoodu” a camp for elephants where they are trained.
Exemplary scenic beauty is the only thing that actually describes Gavi. A two hour jeep ride from Kumily, the journey passes through tea and cardamom plantation, forests, waterfalls, etc which you can make stops at or pass them. Gavi is rich in flora and fauna. There are hills and valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands, sholas, cascading waterfalls and cardamom plantations. Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. With more than 260 species of birds including the great pied hornbill, woodpecker, and kingfishers, Gavi is a heaven for birdwatchers.
Nelliyampathy hills are exclusively famous for their exquisite fauna and green dense forests. The cloud-caressed peaks of the majestic Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. The height of the hills ranges from 467 m to 1572 m. The Pothundy Dam here is a picturesque locale with facilities for boating and is a nice option as a picnic place. The journey to Nelliyampathy hills are breathtaking as there are viewpoints from where the vast stretches of extensive paddy fields forming a verdant carpet are visible.
On your journey enjoy splendid views of the Palakkad Gap. The breathtaking geographical phenomenon in the Western Ghats formation in this region brings into sight parts of the adjoining State of Tamil Nadu. En-route those interested in bio farming can take a close look at the farms and vast expanses of tea estates. The hills of Nelliyampathy are also well known for its orange cultivation.