The park is named Indira Gandhi National Park, and Silent Valley is the name of the place, but it is also called Silent Valley National Park. It is a wonderful place to visit for tourists.
- Contact details: The Wildlife Warden, Silent Valley National Park, Mannarkkad, Palakkad dist, Kerala. PIN – 678582. Phone: 04924-222056, 04924253225, +918589895652, email@example.com
Silent Valley is considered one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the planet.
In the 1950s, the Kerala State Electricity Board wanted to build a dam across the Kunti river, which flowed in the deep forest. Nationwide protests in India by environmentalists and mass publicity by the media led the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi to order the state government to abolish the hydroelectric project. The area was declared a national park.
Tropical evergreen forest, the highest peak is 2,383 m above sea level. Huge trees, thick undergrowth. Heavy rains during the monsoons. Shola grasslands higher up.
- Core forest: 89 km²
- Buffer Zone: 148 km²
- Total area: 237 km²
The tourists are taken 22 km into the buffer zone and only 1 km inside the core forest. You can see the board ‘Silent Valley National Park’ at the entrance of the buffer zone. You will see the same board again after 22 km at the entrance of the core forest. The ride back is in the same route.
The park is inhabited by 16 species of birds, 34 species of mammals, 730 species of insects, 128 species of butterflies, and a 1,000 species of flowering plants. The mammals in the park include the threatened lion-tailed macaque, tiger, panther, leopard cat, civet, mongoose, otter, sloth bear, flying squirrel, Indian pangolin, porcupine, wild boar, deer, elephant, giant squirrel, Nilgiri tahr, Peshwa’s bat and the hairy-winged bat.
Humid during the rains (June, July, August), otherwise generally hot and tropical.
The nearest railway station is Palghat Junction. From Palakkad, go to Mannarkkad, and from there to Mukkali. KSRTC buses are available every half an hour. If you are planning to stay at Mukkali, reserve rooms in advance at the Forest department resthouse. Or else you can stay at Mannarkkad or Agali Hills and hire a jeep to reach Mukkali by 8AM. Mukkali is about 60 km from Palakkad, with Mannarkkad en route. The visit to the Valley and Kunti river will take only a day, and you can return back to Palakkad the same evening.
Another nearby railway station is Coimbatore Junction. From Coimbatore, take the road to Anakatty (around 30 km) and from there to Agali Hills (15 km) and then to Mukkali (20 km). The total distance via the Coimbatore route is only around 65 km. Its almost a straight road drive from Coimbatore to Mukkali. The scenic roadway keeps one captivated all through.
- Those who have reserved over the telephone can approach the Forest department ticket counter at Mukkali between 8 am and 1 pm including Sundays and pay the following fee:
- Govt bus: ₹325 per head (more comfortable)
- Govt Jeep: ₹1,700 (only five adults are allowed)
- Additional payment is required for camera
- You have to stand in a big queue to reach the tiny counter at the park gate in Mukkali, even though you have a reservation. Once cash is received you can wait for the vehicle to come. So this five hour trip can cost you more than seven hours. So spare a full day for the trip and remember to reach before 10AM at latest.