Mudumalai National Park, Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu

Mudumalai National Park is a tiger reserve which lies in the north western part of Nilgiri hills [ Blue hills ] which is located in Nilgiri district , about 150 km to the north west of Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu. It has got boundaries in three states Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. This national park is divided into five ranges- Masina gudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi, Nellakota. Niligiri Biosphere includes Bandipur Tiger reserve (Karnataka) in north and Waynad Wildlife sanctuary (Kerala). It is a habitat for varied range of wildlife. Some are endangered and vulnerable species including Indian elephants Bengal tigers, gaur and Indian leopard.

More than 266 species of birds are there in the sanctuary and it has got endangered Indian white rumped vultures and long billed vulture. It is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Committe. The Mudumalai sanctuary is a wildlife corridor which is located between protected areas of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is surrounded by Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National park in north, Waynad Wildlife Sanctuary in west, Mukuruthi National park and Silent valley in south, and Siger plateau that connects Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary and biligirirangan hills Wildlife Sanctuary in east. They cover an area of 3300 km square. They have 1800 to 2300 elephants. The sanctuary has tropical wet climate and rainfall ranges between 790 mm to 2000mm.

The Mudumalai was declared as Wildlife sanctuary in 1940 and covers an area of 62square km. In the year 2007 Mudumalai was declared as Tiger Reserve according to Wildlife protection act. Almost 48 tigers are present here and are allowed to roam about freely. So as to protect the tiger population 350 families were evacuated from the area and they were given compensation of 1 million rupees.

Three main types of forest in the sanctuary are (1) Tropical moist deciduous: Western Benne Block, rainfall is higher than other blocks. (2) Tropical dry deciduous: occur in middle (3) Southern tropical dry thorn forest: east

Trees like Cinnamomum, Casseria ovoides, etc are found here. Giant clumping bamboos, Bambusa and Dendiecalamus striclus are found here.There is visparian forest ie the forest that is near water bodies is seen here and it remains green throughout the year in all seasons. Elephants, Gaur, Sambar, Tiger etc use riparian forestfor resting and feeding. Wild rice, wild ginger, guava, cinnamon , turmeric are cultivated here.

Whereas in case of animals there are 50 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals are found here.Around 13 percentage of all mammal species are there in Mudumalai. Bengal tiger , Indian leopard, Jungle cat and Leopard cat are the four cat species which live in Mudumalai. For every 8.67 km square atleast one tiger is found. The Indian leopard is mainly seen in Kargudi area. Striped hyna, golden jackal, gray langur, gaur, wild boar, red giant flying squirrel are found in this area. Some reptiles found here are phythons, monitor lizard, asian pit viper, etc. Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary consists of 18 percent of the bird species in India. 20 species of granivorous, 12 species of omnivorous,110 insectivorous, 227 bird species are found in Mudumalai. Black and orange flycatcher, Malabar trogen, hawk owl, Pambadaur green pigieon, alpine swift etc are various birds seen in this sanctuary.

Moyar river which is running throughdense forest is a major beautiful spot where we can see animals that come to drink water. Elephant safari and Van safari are provided by Tamil  Nadu forest department. Chief minister’s watch tower, Ombetta lae, Safari van rides on sand roads, bomban roads, Jayadev avenue, Manradias road, circular road, circular road are the main scenic spots. Elephant feeding camp are there where public can interact with elephants.Even training centres of elephants are there. There is a museum nearby which displays some animals who exsisted in this region once.

There are two lakes Kallatty and Pykara which are beautiful falls and the second one is situated between hills and its isolated from the crowd and pollution. Nearest  international airport is at Coimbatore. By road the park is most conveniently accessible from mysore route. Erode, Coimbatore and Mysore are the nearest three railway stations.