My Dream Fulfilled
View from Tower
I have always dreamed of visiting the Silent Valley National park situated around 80kms from Palakkad(or Palghat)in Kerala.Eventhough I am a Keralite living in Trivandrum I never had the opportunity to visit my dream park earlier.I completely enjoyed my trip to Silent Valley and is having tremendous memories of the park whih turned out to be more breathtaking than what I thought.
The Silent Valley National Park is the core of the Nilgiri International Biosphere Reserve.Its a small park with a geographical area of just 90 Sq.KMs.The park came into existence in 1980.The Silent Valley was rescued by naturalists and environmentlists from inundation by their relentless struggle against the construction of a dam in the 70s.The Kerala Govt abandoned their plan to construct the dam and a great rain forest was rescued.Today we can take our children to this park and show them the beautiful forest.
The Silent Valley National park is around 80 km from Palakkad and around 450km from Trivandrum.The visitors center for the park is at Sairandri and decent lodging facilities are offered by the forest department.Since there are no tarred roads the best option is to hire a jeep from Sairandri.Take permission from the Forest office at Sairandri and a guide is send with you to visit the park.
The park got its name because of the conspicuous absence of Cicadas.You dont hear them sing in Silent Valley.But my forest guide tells me that now a days they do hear them sing!
Fauna and Flora
Silent valley boasts of tremendous variety of animals and plants.Most of them are endemic to the park.At least 16 species of birds are labelled as thretend by the Bird Life International.The rare bird species seen here include Ceylon Frogmouth ,Great Indian Hornbill,Long-Legged Buzzard,Red winged crusted cuckoo,pale harrier and many more.The Hornbill is the State bird of Kerala.There are at least 34 species mammals in Silent valley which includes the threatened Lion Tailed Macaque,Nilgiri Langur,Malabar Giant Squirrel,Nilgiri Tahr and Hairy winged Bat.Apart from this there are at least 730 species of insects in the park.The flora includes 1000 types of flowering plants 108 species of Orchids and 100 ferns.
We hired a jeep from Sairandri and started our trip to the park along with our friendly forest guide at around 9 am.The 20km journey to the center of the park takes around 2 hours and the muddy road gives you a bumpy ride.We saw a few Lion tailed macaques and malabar squirrels on the way.We could also see a snake meandering its way into a thicket by the side of the road.A tall watch tower greets us at end of our journey.We climbed the tower and the scenery around us was extraordinary.
I havent seen a more pristine and crystal clear river than the Kunthi river at Silent Valley.The dam was proposed to be constructed across this river.Thanks once again to all those involved in preventing the Kerala Govnt from building it and today one can take a refreshing bath in this serene river.The Kunthi River runs across the park and drains in to the Bharathapuzha.Thre is a hanging bridge across the river in the park.There is a forest office near the watch tower and with the "jungle Orchestra" one can hear the cries of different animals and birds.
Momories of Silent Valley
We returned to Sairandri by evening and with prior permission we could have arranged for a stay in the park itself.Our trip was fantastic and we enjoyed our close encounter with the Silent Valley.I am sure about one thing......this is not my last visit to the great Silent Valley!
View from Tower
26 Kms to Silent Valley