Indira Gandhi National Park / Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is Among the handful of national parks and wildsanctuaries that have been built over the years in the core of South India, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is quite prominent. It is situated in the high mountainous ranges of the Western Ghats. It has rich heritage due to its close association of the Vijayanagar Empire of the medieval period. Under the British era, huge areas of forests were cut down for tea, teak, coffee and cardamom plantations. Thus many of the wild life creatures became extinct after being uprooted from their grassy abodes.
The topography of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is rugged. The low foothills are less than three hundred meters in altitude, and also multitudes of plateaus are scattered. The Topslip-Parambikulam Plateau rises to a height of eight hundred meters, then ascending to the Valparai Plateau. It ranges between the 1,000 and 1,250 m, in the core of the plantation areas. This 958 sq. km sanctuary in the Western Ghats contains spectacular scenery and a diverse range of flora and fauna. A number of tribal groups live with in the sanctuary. Unfortunately the bureaucracy is also spectacular. Securing permission to enter the sanctuary can exhaust even the most tenacious traveller. . The park also has a renowned medicinal plant garden and interpretive centre (check out the astrological medicine chart and beauty hints if you’re feeling travel-weary), and is home to the tribal group of Kada people, many of whom work here. The park’s elephant training centre can be visited on the guided vehicle tour.
The scenic beauty of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary has caught the imagination of many people over the years.The largest teak and rosewood trees are grown in the lush forests of the sanctuary. Some references are being found even in the `Records of Sport in Southern India (1952)`, where General Douglas Hamilton proudly said, "The views from this mountain are the grandest and most extensive I have ever beheld over half a century earlier, WT Hornaday wrote in Two Years in the Jungle (1885), "The Animallai Hills! How my nerves tingle and my pulse quickens as I write the name!"
Fauna at Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary : This sanctuary endemic Arboreal animals like lion tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, Common Langur, Nilgiris Langur, Malabar Giant squirrel and Grizzled giant Squirrel. The ground animals listed are: Tiger, Panther, Elephant, Gaur, Pangolin, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Nilgiris Tahr, Civet Cat and Toddy Cat.
The Avifauna includes Racket Tailed Drongo, Black Headed Oriole, Paradise Flycatcher, Whistling Thrust, Emerald Dove, Green Pigeon, Tickell's Flower Pecker, Rufus Wood Pecker, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Black Eagle, Great Indian Malabar pied Horn Bill, Fiary Blue Bird and green Billed Malkhoha etc.
Birds too are found here that are bred locally. Some of them even migrate from the nearby regions also. Woodland birds include Grey Jungle fowl, Painted Bush Quail, Red Spur fowl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, Brown-backed Needletail, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Dollar bird, Malabar Trogon, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-bellied Trecpie, White-bellied Shortwing, Wyiiaad Laughing thrush, Hill Myna. Nilgiri Flycatcher etc .
Some of the many rare and endangered species of flora are Combretum Ovalifolium, Dispyros nilagrica, Gymnopteris Contaimirans (Fern), Habebarai reriflora (Orchid), Polypodum pleroupus, Alsophila sp, Bulbophyllum sp., Lasianthus uenuloses, Angiopterris Erectra, Gnetum Ula, Impaliens Elegans, Lycopodium cernum, Ranunculus reniformis and Osmunda Regulis.
Flora at Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary: The jungles in Indira Gandhi wildlife Sanctuary is thick and wooded with the flora to back up the fabulous fauna. There are evergreen forests in Indira Gandhi National Park, which are moist and deciduous forests and the lagoons and estuaries, sheltering unique forms of plant and animal life. The dry deciduous, the semi-evergreen, and the wet temperate habitat of this park contain teak, rose wood and many miscellaneous tropical species.
Attractions at Anamalai : There are many places of natural and scenic beauty in the Annamalai wildlife sanctuary. Some of them are Grass hills, Karianshola, Anaikunthi Shola, groves, waterfalls, teak forests, reservoirs and dams. There are arrangements of exploring the sanctuary on elephant back or by van.
Travel Tips: It is advisable that travelers should carry easy-to-wear, dull-colored clothes, cotton socks and a pair of sneakers/canvas shoes. Torch, insect repellants, leech lotions, anti- sunscreen and headgear should also be a part of the kit.
Climate: Pleasantly warm climate throughout the year. Moderate to chilly from November to December at higher altitudes.
Best Time to See Wildlife: Mid-December to mid-February.
How to Reach Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary/Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (Peelamedu airport, 10 km from Coimbatore city).
By Rail: From Pollachi, there are trains to Coimbatore and Dindigul.
By Road: There are regular bus services from Coimbatore and Palani to Pollachi, which is the nearest town. There are two buses a day from Pollachi to the Anamalai park. Taxis from Pollachi are also available for hire.
Travel Advice: It is advisable that travelers should carry easy-to-wear, dull-colored clothes, cotton socks and a pair of sneakers/canvas shoes. Torch, insect repellants, leech lotions, anti- sunscreen and headgear should also be a part of the kit.