Spread over 12.82 sq km, Mathikettan Shola National Park is located 130 km west of Madurai, in Udumbanchola taluk of Idukki district in Kerala. The national park gets its name from Tamil term which literally translates to ‘mind confuser’. It is named so because the locals believe that the path leading to the national park confuses people as soon as they enter the forest trail.
Situated between many other reserved forests like the Pampadam Shola National Park and Eravikulam National Park, the Mathikettan Shola National Park was part of the Cardamom Hill Reserve region till it was notified as a national park in 2003. The region was notified as a national park owing to the unique characteristics of the shola forests and the Mathikettan region being a very important elephant corridor in South India.
The national park is a biodiversity hotspot and plays a vital role in safeguarding wildlife in the region. The terrain, difficult to cross, acts as a natural defence in the protection of the animals and protects their natural habitat. Certain parts of the forest are leased out to farms to cultivate cardamom.
The region attracts large numbers of adventure seekers, especially trekkers. Trails running through the forests provide amazing views of the region and you can spot animals and birds in their natural habitat. Watching birds and wildlife in their natural habitat is a popular attraction of trekking in the national park. Photographers visit the national park and stay for long periods to capture the animals in their natural habitat.
The forest is home to beautiful and rare animals like tigers, panthers, wild elephants, giant grizzled squirrel, flying squirrels, spotted deers and Nilgiri tahrs. The park abounds in snakes too like king cobras, pythons, vipers and rat snakes, turtles, crocodiles and lizards.
In and Around
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The best time to visit Mathikettan Shola National Park is from April to September.
How to Reach
Kochi international airport, 142 km west of the national park, is well connected to all major cities of India. There are daily flights from Chennai, Trichy, Bengaluru and Coimbatore. Taxis are available from the airport to the national park
Theni railway station, about 57 km east of the national park, is the nearest railhead. It is connected to Madurai railway station which has direct trains to many cities in India. From Chennai it takes seven hours to reach Madurai and trains runs daily. There are taxis available from the railway station to reach the national park. Kottayam in Kerala is better connected.
State run and private buses connect Poopara village to cities like Madurai and Cochin that are well connected to many other important cities in the region.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
There are no accommodation options within the national park but there are guest houses and camp sites in Poopara village. Madurai offers a wide variety of options for accommodation.