Mathikettan Shola National Park



Brief


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


Munnar
Located in the Western Ghats in Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar has been attracting tourists in droves with its pristine natural beauty, salubrious climate and unspoiled charm.

Western Ghats
A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the eight hottest bio-diversity hotspots in the world, the Western Ghats is a mountain range, spread over 1600 km in the western side of India. It stretches north to south along the western edge of the Deccan plateau. Also called as the ‘Great Escarpment of India’, the mountain range starts from the border of Gujarat and ends at Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India.

Kumarakom
Situated 14 km from Kottayam in Kerala, Kumarakom has become synonymous with backwater cruises across the world. A scenic bunch of islands clustered around the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is about 70 km from Kochi (Cochin).

Thekkady
Set high in the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park in Kerala in south India is known for its wildlife population. Located on the banks of a lake created by the construction of Mullaperiyar dam, the park lies in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala. Periyar is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India.

Best Time


The best time to visit Mathikettan Shola National Park is from April to September.

How to Reach


By Air
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

By Rail
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.

By Road
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.

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