BY TTT NEWS NETWORK
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 4 NOVEMBER 2022
Spread over a 55 sq. km area of forests on the Western Ghats, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is among the finest of its kind in Kerala. It plays host to an exotic array of flora and fauna and is among the most picturesque locations in Kannur district. The entire area is covered in tropical and semi-evergreen forests and is a truly riveting sight.
One can catch sight of herds of elephants, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, Nilgiri Langur, Hanuman Langur and the Malabar Giant
Squirrel. It is also famous for the vast amount of butterfly species found here. Most of these are endemic to the Western Ghats. The forest is peaceful and many trekking options are available as well.
Aralam village itself houses the famous Central State Farm, a government of India initiative built in 1971. This is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country. A visit to the sanctuary is incomplete without visiting the great Katti Betta, the tallest peak in the area, which is 1145 high.
Aralam being the only wildlife sanctuary in Kannur is also one of the best spots for ecotourism lovers. Spread over a 55 sq. km area of forests on the Western Ghats, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is among the finest of its kind in Kerala. The forest is peaceful and many trekking options are available as well.
Though the best time to visit Aralam is from November to May, the Sanctuary remains open throughout the year. The park operates from 08.00 am to 04.00 pm. The entrance of the Sanctuary is Valayamchal. Vehicles can be parked here. It is preferable to use own vehicles as the sanctuary is stationed quite far from town limits.
History says that this was the area where Pazhassi Raja went into exile during the war with the British but not much of it is known today. In 1971 CE, the Government of India built a farm in the Wildlife Sanctuary, which is one of a kind in India.
One reaches the sanctuary through the lush green Aralam Farm that is abundant with swaying coconut palms, cashew nut groves and many more plantations. It is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country.
Day trekking programmes are a staple here, although visitors have options for three-day trekking programmes to Ambalapara and Meenmutty waterfalls, which need prior permission from the Forest Department, and are dependent on various other factors too.
Trekking @ Aralam
Day visit to the sanctuary is the standard activity here, but the place also offers interesting trekking opportunities like trek to Ambalapara, or to Meenmutty falls. Ambalapara trek is over three days where overnight stay will be at Ambalapara watchtower. The Meenmutty is a one-day package and you will be taking to the waterfalls in a jeep along with a guide.
Forest Types: The forest types include West Coast tropical evergreen forest. , West coast semi-evergreen forests, South Indian moist deciduous forest, Southern hilltop evergreen forest and plantations .
Bio diversity: The major tree species are Artocarpus heterophyllus, Bischofia javanica, Calophyllum elatum, Canarium strictum,Cullenia exarillata, Dipterocarpus sp, Drypetes elata, Dysoxylum malabaricum, Elaeocarpus tuberculatus, Holigarna arnottiana, Mesua ferrea, Palaquium ellipticum Bombax ceiba, Dalbergia latifolia, Grewia tiliaefolia,Terminalia sp etc. It is a host to about 23 species of mammals, 188 sp. of birds, 22 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians and 39 species of fishes are reported from the sanctuary
Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Panther,Sambar, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Wild boar, Sloth bear, Nilgiri langur, Bonnet macaque, Common langur,
Wild dog, common otter, Malabar giant squirrel etc are the major mammals.
Getting there –
By Road: Iritty is the nearest town and is about 42 kms from Kannur Bus Station
By Rail: 55 km from Thalassery Railway Station
By Air: 96 Kms from Calicut International Airport