TAMIL NADU: The parks of Tamil Nadu are mostly little-known, although their range is extraordinary—mixed deciduous forests of the Western Ghats, through the hot, dry plains, to the coastal and marine parks. Two biosphere reserves are proposed: one at the Gulf of Mannar and the other in the Nilgiris. Most of Tamil Nadu receives both the monsoons, and the two rainy seasons severely limit game viewing. November to February are pleasant months to travel through the state.
Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1976, it covers 368 sq miles (955 sq km) of the northern end of the Cardamom Hills and abuts Kerala on its Western border. The focal point, with tourist accommodation, is known as Top Slip. Rich, mixed deciduous forest with large rosewood and teak trees. The main attractions are the lion tailed macaque and Nilgiri langur for which it offers a secure home, and both of which tend to stay in the evergreen sholas. Gaur can be seen near the Srichalippallam river. Elephant, chital, sambar, mouse deer and barking deer are all found here. Riding elephants and forest vehicles are available. Also extensive birdlife. Best time to visit: Feb. — June Accommodation: 5 resthouses and log huts, food and bedding available. Permission: Wildlife Warden, 5 Round Rd., Mahalinga Puram, Pollachi, Dist: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 642001 Nearest town & Rail: Pollachi (15.5 miles) Air: Coimbatore (41 miles/65 km)
Established in 1976 on 86 sq miles (224 sq km) of mixed semievergreen forest containing a wide range of animals, including elephant, macaques and good birdlife. Core area consists of 31 sq miles (81 sq km), and the rainy season is from October to December. Best time to visit: Jan. Mar. Accommodation: 1 resthouse Permission: Wildlife Warden, St Peter’s Hall, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu 627002 Nearest town: Nanguneri (9.5 miles/15 km) Rail: Tirunelveli (25 miles/40 km) Air: Trivandrum (Kerala) (88 miles/140 km)
Established in 1938 and now expanded to cover 124 sq miles (322 sq km) of mixed and moistdeciduous forests. Bisected by the road from Mysore to Ootacamund and bounded to the north by Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and to the west by the Wynad Sanctuary in Kerala. Good game-viewing and facilities. Vehicles and elephant riding available. Best time to visit: Mar. —June, Sept.—Oct. Accommodation: resthouses at Masinagudi, Theppakadu, Abhayaranyam and Kargundi; Bamboo Banks Farm, 11 miles (18 km) from the sanctuary has comfortable accommodation and good food. Contact Mrs. S.T. Kotawala, Bamboo Banks, Masinagudi PO Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. Permission: Wildlife Warden, Mahalingam Bldg, Coonoor Road, Ootacamund 643001 Nearest town: Gudalur (10 miles/16 km) Rail: Ootacamund (40 miles/64 km) Air: Coimbatore (103 miles); Mysore
Established in 1962, this large sanctuary covering 219 sq miles (567 sq km) is excellent for viewing examples of India’s primates. The facilities are regrettably poor. The area receives almost 120 inches (300 cm) of rain and there are still pockets of virgin rainforest. The bonnet macaque and common langur are found throughout the sanctuary; the Nilgiri langur at Tarucvattampaarai and the liontailed macaque near the top of Valaiyar Hill. Tiger, leopard, sloth bear, sambar and chital are also seen. Best time to visit: Sept. — Dec. Accommodation: Resthouse overlooking the Tambaravarani river. Permission: Wildlife Warden, Shengottai, Dist: Tiruneveli, Tamil Nadu 627809 Nearest town: Ambasamudram (6 miles) Rail: Tirunelveli (28 miles/45 km) Air: Trivandrum (100 miles/160 km)
Point Calimere Sanctuary
Established in 1967, protecting 6.5 sq miles (17 sq km) of shoreline and hinterland that surround a saline lagoon. Part of the area is tidal swamp. Dolphins are occasionally seen in the lagoon. Also, there are numerous shore birds and waders, large flocks of both greater and lesser flamingoes. Blackbuck, chital, feral pig and bonnet macaques are among the land mammals seen. Best time to visit: Nov. — Jan. Accommodation: forest resthouse (14 beds), food available on prior booking Permission: DFO, 281/1846 West Main St., Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613009 Nearest town: Vedaranyam (7 miles/15 km) Rail: Kodikkarai Air: Tiruchchirappalli (103 miles/165 km)
Protected for over two hundred years, and first legislated protection in 1798 when shooting was prohibited. The sanctuary is small and consists of a grove of trees growing in and around the village tank. There are a number of resident breeding waterbirds and many migrants. Can be visited in a day from Madras. Best time to visit: Oct. — Feb. Accommodation: resthouse, food available Permission: Wildlife Warden, 50 50IVth Main Rd, Gandhi Nagar, Madras 600020. Nearest town: Maduranthakam (9.5 miles) Rail: Maduranthakam Air: Madras (50 miles/80 km) There is a small preserve of only one sq mile (2.7 sq km) at Guindy in Madras city which also has a zoo and the Madras Snake Park. A Marine National Park in the Gulf of Mannar has been proposed as a biosphere reserve. Other sanctuaries are Karikili (Chengalpattu dist.); Nilgiri Tahr Sanctuary, Pulicat (Chengalpattu dist.); and Vettangudi (Ramanathapuram dist.). For further information contact The Chief Wildlife Warden, 50 IVth Main Rd, Gundhi Nagar, Madras 600020.