(Last Updated on : 01-07-2013)
In South India, Silent Valley National Park has drawn admiration of the tourists due to its preserves of wild creatures and plantations. It is situated in Kerala
, almost 150 kms away from the crowded, industrial town of Coimbatore. The Silent Valley National Park has a past history.
It is formed at a period which nearly dates back to hundred and fifty years earlier However it was few years back only, that the park has got due attention. This wilderness in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was regarded to be a suitable locate for building a 'hydroelectric project'. However, due to the joint initiatives of various national as well as international forums, the park was being protected from this forthcoming destruction. Finally, in the year 1984, due to their sincere efforts, an area covering 90 sq km of land was acknowledged as national park.
Locally popular, as Sairandhrivanam, the Silent Valley National Park is one of the handfuls of the tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forests that are yet to be found in India subcontinent. One of the reasons behind referring it as 'silent' is that the almost absolute absence of various clamoring insects and tiny creatures like cicadas, insects whose hue and cry can make even normal talk difficult to carry.
Although it is a hub of wild life habitat of various noisy creatures, quite a few tourists visit the park. However, the accessibility problem, rugged terrain add to these, the restrictions that are imposed here, has made it possible for the concerned authorities to preserve the treasures in tact. Few hotels and lodges have developed only in the beginning of 1900s. It is a barely populated region, the neighbors being the tribal communities of Mudakars of the Attappady Valley, quite enriched with wildly preserves.
Silent Valley National Park is situated in the Kundali Hills of the Western Ghats, a plateau enveloped by high ridges and protective embankments, which ascends in the east to the Upper Nilgiri Plateau. Its altitude is ranging from 650 m to more than 2,000 m. The narrow, perennial Kuntipuzha River flows through the park, thereby splitting it into a wide section in the east and a narrow segment in the west. Small rivers originate in the high, eastern frontiers of the Silent Valley National Park to coalesce with the Kuntipuzha. The flowing waters and green forests are a beautiful treasure house of a variety of wild life habitat. A varied range of fish species is found to swim in the blue waters. Within the periphery of Silent Valley National Park, the Kerala Forest Research Institute is carrying on research based on the ecological studies, with a unique focus on the wild flora and birds like the Lion-tailed Macaque.
The Silent Valley National Park has a mixture of varied wild habitats. The lush, thick tropical evergreen forests, subtropical hill forests, 'sholas' and grassy lands, prevalent in the western part of Kuntipuzha and also the high ranges of the eastern parts are a home of numerous species. There are almost 1,000 species of flowering plants and the Aeginetia is a significant one
About 40 species of mammals are found, including nineteen amphibians, and numerous insects and tiny animals. Several endangered bat species are found here. Elephants, tigers, macaques, flying squirrels, hornbills, sunbirds and birdwings can be found in the premises of Silent Valley National Park. Other species include Asian Elephant, Nilgiri Tahr, Tiger, Wild Dog (Dhole), Nilgiri Marten, Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose, Brown Mongoose, Lion-tailed Macaque, Slender Loris, Large Brown Flying Squirrel, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, and Mouse deer etc.
Quite a few reptiles including the Malabar Pit Viper are seen basking on the muddy shores of the river valleys.
Nearly hundred and fifty kinds of birds throng the region, adding beauty to this park. Tweeting of Grey Jungle fowl, Painted Bush Quail, Red Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Great-eared Nightjar, Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Crey Hornbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Dollarbird, Malabar Trogon, Asian Fairy Bluebird. Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, Hill Myna, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Little Spiderhunter are not rare. Hunting birds like Black Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Rufous-bellied Eigie, Jerdon's Baza, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Besra, Brown Wood Owl, too thrive in the Silent Valley National Park.