History of Mathikettan Shola National Park
The region was declared as a reserve forest in the year 1897 by the Travancore Government. Before becoming a national park, a part of the land was under lease for the production of cardamom. On 21st November 2003, it was notified as a national park for protecting the geographical, floral and faunal treasure of the region.
Geography of Mathikettan Shola National Park
Mathikettan Shola National Park encompasses an area of 12.82 square kilometres. It has an undulating terrain with several hillocks of varying heights. The altitude of the region ranges from 1200 to 1984 metres. It receives profuse rainfall from south-west and north-east monsoons. The average rainfall in the national park has been recorded to be 2000 to 2700 millimetres. It is also the origin of several perennial streams which merges with Panniyar River.
Flora and Fauna of Mathikettan Shola National Park
Mathikettan Shola National Park is dominated by moist deciduous forests, west coast semi evergreen forests, west coast tropical evergreen forests and grasslands. Common flora of the region includes Litsea wighteana, Chionanthus ramiflorus, Syzygium gardneri, Callophyllum austro-indicum, Bhesa indica and many more. Orchids, ferns, lichen and mosses can also be observed here. Mathikettan Shola National Park is a significant elephant corridor in South India. Elephants from the Munnar Division arrive in the park. This biodiversity hotspot also hosts a vast assortment of mammals, reptiles, birds and butterflies. Prominent species found here include Jungle Cat, Wild Dog, Gaur, Sambar, Crocodiles, Turtles, Lizards, Rat Snakes, Vipers, Pythons, King Cobras, Nilgiri Tahrs, Spotted Deer, Flying Squirrels, Giant Grizzled Squirrel, Panthers, Tigers and many more.
Mathikettan Shola National Park allures a number of trekkers and adventure seekers. It is also a bird watcher's and photographer's delight. It is situated at a distance of 130 kilometres from Madurai. Cochin International Airport and Madurai Airport serve as the nearest airports whereas Kottayam Railway Station is the nearest railways station. The park can also be approached through roadways for which Madurai Bus Stand and Kochi Bus Stand serve as the nearest bus stands.