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Unwinding Amidst Shola of South India's Highest Peak - Anamudi

By Vishnudas

Unwinding amidst shola of South India's Highest Peak - Anamudi

shola of Anamudi

It is birds and butterflies all around at Anamudi Shola National Park. Anyone entering the shola should keep one’s eyes wide open, for this is one belt that has tigers, gaurs, leopards, elephants, wild boars and sambhars. Giant squirrels can be seen leaping among branches.This is one of the largest shola forest ecosystem, which gives it a uniqueness both in climate and biodiversity. That explains why when even in the peak of summer, it is cool most of the time out atop the hill ranges which are around 7,500 feet above sea level. In April, the temperature is unlikely to go beyond 25 degrees.Sitting outside the hut of the forest department or going up the watchtower nearby can be a different and colourful experience with all the bright coloured flowering trees, the lush green hillocks and the wavy tea gardens around.Monsoon is another enchanting season as the park receives an annual average rainfall of about 4,500 mm. But one cannot venture out to the forests. Sitting in the hut, one can listen to the roaring music of the rains interspersed with howling winds.It is this dense ecosystem that is source for the Pambar river and as locals, the Muthuvan tribe, say this shola provides water for the whole of Munnar. The dense forests have little rivulets that are perennial water sources flowing into the river.With the assistance of forest officials, one can even undertake a trek through the dense forest where you may come across a herd of bisons or wild boar. Most of the tree barks are covered mosses or lichens. The massive ferns can leave you wonderstruck. At a distance between the shoals are grasslands which make playgrounds for tigers and leopards.According to Munnar wildlife warden P.U. Saju, there are more than 60 species of trees and around 175 shrubs and herbs and variety of lichens and climbers. It is a den for butterflies with more than a hundred species and roughly 230 moth species. The thick forest canopy also makes it a den for birds and surveys have pointed to around 75 species in this shola, he adds.Alongside the Anamalai National Park, declared one in November 2003, are the Mannavan, Pullardi and Idivara sholas. The hut is run by the eco-development society of the forest department. Enquiries and reservation can be made at forest information center at Munnar. Source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130215/lifestyle-travel/article/unwinding-amidst-shola-anamudi

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