The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent Valley National Park is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history. Silent Valley is closed on all sides with high and continuous ridges and steep escarpments, as a result the valley is shielded from the extremes of climate as well as anthropogenic interventions and so it remained an ecological island with a special micro climate. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri Hills above an altitude of 2000 m and traverses the entire length of the valley finally rushing down to the plains through a deep gorge.
Its silence, emphasised by the missing Cicadas that gave Silent Valley its name, may make you feel and hear things you could never have imagined. A few centuries ago, till before humans reached the Silent Valley, this reserve of tropical rainforests stood undisturbed and tranquil like a beautiful diamond hidden perfectly.
Located in the Northeast corner of Palakkad district, Silent Valley was named a national park only in 1984. It was called ‘Sairandhrivanam’ as it was considered this was where Sairandhiri (the secret identity donned by Panchali, from the epic Mahabharatha) hid along with her five husbands, the Pandavas, while escaping their cruel cousins, the Kauravas. The river which feeds the entire forest, Kunthippuzha, was named after Kunthi, mother of the Pandavas. It is shielded by the Nilgiri Plateau to the North and the Mannarkad Plains to the South. It constitutes the centerpiece of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, an integral part of the Western Ghats, christened a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2012.
The flora and fauna on display makes one wonder if this ecosystem has survived since the very beginning of time. From tigers, leopards, elephants, snakes, Lion Tailed Macaques and Malabar Giant Squirrels to moths, bugs and toads, the diversity in fauna is breathtaking. Along with them one can view over 1000 species of flowering plants and another 110 species of orchids that enchant all who see them. Over 400 species of moths and 200 species of butterflies have been catalogued here. The 128 species of beetles deserve a special mention since 10 of them were previously unknown to mankind.
Many have passed through here since then but none have been able to put to words the exact feelings or detail the emotions evoked by the experience these forests have to offer. It is something to be observed firsthand, this absolute gift of nature.
The Wildlife Warden
Silent Valley Division,
Mannarkkad P.O., Palakkad,
Kerala, India – 678582
Ph: +91 4924 222056
For more information please contact, Information Centre: 8589895652
Asst. Wildlife Warden,
Silent Valley National Park,
Mukkali, Palakkad – 678582
Ph: +91 4924 253225
Nearest railway station: Palakkad, about 69 km away
Nearest airport: Coimbatore International Airport (Tamil Nadu), about 91 km
Latitude: 11.130066, Longitude: 76.42911