Chinnar is a unique thorny scrub forest with xerophyte species. Located in the rain shadow area of the Western Ghats, unlike other sanctuaries in Kerala, Chinnar gets only 48 days of rain every year. Lying in Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district, Chinnar was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1984.
Among the lesser known sanctuaries in Kerala, Chinnar is unique in that it supports the second largest population of the highly endangered grizzled giant squirrel. Sadly, the last count of these rare creatures was 200 individuals worldwide.
The overall landscape of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is undulating with pockets of forest interspersed with grasslands. This terrain with rocky patches, increase the scenic splendor of the sanctuary.
The altitude varies from 500 to 2400 metres. The highest peaks are Kottakombumalai (2144m), Vellaikalmmalai (1863m) and Viriyoottummalai(1845m). Deep within the sanctuary one will come across the massive Thoovanam falls on the river Chinnar.
An extensive sandalwood forest nearby is an added attraction. This is also an ideal place to watch herds of Bisons march past.
Dry deciduous forests, high sholas and wet grasslands add to the diversity of the sanctuary. As one travels from Karimuthi to Chinnar, elephants, spotted deer, sambar, hanuman monkey and even pea*censored*s can be spotted on either sides of the road. There is a wide range of animals and a good number of birds in this sanctuary. Other mammal species like the Tiger (Panthera tigris), Leopard (Panthera. Pardus) and Gaur (Bos gaurus) are recorded to inhabit the Chinnar forests.
The watchtowers rise high above the vegetation and permit a fascinating view of the game. Birds like jungle fowl, spotted dove, Kerala laughing thrush etc. are seen here.
Rich in wildlife, the mixed deciduous forests here are ideal for trekking.
Getting there :
Nearest railway station : Ernakulam about 130 km from Munnar.
Nearest airport : Cochin International Airport, about 150 km from Munnar.