Mukurthi National Park is spread over an area of 78.46 sq kms in the Western ghats mountain ranges. Mukurthi National Park lies at the southwestern end of the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. It is situated on the western side of Ooty hill station. The three towering peaks in this park are Nilgiri peak, Pichalabett, and Mukurthi. Others include Sispara, Nadugani, Angina and Gulkal. At a distance of 40 km from Ooty, Mukurthi National Park is a protected area located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu state. It is one of the most attractive wildlife sanctuaries in South India and among the best places to visit in Ooty.
Bordered by Mudumalai National Park and Silent Valley National Park, the Mukurthi National Park is one of the best trekking places in Ooty. The park is part of the Nilgiri Bio Reserve which is India’s first Bio Reserve. Moreover, it is one of the most sought-after wildlife parks in Tamil Nadu, and hence, is blessed with a rich flora mainly consist of raspberries, rhododendron, and blackberries. Along with that, being a prominent part of Western Ghat, the sanctuary is home to a range of species of birds, animals, insects, and reptiles. The most -famous among them are Barking Deer, Jungle Cat, Panther, Wild Dogs, Indian Elephant, Indian Leopard, Jackal, and more such fascinating wild creatures.
Mukurthi National Park
Grasslands and shrublands define the landscape in some places of the park while sholas are found in high areas with heavy rainfall and below zero temperatures. The park environs are harsh characterized by strong winds with speed as high as 120km per hour very heavy annual rainfall and freezing night temperatures in winter.
The area of Mukurthi National Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1982. It was made a national park in 1990. The park was setup to protect the Nilgiri Tahr and was hence called Nilgiri Tahr National Park earlier.
Mukurthi Peak is the one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India, and fourth highest peak in the Nilgiri Hills. It stand at an altitude of 2,554m. Mukurthi peak resembles to “Pointed Nose”. It is a part of Mukurthi National Park (Nilgiri Tahr National Park) in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Mukurthi hill is covered with shola forest including pine, grasslands and shrublands. It is a favouable place for Asian elephant, Tiger and rare endemic to Nilgiri Tahr. Trekking to Mukurthi peak requires special permissions from the forest authority.
Mukurthi National Park
Many endemic plants are found in this park. Shola trees like Rhododendrons are common here. Syzygium, Mahonia Leschenaultii, Michelia nilgaricia, Cinnamomum wightii, Satyrium nepalense, wild yellow raspberries, Eurya nitida are some of the plants found in Mukurthi National park. Orchids include Aerides crispa, Eria albiflora Oberonia santapau.
Plant life has been effected by motor traffic and also the spreading of eucalyptus plants and wattle which are not native in these parts.
This park houses the royal Bengal tiger, Nilgiri Tahr and the Asian elephant. Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri marten, Bonhote mouse and Royal Bengal tiger are the endangered species found in the Mukurthi National Park. Due to protection given, the Tahrs’ population has increased to 200 in the year 2007. You can also spot otters, leopard, mouse deer, sambar deer, jungle cat, soft furred rat, wild dog, sambar deer, black naped hare, bonnet macaque, small Indian civet and Malabar spiny dormouse
Reptiles include nilgiri Salea, dwarf gecko, horseshoe pit viper, skink, checkered keelback, bronze headed vine snake, perrotet’s shieldtail and rat snake.
Most of the above reptiles are endemic, so are some of their prey. Bufo microtympanum, Raorchestes tinniens, Ghatixalus Variabilis are some types of frogs found in these parts.
The most colourful members of this park are the butterflies. Blue admiral, Indian cabbage white,Indian fritillary and Indian red admiral, are some butterflies in this park.
Black and orange flycatcher, Black winged kite, black eagle, black bulbul, Nilgiri flycatcher, laughing thrush, wood pigeon, black bulbul, whistling thrush, kestrel, woodcock and grey headed flycatcher are some of the Birds that have adopted Mukurthi National park as their home.
How to Reach Mukurthi National Park
You can travel by air to Coimbatore which is 140 kms away or you can take the rail route to Ooty which is at a distance of 45 kms away from Mukurthi National Park. Mukurthi is connected to all major cities and towns by Road.
Best Time to Visit Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi National Park can be visited between February to May or September to November.
Mukurthi National Park Entry Fee
Mukurthi national park entrance fee
The entrance fees per person is as follows:
For adults Rs.15/-
For children between 5 to 12 years of age Rs.10
For students Rs.2/-
For still camera the cost is Rs.25 and for a Video camera it is Rs.150/-
Charges of Rs.2000/- is collected for taking documentary educational films using video cameras or handycams.
Mukurthi National Park Timings
The park is open on all days except on Tuesdays between 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Though tour operations are not allowed here, the forest department has been organizing trekking activities in Mukurthi to showcase the conversation programmes undertaken by it. The trek distance is 8 to 60 kms and covers Mukurthi Peak, Mudimund, Avalanche, silent valley and Sispara. Cooks, guides and portsers accompany a group of about 20 members carrying camping equipment and food with them. Application for these trekking programmes can be had from the range officer.
Watch towers have been placed at strategic points for bird watchers and those interested in watching nature.
Mukurthi National Park Trek
The adventurous can follow these trekking trails:
- Devanetta to Mukurthi Peak and Fishing hut distance 12 kms and 8 kms respectively
- Bangitapal to Sispara distance 16kms
- Western Catchment to Bangitapal distance 14 km
- Kolarikutta to Bangitapal 20 kms distance
- Trekking shed to Kangerkudi Ndugani distance 18 kms and lastly
- Kolarikutta to Bangitapal – 20 kms.
International Significance of Mukurthi National Park
This park is situated in the midsts of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is has been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in the year 2012.