Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary- 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
2-5 Day Treks
Wildlife Safari Spots
About Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary allows visitors to explore and learn about nature and wildlife. Laying on the slopes of the Western Ghat Mountains, it is located in the southeast part of the Kannur District of Kerala State in Southern India. Headquartered in the town of Iritty, the sanctuary is continuous with the forests of Coorg in Karnataka State.
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Things to Do at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The entrance of the sanctuary is located at Valayamchal at the southwest corner of the sanctuary. Vehicles can reach up to the entrance and from there the entry is restricted only to the permitted vehicles provided by the sanctuary administration.
The forests of the sanctuary take a day to explore. There are safaris daily which take one through 14 km of the forest through thick vegetation. Teak and Eucalyptus trees are found in abundance. Even though chances of spotting wild animals are low, at times you may stumble upon something interesting like Malabar Giant Squirrel or Flying Squirrel.
In addition to the regular day safaris through the park, there are multiple options for multi-day trekking and nature camps available but you will need to contact the Wildlife Warden at Aralam at +91 490 2493160 or +91 9447979101 to get more information. For visitors who are travelling from a distance, there is a guest house and dormitory with very reasonable prices at the entrance of the sanctuary in Valayamchal. Some of the activities to look for at the sanctuary are as below.
The nature camps conducted by the sanctuary
The nature camps are mainly done for students. The camps are very popular, roughly 60, two to three-day camps are conducted yearly with an average of 40 participants in each camp. The students are educated about nature, wildlife and its conservation methods. The same camps can be conducted for non-students as well but with permission from the Warden and Chief Conservator of Forests.
Trek to Ambalappara and Meenmutty Falls
Ambalappara trek is a three-day trek negotiating through tough terrains and deep forests. The trek is to a watch tower at Ambalappara, 25 kilometres away from the sanctuary entrance. The trek usually is accompanied by guides and will consist of only a few visitors per batch, normally less than 10. Moving through the areas heavily inhabited by wild animals, visitors will have the perfect opportunity to spot many if the noise levels to are kept to the minimum.
Lighter than the Ambalappara trek, the Meenmutty Fall trek will allow one to explore and chill at the waterfall lying deep inside the forest. The trek is 14 km in distance. During both these treks, visitors will get a chance to spend time immersed in the pristine delicacy of the sanctuary.
The nearby Aralam Central State Farm
Near to the sanctuary is the Aralam Central State Farm. The farm is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in India. It is 3,500 acres of the area surrounded by the sanctuary, started in 1971 by the Government of India. The farm is now administered by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Department of Kerala State to distribute 50% of the land to the landless tribes and the remaining to continue running as a farm for the welfare of the tribes.
The main aim of the farm is to produce and distribute good quality plantation crops and also commercial production of crops on a large scale. Above all, the aim lies in providing further social and economic welfare to the tribals settled in Aralam.
History of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was formed in 1984 by carving out areas from Odathode Malavaram Forest of Thalassery Special Division (32.64 square kilometres), a private vested forest taken over by the Government of Kerala and Kottiyoor Reserve Forest (22.36 square kilometres). The total combined area is 55 square kilometres. The sanctuary was a part of the Wayanad Wildlife Division until 1998 after which it started functioning as an independent wildlife sanctuary.
The sanctuary area falls in Aralam, Kelakam and Kottiyoor revenue villages and like many other sanctuaries in the region, it is divided into core and buffer zones. There are presently three divisions to the sanctuary consisting of Narikkadavu, Aralam, and Chavachi which unitedly form the sanctuary of Aralam.
Climatic conditions in the sanctuary
Thanks to the huge amount of rain it receives yearly, the sanctuary is covered with tropical and semi-evergreen forests. The total annual rainfall in the region seldom falls below 4,000 mm with a maximum of 5,052 mm and a minimum of 3,745 mm recorded for 9 years. In the higher reaches, the rainfall goes as high as over 6,000 mm. Most of the rainfall is obtained during the southwest monsoon in June to September months.
The temperature in the sanctuary varies from 11 degrees Celcius in December to February to 40 degrees Celcius from March to May. Some parts of the sanctuary have their micro-climate due to high rainfall and peculiar soil conditions.
The highest peak in the sanctuary is Katti Betta, at a height of 1,145 meters above sea level. The lowest point of the sanctuary sits at an altitude of 50 meters. Since the sanctuary has a slope towards the west, several mountain streams originate from it and unite to form the river Cheenkannippuzha (meaning Crocodile River), the main waterbody in the sanctuary. The river is a tributary of the much larger Valapattanam River.
Wildlife and nature
The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats. Wild animals like elephant, gaur (Indian Bison), sambar (large Indian deer), spotted deer, barking deer, Nilgiri langur, Hanuman langur, Malabar giant squirrel etc can be seen here.
The sanctuary is home to innumerable species of butterflies, reptiles and birds. 188 species of birds are found here including many which are considered endangered. Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Blue Winged Parakeet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Broad Billed Roller and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon are some of them. The sanctuary is home to 22 species of reptiles including the King Cobra, 144 species of butterflies and 39 species of fish.
The plant life in the sanctuary consists of Teak and Eucalyptus trees covering over 1,200 acres of area within the protected forests. The tree life present in this part of the forest is one of a kind as they are reinforced at the base. The stems of the trees are clean, cylindrical and unbranched till two-thirds of their height and generally spreads like an umbrella at the top.
Best Time to Visit Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
October to May is the best time to visit Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary as the rest of the months are in Monsoon Season with lots of rain. The sanctuary is open throughout the year so June to September too can be used as a time to witness the mighty rains and lush greenery.
Tips for Visiting Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
- Always follow the instruction from the guides. It is a very wild terrain.
- Do not make loud noises, jerky movements, flashy colours or use perfumes as they all will attract unwanted wildlife attention.
- Do not carry food inside the forest or try feeding wild animals. Plastic is not allowed to carry as well.
- Do not enter the river unless permitted by the guides. It looks calm from the outside but it is not.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
- One of the unique features of the sanctuary is the existence of five species of diurnal primates (primates that are active during the day and sleep at night) - Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Black Footed Grey Langur, Common Langur, Bonnet Macaques and one variety of nocturnal primate, the Malabar Slender Loris.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
On average, visitors will spend a day at Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary exploring nature and engaging in the wildlife safari. But there are multi-day trekking and multi-day camping options available as well. You will need to contact the Wildlife Warden at Aralam at +91 490 2493160 or +91 9447979101 to get more information.
How to Reach Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The nearest town to the sanctuary is Iritty, 5 kilometres away. The sanctuary is well connected by buses from Wayanad, Kannur and Thalasserry towns. The nearest major railway stations are in Kannur (66 km) and Thalassery (55 km).
Entrance Fee of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Adults: INR 115, Children (13 years-18 years): INR 40, Children (below 13 years): INR 10, Foreigners: INR 360, Small Vehicle: INR 110, Movie Camera: INR 40, Stil Camera: INR 40. More up-to-date pricing can be found on the official website.
Opening Hours of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is open daily from 7.30 AM to 3 PM.
Attractions Near Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Iruppu Waterfalls, Brahmagiri
18.36km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The waterfall which is located in the Brahmagiri range which was a freshwater cascade. It was also known as the Lakshmana tirtha waterfalls.
18.51km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Pakshipathalam, a natural rock cave deep inside the forest in the Wayanad district of Kerala State in Southern India lies at a height of 1,740 meters in the Brahmagiri hill ranges. The trekking trail here is famous for its richness of bird life and it takes you through moist deciduous forests, rolling hillocks, open grasslands, slippery trails, and narrow rocky caves.
Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple
22.16km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Thirunelli Maha Vishnu Temple or Thirunelli Temple as generally called is an ancient Vishnu Temple. Located on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala, it is a melting pot of myths and history. The temple is at an altitude of about 900 meters in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests.
Mahé River and Azhikukham
25.87km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Mahe river is a river in South India. It flows through the state of Kerala and the coastal exclave of Mahé in Puducherry and the Azhimukham is the estuary of Mayyazhi River and Arabian Sea. This picturesque location of Mahe which flanked by blue wavy ocean and rippling Mayyazhi river. In otherwords Mayyazhi means Beautiful Estuary. The small and beautiful Tagore Park is situated here. Recently the Azhimukham location has been reconstructed with a walk way nearly 2kms long through the bank of ri
Pazhassi Raja Museum
26.36km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The memorial of Pazhassi Raja, the lion of Kerala.
28.98km from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathy Temple, the 14th-century temple dedicated to goddess Durga is located at the high hills of Valliyoorkavu, 3 KM’s from Mananthavady town in Wayanad district of Kerala. It is believed that the idol of the goddess is self-manifested. The temple is a prominent place of worship for tribal communities. The goddess manifests in three forms, ‘Vana Durga’ (forest goddess), ‘Jala Durga’(Water goddess) and ‘Bhadrakaali’ (The auspicious form of goddess Kali who protects the good).