Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Peppara Dam Rd, Kerala 695551, India
A dam-site with its beautiful tiny islands and a sanctuary with thick forest covers
Location of Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
More about Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over an area of 53 square kilometres, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary situates on the Western Ghat Mountains, fascinating its visitors with the views of a dam-site, thick forest areas and rocky terrains. The sanctuary extends to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the south and Agasthyakoodam Biological Park in the eastern sides and is home for about 13 tribal settlements.
The sanctuary consists of the Peppara dam and the surrounding forest areas that were created after the commissioning of the dam. The sanctuary acts as the catchment area of the dam, and 10% of sanctuary is submerged by it. The elevation of the sanctuary ranges from 100 meters to 1,717 meters. The major peaks at the sanctuary are Chemmunjimottai (1,717m), Athirumalai (1,594m), Arumukhamkunnu (1,457m), Koviltherimalai (1,313m) and Nachiyadikunnu (957m).
Wildlife at Peppara Sanctuary
The sanctuary has a rich population of animal and plant life. The forest types include tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen, deciduous, and swamp forest. There are 43 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians and 27 species of fishes reported at the sanctuary.
The common mammals found here are Tiger, Leopard, Sloth bear, Elephant, Barking Deer, Bonnet Macaque, Nilgiri langur (a type of old world monkey), Nilgiri tahr (an endemic ibex species) etc.
Peppara Dam with its amazing views
Peppara dam is constructed over Karamana river and it sits in a corner of the sanctuary offering amazing views of the lake and the islands it created. The dam was commissioned in 1,983 to provide drinking water to Thiruvananthapuram City. The dam situates in an area of 5.8 square kilometres. Previously, another dam- Aruvikkara, downstream of Peppara provided the water for the city’s needs. Aruvikkara dam is a small one and can only hold up four days of water required for the city. Hence, Peppara dam was constructed on the upper reaches of Karamana river to act as a water bank for the small dam below.
Since the water requirement of the city is ever increasing, there are plans to increase the size of both the dams. However, as a direct consequence, portions of the sanctuary will be submerged. The dam is also used to generate electricity- Kerala State Electricity board operates a 3MW small hydro electric power station at the dam site.
Exploring the sanctuary and its attractions
The road to the sanctuary is narrow and full of twists and turns. Both the sides have Eucalyptus plantations, some of which are already harvested for their woods. The route also gives glimpses of mountain ranges that are part of the Wester Ghats. Once at the entry point of the sanctuary, you will have to walk half a kilometre to reach the Peppara dam. You can walk across the dam to the forest areas of the sanctuary on the other side.
The dam site provides a breath taking view of the lake created by it, the tiny islands on the lake, and of the forests. There is also a path to walk down to the foot of the dam. The forests on the other side of the dam constitute the major part of the sanctuary and it extends to Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Agasthyakoodam Biological Park. If you have special permission from the wildlife warden at Neyyar (+91 8547602970), it is possible to explore and trek through the forests of the sanctuary as well.
From the dam, you can walk to the lake side. There will be small islands in the lake that get submerged when the water level is high. These tiny islands are covered by tall trees and when the water level is low, some of them will be connected to the mainland. If the pathway is visible, check with the dam authorities to know if it is safe to walk to the island. Be careful about the large amount of mud in the lake floor, it is a swampy area.
Getting to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
The sanctuary is located in Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala State in Southern India. Nearest village is in Vithura, 10 km away from where you will have to take a taxi to reach the sanctuary. Vithura lies midway of Thiruvananthapuram- Ponmudi route through which buses ply in both the directions. The nearest major railway station is at Thiruvananthapuram, connected well with rest of the parts of the country.