Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary

The beautiful evergreen state of Kerala lies enclosed by the Western Ghats on the western side and by the emerald blue-greens of the Arabian Sea on the eastern side. Located about 32km from its capital city, Trivandrum lies the scenic Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It consists of around 12800 hectares of untouched natural vegetation that is home to an exotic variety of flora and fauna.

This breathtaking nature lovers’ paradise is a great weekend getaway for the residents of Trivandrum city who want to take a break from the steel and concrete panorama of city life and get up close with nature. Tourists visiting Trivandrum are indeed very lucky too as there are a host of natural tourism spots here including several scenic beaches, backwater cruises, lakes, cool hills and of course, the huge dams and reservoirs.

The Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary is one such feature located in the southeast of the majestic Western Ghats and covers an area of about 128km2 of pure, natural beauty. It includes the drainage basin of the Neyyar River along with its tributaries, the Mullayar and Kallar Rivers. There are a number of features here to be enjoyed including a tall watchtower to delight in breathtaking views of Mother Nature at her best, a crocodile rehabilitation center, a deer park and even a lion park on one of the secluded islands in the reservoir.

There are several options for those who love trekking too; it also provides opportunities to view the local flora and fauna abounding in this part of Kerala. Aside from the elephants, Slender Loris, sloth bears, barking deer, Nilgiri tahr, bonnet macaques, langurs, tigers and leopards, there are hundreds of other fauna to capture your interest too. This is also a birder’s paradise with over 176 species of birds found here. You could go for a one-day or two-day guided trekking trip to the Meenmutty waterfalls or even go climbing up the 1868m–high Agasthyakoodam hill which is a popular picnic spot. A variety of ayurvedic medicinal plants grow on its slopes and the green meadows here offer superb enchanting views. It’s a popular eco-tourism spot too and a part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve.

But if you are looking for more tame fun, you could always opt for a guided boat tour of the huge Neyyar reservoir. The soft, cooling breeze over the placid water surface interspersed with mysterious green islets is great for reviving and rejuvenating city-bred souls. You could stay over at the much-sought-after Raviz resort at Kovalam while you enjoy all that Trivandrum’s surroundings have on offer.