Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the southern state of Kerala, India. Situated in the Western Ghats, the sanctuary covers an area of approximately 128 square kilometers and is named after the Neyyar River that flows through it. Established in 1958, the sanctuary is known for its diverse flora, fauna, and scenic beauty.
The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. The sanctuary’s dense forests and hilly terrain provide a suitable habitat for animals such as elephants, gaur (Indian bison), sambar deer, sloth bears, wild boars, Nilgiri langurs, and bonnet macaques. It is also home to several reptiles, including snakes and lizards, as well as a variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts.
One of the highlights of Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre, located on the banks of the Neyyar River. The center focuses on the conservation and rehabilitation of the endangered mugger crocodile species. Visitors can learn about crocodile conservation efforts, observe crocodiles in their natural habitat, and even participate in feeding programs under the guidance of trained staff.
The sanctuary offers opportunities for trekking and nature walks, allowing visitors to explore its diverse ecosystems. There are well-marked trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, and viewpoints overlooking the Neyyar Dam. The popular trails include the Agasthyakoodam trek, which takes visitors to the highest peak in the sanctuary, and the Meenmutty Falls trail, which leads to a picturesque waterfall.
Boat rides on the Neyyar reservoir are also available, offering a chance to admire the serene surroundings and spot wildlife along the riverbanks. The sanctuary is surrounded by lush greenery, tea and rubber plantations, and scenic hills, providing a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts.
The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary also houses the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwanthari Ashram, a renowned yoga and meditation center. Visitors can participate in yoga sessions, learn about holistic healing practices, and experience the spiritual ambiance of the ashram.
Conservation efforts are a key focus of the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Kerala Forest Department and various organizations work together to protect the sanctuary’s ecosystem, preserve its biodiversity, and raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.
Overall, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a tranquil retreat into nature, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of Kerala’s Western Ghats and encounter its diverse wildlife. Whether it’s exploring the forest trails, observing crocodiles, or simply enjoying the peaceful surroundings, the sanctuary provides an opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the rich biodiversity of the region.