Kareem Park in North Kerala manifests the steely determination of a person to convert rock ridden barren hillside to a forest.
Located in a remote place called Puliyamkulam in the North Keralan district of Kasaragod, it draws plenty of fans.
Since purchasing the first five acres of land in 1979, P. Abdul Kareem never gave up his dream although it took several decades for stars to align in his universe.
They were the decades of hard work. He regularly
carried the much needed water in containers tied on to bike. He then
watched saplings and budding leaves drying one by one in the harsh
Years passed. The green dream remained too distant. The former expatriate worker in the Arabian Gulf had spent a big chunk of his savings on his pet project.
Today, well into the third decade, visitors arrive to India’s first man made forest-park with multiple intentions. Tourists and nature enthusiasts reach here to see Kareem’s wonderland and talk to the man. Ayurveda folk find it as a sanctuary of rare medicinal herbs. Environmental researchers get curious about what they think is a nature’s miracle.
Kareem is happy to assist with seeds and saplings to whoever needs them. Well, the man who created a 32 acres forest has nature at his heart.
Vegetation of trees, shrubs and medicinal plants total 300 species. Wild growth overtime attracted insects, butterflies, birds, reptiles and other animals to it.
Trekking trails are well and ready for those want to explore deeper into the woods.
Kareem and his family live in a cottage within the forest.
Mother earth did her part as Kareem worked to transform the dry rocky wasteland to a forest. He started keeping water to attract birds. Many came for the drinking water and laid seeds around.
Leaves accumulated and formed humus. The build up disintegrated rocks and overtime converted it to fine soil. Water also showed up.
Nowadays sources within the forest provide drinking water to about 100 families in the water scarce neighbourhood. How incredible!
Kareem park (aka Puliyamkulam Park) has gained recognition as an eco tourism destination. Agricultural research organisations praise it as Puliyamkulam model and Kareem model. Featured in India inspired advertising series, this man made forest is regularly visited by botanists, agricultural scientists and environmentalists.
Kareem’s Park is at Puliyamkulam village near Parappa in Kasaragod. It is located alongside the highway between Kasaragod and Payyannur.
The park can be contacted at - firstname.lastname@example.org
Location : North Kerala
District : Kasaragod
Nearest towns : Nileswaram at 30 Kms and Kanhangad town at 23 Kms
Bus Station : Kanhangad at 23 Kms
Taxi / Auto Rickshaw Hire : Kanhangad at 23 Kms
Railway Station : Kanhangad at 23 Kms
Air port : Managalore Airport at 73 kms
Food Options : Restaurants at Kanhangad town.
Accommodation Options : No accommodation available near the sanctuary. Stay choices at Nileshwaram and Kanhangad.
Best time to visit : October to May. Can be visited anytime during the year.
Nearby Attractions : Kappil beach, Bekal beach and fort, Ananthapuram Temple, Anandasramam, Nityanandasramam, Adoor, Ajanoor, Chandragiri fort, Edneer Mutt, Kottencheri Hills, Kanwatheertha Beach, Nileswaram Palace, Valiyaparamba backwaters, Thejaswini River Rafting and Ranipuram.