Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kannur District is the northern most
Wildlife Reserve of Kerala. It is located on the western slopes of
Western Ghats mountain ranges.
Located near to state’s border, the woods of this sanctuary extend into the neighboring Karnataka state as the forests of Coorg (Kodagu).
Aralam Sanctuary covers 55 square kilometres of diverse forests- evergreen, semi evergreen and moist deciduous. Plantations of teak, eucalyptus and cashew intersperse forests, in the lower plains. They take up about 490 hectares.
Landscape of hills and slopes vary sanctuary altitude levels significantly. The lowest point is just about 50 meters from sea level. Steeply slanting up, altitude reaches about 1145 meters at Katti betta, the top peak.
Tropical forests of Aralam Sanctuary support diverse plant and animal life.
About 23 species of mammals spotted here include Sloth Bear, Mouse Deer, Elephant, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar and Gaur.
Leopards, Tigers and other Wild Cats are also present though they are hard to be sighted on a typical sanctuary visit.
There is some chance that you may stumble upon something interesting as Malabar Giant Squirrel or Flying Squirrel. These rare species and other types of squirrels have made this sanctuary their home.
There are 22 species of reptiles including the deadly King Cobra, to make your visit to Aralam a bit exciting.
Bird enthusiasts love Aralam WLS because of the 188 types of birds found here including scores of endemic and endangered species. Those attract our attention include Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Blue Winged Parakeet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Broad Billed Roller and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon.
Flying around displaying a touch of beauty are 144 species of butterflies.
Yearly rainfall of about 4000 mm creates an abundance of water bodies within the sanctuary. Several mountain streams unite and form river Cheenkannippuzha, the main water body.
Conditions have been conductive to developing thriving fish population. Sanctuary waters support 39 species of fish. Also found in association are those 23 species of amphibians of Aralam.
Besides creating water bodies, mighty rainfall also ensures lasting wetness. As a result, visitors to Aralam experience freshness, amidst rain forest teeming with flora and fauna.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary was formed in 1984 subsequent to Kerala Forest Department taking over privately held forest properties of Odanthode region. They created three divisions- Narikkadavu, Aralam, and Chavachi - which unitedly form wildlife sanctuary of Aralam.
Iritty - Sanctuary Head Quarters
Wildlife Warden’s office is at Iritty, a small town 20 km away from the sanctuary. Located nearly 55 Kilometres from Kannur, Iritti town seats a Government guest house. There are several private lodges, hotels and restaurants in Iritty.
Day visit to Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is the usual activity. For those who want to take things a bit further, adventurous treks and nature camps are offered.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary visits
Visitors are permitted every day from 8 AM till 4 PM.
The entry spot is located at Valayamchal at the south west corner of the sanctuary. Vehicles can reach up to sanctuary’s entrance.
For any assistance, Office of the Assistant Wild life warden is close by.
Guide service is available and can be arranged at Valayamchal.
It may be worth mentioning that smoking, liquor and polythene bags are not allowed within the sanctuary.
Are you planning to visit Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary? Advance booking, while necessary to get into treks and nature camps, is preferable for regular day visits as well. It can be done by contacting Wildlife Warden’s office at Iritty or Assistant Wildlife Warden’s office at Valayamchal.
Wildlife Warden’s office- Contact Info
Ph: 91- 490-2493160
Aralam Sanctuary conducts Nature camps chiefly for students. They are so popular that up to 60 camps are conducted every year. These are 2 or 3 day camps with average of 40 participants. Nature camps for non-student groups have to be authorised by Chief Conservator of Forests.
Trekking to Ambalappara
Spending a whole day negotiating with tough terrains amidst deep forest, trekkers settle for night at Ambalappara Watch Tower, 25 kilometers away. Taking into consideration great odds and risks, five watcher-guides usually accompany a group of six tourists.
The next day is set for immersing in pristine delicacy of the surroundings while getting carried away by the rhythm of the rainforest.
Return trek to Valayamchal premises takes up the third day.
Moving through areas heavily inhabited by wild animals, adventure lovers have the perfect opportunity to spot many. Noises being a big turn off, disciplined treks invariably produce better results.
Trekking to Meenmutty falls
After trekking 14 kilometres through rain forest, tourists settle overnight at Meenmutty Watch Tower.
Lighter than Ambalappara treks, the theme here is enjoying pristine rain forest. Chilling out at the waterfall is the delightful highlight of this jungle trip.
Captivated by sights, smells and sounds, Meenmutty trek culminates in a joyous sense of refreshment.
Central State Farm
A local attraction at Aralam is the Central State Farm. Located adjacent to the sanctuary, it spans over a commendable 3000 hectares. It is a government of India initiative to research and develop hybrid coconut seeds.
Stay at Iritty is the usual choice. A PWD guest house, private loges and hotels cater to varying needs and budgets.
For those not contend with staying 20 kilometers away, Valayamchal guest house near the entrance of the sanctuary, is the perfect solution. Guest house have two bed rooms in addition to a dorm with 50 beds. Booking well in advance, though, may be necessary to get in there.
How to reach
Thalasseri as well as Kannur are located at equal distance of 70 kms from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary.
Aralam can only be reached by road. Own transport is preferable, than relying on public transport to visit this remote sanctuary.
Location : North Kerala
District : Kannur
Nearest towns : Iritty – Sanctuary H.Q at 20 Kms, Thalasseri at 70 Kms, Kannur town at 70 Kms
Bus Station : Iritty Bus Station 20 Kms
Taxi / Auto Rickshaw Hire : Iritty Town at 20 Kms
Railway Station : Thalasseri Railway Station at 70 Kms
Air port : Kozhikode Int’l Airport (CCJ)at 150 kms
Food Options : Restaurants at Iritti town.
Accommodation Options : Hotels and lodges at Iritty and Peravoor. Guest house at Valayamchal
Best time to visit : October to May. Can be visited anytime during the year except rainy season (June-August). Check for any fire related restrictions before travel
Sancury visiting hours : 8 am to 4 pm
Nearby Attractions : Kannur Town (Shopping & eating),Parassinikkadavu (Snake Park), Arakkal Palace, Valapattanam, Thodeekulam Siva Temple, Pazhassi Dam, Moppila Bay, Payyambalam Beach, Dharmadam Isle, Muzhappilangad drive-in-beach and Pythal Mala.
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