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Tourist Places To Visit In Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Anamalai Tiger Reserve makes up a large part of the wooded regions of the Western Ghats that have been declared reserved forests for the endemic flora and fauna that inhabit these regions. The Reserve Forest has several hills that lie at altitudes of about 1,120 ft to 8,240 ft above msl. There are several peaks like the Akka Malai and Thangachi Malai that are undulating grassy slopes, bounded by dense Shola forests. The virgin grasslands and woods are home to several indigenous tribes as well as a plethora of exotic animals like deer, elephants, crocodiles, leopards, plenty of birds and the elusive tiger.
Nestled within its own boundaries, the Anamalai Tiger Reserve has a number of places to visit, not to mention the picturesque towns, with temples and enchanting view points that lie not far away.
Here’s a list of the significant touristy places of Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
Topslip is the Reserve Forest in a small portion of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve ranges. Topslip lies at an altitude of 2554 ft and promises an enchanting view of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve that encircles it. Interestingly Topslip gets its name from a history of Colonial rule, when the East India Company found forests of enormous teak trees that could be used for shipbuilding, as fuel for locomotives and for railroad tracks. A new method of carrying the cut trees downhill was devised and the trees were cut up, and slipped or rolled from the top and carried away by timber lugging elephants.
You could climb up to Mt. Stuarts Hill to pay your respects at the tomb of forest officer Hugo Wood, whose mission in life was to regrow the deforested teak plantations in Topslip.
Visit Topslip for its views and for the Kozhikamuthi Elephant Camp.
Valparai is a quaint little town that has Anamalai Tiger Reserve on its northeast and Parambikulam Tiger Reserve on its northwest. Known fondly as the Seventh Heaven, Valparai is renowned for its lush verdant hills and wild forested areas. There are a number of dams in and around Valparai, coupled with several beautiful waterfalls including the well-known Chinna Kallar, one of the wettest regions in India in tune with Cherrapunji and Mawsymram. Carver Marsh and Loams View Points give a breath taking vision of the misty hill peaks and fertile valleys.
A trip to Valparai from Anamalai Tiger Reserve makes a worthy holiday getaway. Valparai is about 50 km from the Tiger Reserve, via Aliyar Dam.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve
One of the best hotspots of wildlife conservation in the Western Ghats, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve has diverse zones and several species of native flora and fauna including elephants, leopards and tigers. The thickly wooded regions with several fresh water streams, is one another interesting place you should visit.
Parambikulam flanks the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, on the Anamalai to Nelliampathy ranges in Palakkad in the state of Kerala.
According to legends, it was at the hermitage of Sage Athiri near the Thirumoorthy Hills, that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva appeared before Anusuya, the chaste wife of Sage Athiri as toddlers. The Amanalingeshwara temple is a Panchalinga sthala, where Sage Agasthya is said to have worshipped Shiva. Nestled snugly at the foothills of the vast Thirumoorthy Hills, the Amanalingeshwara Temple where the gods are worshipped as children, is a must see.
A stream runs along the temple, formed by the beautiful Thirumoorthy Falls located close by. About 2 km up the foothills is the Panchalinga Falls that cascades down most abundantly during the monsoons.
Amanalingeshwara Temple is about 50 km from Pollachi on the road from Palani to Coimbatore and around 80 km from Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
Subrahmanya Swami Temple
The east facing Subrahmanya Swami temple has the chief deity Subrahmanya seated on the pedestal with his consorts Valli and Deivasena on either side. The speciality of the temple is that the idol of Subrahmanya and the peacock are carved off the same stone. Built during the reigns of Kings Kongu Sundara Pandian and Kongu Thirbuvana Chakravarti Vikrama Chola as Thiruvahateshwaramudayar temple for Shiva, the temple later came to be called Subrahmanya temple. There are shrines for Shiva and Rama with his consort Sita as well.
Subrahmanya Swami temple is open from 7.00 am – 10.00 am and from 5.00 pm – 8.00 pm. The temple is in Pollachi, at about 65 km from Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
Masani amman Temple
Set against the backdrop of the Anamalai Hills and encircled by lush fields is the temple for Masani amman, considered one of the most powerful deities of the region.Legends say that in ancient times Anamalai was ruled by a chieftain who promulgated strict laws of justice. One day a young girl, accused of collecting mangoes from his orchard was sentenced to death and fearing the wrath of the gods, a shrine was later erected for the young misjudged girl, who was considered an epitome of Parvathi.
Known as Mayana Sayani or Masani, the Goddess is said to be a protector from ailments and witchcraft. The Neethi Kal (Stone of Justice) placed in the temple has offerings of ground chillies, which is said to help recover stolen goods and cure diseases.
Masani amman temple is about 15 km from Pollachi.
Karamalai Annai Velankanni Church
Karamalai Annai Velankanni Church, modelled on the Nagapattinam Velankanni Basilica, sits on a hillock inside a tea plantation. Surrounded by the lush green undulating slopes, with the only sounds of chirping birds and a misty atmosphere, Karamalai Annai Velankanni church is an absolutely serene place to stop over for prayers and meditation. The stream that runs along by the church and the Iraichi Parai waterfalls upstream are so appealing and pictorial. Check out the Karamalai Balaji Temple located close to the church.
The church is about a kilometre from the Karamalai tea factory at Valparai and a little away from the Karamalai tea factory bus stop.
Amaravathi Sagar Crocodile Farm
Amaravathi Dam was built across the Amaravathi River in Anamalai Tiger Reserve region at Tiruppur district. The dam that was primarily built for flood control and irrigation purposes has a reservoir which has a large population of mugger crocodiles, Indian flap shelled turtles, cormorants and otters.
The Amaravathi Sagar Crocodile Farm, that was founded in 1976 is said to be one of the largest crocodile farms in India. Croc eggs are collected from the nests along the banks of the reservoir and hatched and reared at the farms. There is a park with steps that can be climbed up to get a good view of the Anamalai and Palani hills and of the plains and the reservoir below where the muggers can be spotted, basking in the sun.
The Crocodile Farm is located close to the Amaravathi Dam and is open to tourists from 9.00 am – 6.00 pm. The Crocodile Farm is about 25 km south of Udumalpet and about 90 km from Anamalai Tiger Reserve.