Aralam wildlife sanctuary is located in the Kannur district. To be more specific, on the Western Ghats region of the Kannur district. It is formed in the year 1984 when the Forest department of Kerala took over privately owned forests around the region.
It spreads in an area of over 55 square Kilometers. Most of this area is covered by forests of various types. This includes semi evergreen, moist deciduous and evergreen forests.
Plantations upto 490 hectares, comprising of Teak, Eucalyptus and cashew can be found in the lower plains.
As I mentioned about the Western Ghats region of the Kannur district on a previous blog about Kannur, Western Ghats region forms the boundary with the nearby Karnataka State.
The woods of the Aralam wildlife sanctuary extends to the Coorg (Kodagu) region of Karnataka.
Thus Aralam becomes one of the northern most wildlife sanctuary of Kerala.
A diverse array of plant and animal life can be found in the tropical forests of Aralam.
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.
The sanctuary is also home for rare species including Malabar Giant Squirrel or Flying Squirrel.
King Cobras are also known to exist here. This makes Aralam, a good place for reptiles as the reptile count in Aralam accounts for 22 different species.
Different endemic and exotic species of birds can be found here in Aralam. Over 188 types of bird species are found here. This includes, Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Blue Winged Parakeet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Broad Billed Roller and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon etc.
Over 144 species of butterflies can be found here.
The landscapes of aralam falls under various altitudes. You can find the Kattibetta peak, the tallest in Aralam, standing at a height of 1145 metres above sea level; meanwhile the lowest point is 50 meters from sea level. Thus, you can expect the impact of this steep difference in altitude in the vegetation and the landscapes.
The sanctuary region receives an annual rainfall of about 4000mm on an average. This helps in keeping the flora and fauna of the evergreen forest lush and it also ensures the presence of water bodies with the abundance of water. Cheenkannippuzha is considered as the main water body. It provides home for around 39 species of fish along with 23 species of amphibians.
ARALAM WILDLIFE SANCTUARY- IMPORTANT FACTS:
Nearest towns: Thalasseri – 70 Kms away, Kannur town – 70 Kms away.
Bus Station: Iritty Bus Station – 20 Kms away
Taxi / Auto Rickshaw Hire: Iritty Town – 20 Kms away
Railway Station: Thalasseri Railway Station – 70 Kms away
Airport: Calicut International Airport – 150 kms away.
Sanctuary visiting hours: 8 am to 4 pm
Ideal time to visit: October to May.
Aralam can be visited throughout the year. But it is better to avoid visiting during the monsoon season i.e. from June-August. Also, one must ensure that the park remains open during the time of visit as it may face fire-related restrictions
How to reach:
Thalasseri and Kannur towns are located at a distance of about 70 Kilometers from Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. Both these towns have railway stations and bus stations. The sanctuary is accessible only by road. You can use your own private transportation for visiting Aralam. You can also rely on public transportation, but you must know the timings.
Aralam – activities and details in brief
Aralam is a popular tourist destination. A lot of visitors arrive here. Apart from visiting here are the majour activities Aralam offers.
- Nature camps
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary visits
- Sanctuary timing for visitors: 8 AM – 4 PM every day.
- Valayamchal is the entry spot of the Sanctuary. Vehicles are permitted only upto the entrance gate.
- One can reach to the nearest office of the Assistant Wild life warden in case of assistance.
- Guide service can be availed at Valayamchal.
- Smoking, liquor and polythene bags will not be permitted inside the sanctuary.
- Advance booking facility can be availed from the Wildlife Warden’s office at Iritty or from the Assistant Wildlife Warden’s office at Valayamchal. This will be helpful if you plan trekking and nature camps.
Nature camps are conducted at the Aralam Sanctuary mainly for students. Usually 2 or 3 day camps are conducted here with an average of 40 participants. The nature camps conducted here are so popular that up to 60 camps are conducted every year. Nature camps for non-student groups have to be authorized by Chief Conservator of Forests.
Trekking to Meenmutty falls
Trekking to Meenmutty can be read in detail in one of our blogs here. The trekking to Meenmutti forms the most exciting part of the Aralam trip. The four hours long, 14 kilometres trekking offers the exotic beauty of the rain forests with the presence of a variety of endemic species of birds and butterflies along with the pure air and water.
After this thrilling trekking experience, one reaches at the Meenmutty Watch Tower. View of the water cascading from the high altitude, with the ambiance of the nature is an exceptional feel.
Central State Farm:
Central State farm serves as a local attraction at Aralam. it is located adjacent to the sanctuary. It is a government of India initiative to research and develop hybrid coconut seeds. It spreads in an area of over 3000 hectares.