Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghats covers an area of around 390 km². It is home to a huge range of wildlife including tigers, leopards, Asian elephants, macaques, langurs, wild boars, sambar deer, guar, and dholes (Indian wild dogs). In addition to wildlife, the reserve is the home of four different tribes including the Kadar, Malasar, Muduvar, and Mala Malasar. The reserve is managed through a participatory forest management scheme whereby local communities act as guides.
Average rating: 3.0 (good)
Average cost: a one day guided safari package costs around $40 while accommodation in the park costs around $50 to $160 depending on when you stay and what type of accommodation you choose (tents or treehouses).
Best time to visit: you can visit year-round but it’s generally better to avoid the monsoon season (June – August).
How to get there: Parambikulam is accessible by car from Coimbatore International Airport in around 2 hours. It can also be reached from the towns of Palakkad and Coimbatore, or the nearby railway station of Polacchi. More information is available on the park’s website.
Typical activities: 4×4 safari, animal watching, bird watching, boat trip, jungle trek
Number of reports: 1
Wildlife in Parambikulam
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the species visitors most want to see here include:
ASIAN ELEPHANT – 100% OF WildSide users (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Parambikulam is home to a large population of Asian elephants. You aren’t as likely to get up close and personal encounters as in Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka. However, the chances of sighting these huge creatures are still high. Reports of elephant sightings on TripAdvisor are relatively frequent year-round. When we visited, we stumbled across a herd of wild elephants gathered in a clearing in the forest at dusk. It was a magical experience!
LEOPARD – 100% OF WildSide Users (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
As well as tigers, the Parakbikulam reserve is home to an even larger population of leopards. One estimate put the total number of leopards at around 55, one of the highest in India. TripAdvisor reports suggest that leopard sightings are rare. Encountering these beautiful cats is possible, however. We saw one illuminated by the headlights of our 4×4 during a night safari. Unfortunately, the glimpse was fleeting due to the excited shouts from the other passengers! If you want to see leopards, WildSide recommends staying over in the reserve. Although it should be noted that the accommodation is basic and you may have to deal with rats chewing their way into your tent!
Macaque – 100% of WildSide Users (1/1) reported sightings
Parambikulam is home to both bonnet and long-tailed macaques. If you’re staying over in the reserve you’re almost certain to encounter the inquisitive bonnets. They’re often hanging around the campsite looking for food and generally causing mayhem. The more spectacular and endangered lion-tailed macaques are harder to find. These macaques occur in low numbers in the wild and are restricted to narrow strips of rainforest in the Western Ghats. A study of lion-tailed macaques in Parambikulam found that they are rare in the reserve and the best places to look are areas with higher canopy cover and less disturbance.
Tiger – 0% OF VISITORS (0/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1973 to protect wildlife in the biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats. The larger Parambikulam Tiger Reserve was then created, including this area, in 2010. The number of tigers in the reserve is estimated to be between 10 and 38 tigers. While reports suggest the population of tigers is healthy, there are very few recorded sightings. We couldn’t find any on TripAdvisor.
When we visited we saw plenty of evidence (scats, claw marks, recent kills) but no tigers. The lack of sightings may be due to the reserve not being set up to focus on tiger sightings. Each visit, for example, involves a guided walk, a cultural dance, a trip on a bamboo raft, and a 4×4 safari. The greatest chance for spotting tigers is on the foot safari but this is not typically done in the early hours when tiger sightings are most likely. If you do want to see tigers in the reserve, make sure you tell the guides and let them know you are up for an early start.
Wild boar – 100% of visitors (1/1) reported sightings
When exploring the jungle trails, wild boar are occasionally seen charging through the undergrowth on the lookout for seeds, tubers, and young plants to eat. Although wild boar are usually startled when coming across people, they can become aggressive, particularly when females have young. So make sure to keep your distance! If you are staying on-site in the reserve, chances are you’ll wake up to one snuffling around outside your tent.
Photo credit: WildSide team member Chris White