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, 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. 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.
Average rating: 3.0 (good)
Average spend per person: $360
Number of reports: 1
Best time to visit: September – May
Typical activities: 4×4 safari, animal watching, bird watching, boat trip, jungle trek
Wildlife watching in Parambikulam
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen around Parambikulam are as follows:
ASIAN ELEPHANT – 100% OF VISITORS (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, 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 VISITORS (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
As well as tigers, the Parakbikulam reserve is home to an even larger population of leopards. One estimate puts the total number of leopards at around 55, one of the highest in India. TripAdvisor reports suggest that leopard sightings are rare. We only found a total of 18 sightings. 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!
Tiger – 0% OF VISITORS (0/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1973 to protect the wildlife in the biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats. The larger tiger reserve was then created, including this area, in 2010. The number of tigers in the reserve is estimated to be anywhere 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.