5 Amazing Ecotourism Destination In Tamil Nadu (2021)
When you think about planning your next vacation, ecotourism might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. What is ecotourism, you may ask? Well, ecotourism is a new concept of tourism that is nature-based. It is educative and also ensures that the best use of environmental resources is carried out, while at the same time, producing viable economic opportunities for all the host communities involved.
If you want to understand this concept of ecotourism, then a trip to Tamil Nadu is a must, which is one of the first states in India that has opened up its doors for ecotourism.
What All Is Included In Ecotourism?
Ecotourism activities include mangroves, biosphere reserves, coral reefs, mountains and forests, deserts, flora and fauna, lakes, rivers, seas, and even caves. Tamil Nadu is located in the southern part of India. Even though the biggest attractions of this state are the impressive and intricately carved temples, Tamil Nadu is also blessed with natural beauty.
Tamil Nadu has an abundance of beautiful nature in the form of wildlife sanctuaries, forests, hill stations, and its long and biodiverse coastline. All these locations provide immense opportunities not just for ecotourism, but also for adventure tourism.
To begin the task of setting up Tamil Nadu as a potential ecotourism destination, the state government, in cooperation with the Government of India, identified various development aspects from within the tourism industry that can be included in a plan for ecotourism. A host of projects were identified and developed at multiple destinations within the state, which were already popular tourist destinations. Several new and upcoming destinations were also identified and designed to offer tourists more facilities for staying more comfortably and luxuriously. There is a vast diversity of landscapes in Tamil Nadu, and the wide range of animal and plant life also made this state a perfect destination for ecotourism.
Today, there are many tourist destinations that attract tourists for ecotourism in Tamil Nadu, including Ooty, Yelagiri, Yercadu, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Kodaikanal, and Velliangiri Hills.
Places to Visit for Ecotourism in Tamil Nadu:
1. Mudumalai Sanctuary
At the top of the ecotourism list in Tamil Nadu is Mudumalai Sanctuary. This sanctuary is located amidst the hills and covers over 320 square kilometers. The wildlife reserve is a shelter for deer, wild elephants, gaurs, and langurs, along with predator animals such as leopard, tiger, and the Asiatic wild dog (locally known as dhole).
The reserve also has a massive population of birds such as the Hornbills, Mynahs, Parakeets, Tiny-Eared owl, Barbets, the Great Black Woodpecker, Scops Owl, the Crested Hawk Eagle, and the Crested Serpent Eagle.
The Mudumalai sanctuary lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills, around 150 km north-west of Coimbatore. This sanctuary is a very important wildlife habitat. It is of strategic importance because it serves as a wildlife corridor between various other protected areas and makes up an essential part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It is also known as the Madumalai Tiger Reserve, and there are around 48 tigers living here, making this a protected area.
2. Annamalai Sanctuary
Close to the Mudumalai Sanctuary lies the Annamalai Sanctuary. This is another famous wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and is also known as the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to wild boars, elephants, gaur, sambar, muntjac, chital, and the giant squirrel. The leopard is also one of the more visible predators of this reserve. The Common and Nilgiri Langur, the Bonnet, and the Lion-tailed macaque are also found here.
Annamalai sanctuary has a rich birdlife and it’s a treat for all bird watchers as you can glimpse varied species such as the Malabar Whistling Thrush, Grey Jungle Fowl, Malabar, and Great Pied Hornbills, Malabar Trogon, and the Ceylon Frogmouth.
The Annamalai Sanctuary is located in the Annamalai Hills of the Western Ghats and is spread over 958 sq. km. For ecotourism purposes, there are treks that take place by jeep or foot. The best time period to visit this sanctuary is between February to June.
3. National Deer Park
Another top ecotourism destination in Tamil Nadu is the National Deer Park. It is believed to be the only place in India where you can still find a considerable number of the endangered species of deer, the Indian antelope known as the Black Buck. In fact, the Deer Park and the Madras Snake Park, are today supported by the Worldwide Fund for Nature to further promote the purpose of ecotourism in Tamil Nadu.
The Nilgiri Hills are one of the oldest and second-highest mountain range in India, just after the Himalayas. It is part of the Western Ghats and home to the famous Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Not only is there a wide and varied flora and fauna here, but it is also renowned for the purpose of trekking. There are also many walking tours that are regularly organized for tourists who are accompanied by guides through these beautiful hills. There are many forest trails that snake their way through the Nilgiris, crossing the beautiful blue lakes, milky and frothing waterfalls, huge dams, massive water reservoirs, rich green meadows, many tea plantations, and giant eucalyptus trees. The scenic beauty that surrounds the trekking trails in Nilgiris is what makes this place a highly popular destination for ecotourists from all over India.
5. Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
Located around 90 km southeast of Thanjavur, this is another important part of ecotourism in Tamil Nadu. Situated near the Palk Straits, the Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit as you will also get to see the Palk Straits that separate Sri Lanka and India by a mere distance of 28 km. The sanctuary is popular for the abundant flocks of migratory waterfowls that come here, as well as flamingos, mynahs, and barbets.
There are many other ecotourism spots that dot Tamil Nadu, including the Gulf of Mannar Marine National park and Biosphere Reserves, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, the Kukkuruthi National Park, and many others.
Ecotourism is the tourism concept of the future, and if you want to tread the offbeat track while taking in the breathtaking natural views of Tamil Nadu, then an ecotourism tour of this state is a must.