Located in the Nilgiri Mountains, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is a bio-diversity hotspot. The sanctuary is home to over 580 species of fauna that includes 34 species of mammals and 29 species of snakes.
About 65 km from Munnar in Idukki district of Kerala, Chinnar is spread over an area of 90.44 sq km and is among the 12 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.
The sanctuary is home to over 965 species of flora. The vegetation mainly comprises of wet grasslands and south Western Ghats rainforests. The sanctuary also hosts large sandalwood forest.
Chinnar is an ideal spot for bird watching. The sanctuary hosts over 245 varieties of birds that include yellow throated bulbuls. Panther, spotted deer, hanuman monkey, common langur, Indian elephant, Indian star tortoise, etc. are some of the animals that can be spotted here.
The Manjampatti white bison, a type of gaur, in the park. The Manjampatti white bison are notable for their distinctive ash-grey color unlike the black color most gaurs have.
As one walks along Chinnar and Pambar Rivers, sights of grizzled giant squirrels are quite common. Chinnar and Pambar Rivers which flow through the sanctuary are important sources of water. The rivers are home to over 42 species of fishes.
Chinnar Reserved Forest was declared a protected area in August 1984. The area falls in Marayur and Kanthalloor Panchayaths of Devikulam Taluk in Idukki.
The spectacular Thoovanam waterfall located deep within the sanctuary adds to its scenic and wildlife beauty. The watchtower in the park offers stunning panoramic views of the sanctuary.
Chinnar is also home to 11 tribal communities which are settled in well demarcated areas within the sanctuary. Mutuvas and Pulayars are the main inhabitants of the sanctuary. They are mainly involved in the cultivation of maize, ragi and lemongrass.
Chinnar is also famous as it is among the few places in the world which can boast of dolmens. Erected during Neolithic period, Dolmens are believed to be tombs made of stones. Dolmens are found near Marayoors in clusters of two to five. Apart from overground dolmens, underground burial chambers have also been discovered in Marayoor. It is believed the dolmens in Chinnar were burial grounds for Adi Chera royal dynasty.
Acommodation options are very limited. Most tourists prefer staying at Munnar which is 65 km from the sanctuary. Chinnar is a one-day destination and most tourists club their visit to Chinnar with their visit to Munnar. However, there are a few accommodation options in the sanctuary itself. Apart from dorms and cottages, tree houses offer an exciting experience. There is no dearth of options to stay in Munnar. One can choose from luxury, budget, economy or resorts to stay at Munnar. Homestays are another option to stay in Munnar.
There are no eating options in Chinnar sanctuary. It is advisable to carry food hampers or ready to eat food items while travelling to Chinnar. The sanctuary remains open throughout the year. December-April is the best time to visit Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Munnar is as given below. The best time to visit Munnar is also specified.