The Silent Valley National Park, with an area of 90 sq. kms, is situated in the north eastern corner of the district. It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri Plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills above, an altitude of 2000m., traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through a deep gorge. River Kunthi never turns brown; it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.
The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent valley National Park, is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history. Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries.
Sairandhri Vanam, meaning the forest in the Valley as referred to in the Mahabharatha and the river Kunthi give a mythological dimension to the National Park. The Silent Valley is seldom silent; it has an inexplicably unique character about it, with the dense forest, the music of the birds and its quiet majesty. The forest belongs to the biogeographical class of the Malabar Rain Forests and harbour about 1000 species of plants. The flowering plants here include 966 species belonging 134 families and 599 genera. The dicotyledons are 701 in number distributed among 113 families and 430 genera; monocotyledons are 265 distributed among 21 families and 139 genera.
The valley has a far representation of all peninsular mammals. They are Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Tiger, Leopard (Panther), Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, Common Plam Civet, Small Indian Civet,Brown Plam Civet, Ruddy Mongoose, Stripe necked Monogoose, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Otter, Flying Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Indian Pangolin (Scaly ant eater), Porcupine, Wild Boar, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Gaur and Elephant. Birds include rare species such as Indian Black-crested Baza, Bonellis Hawk Eagle, Rufous Bellied Hawk eagle, Shaheen Falcon, Short-Eared Owl, Penisular Scops Owl, Ceylon Frog Mouth, Great Indian Hornbill, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, House Marin, Rufous Bellied-Shortwing, Malay Bitten etc. About 170 species have been recorded, of which 31 are migrants.
The tropical evergreen forests occurring within a narrow strip above the equator is perhaps the most endangered natural habitat. Extremely fragile, it has suffered most from human interference. In species diversity, it is the richest habitat. That there is very little soil erosion and that the rains are transformed into perennial streams and rivers may be attributed to the thick canopy and closely packed tree stumps. In fact, scarcity of water is rarely felt. The evapotranspiaration from these forests is much higher than from any other surface. This cools the atmosphere, helping easy condensation of water vapour-the orgin of the much-awaited summer rains.
Driving directions - Cochin to Silent Valley National Park
Road Way : 270Km | Aprox. time- 4 hrs