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There is a hidden part in all of us that revels in the great outdoors in silent commune with the vast spread of nature; a clear skyline, lack of pollution and absence of clamouring city sounds are more than enough to heal the senses and bring tranquillity to the mind. Getting away for a trip with family and friends is a great way to unwind and create memories; for the nature-lovers amongst you, a trip to the Mudumalai National Park is a trip into the land of bounties!

This park and wildlife sanctuary is strategically located at a tri-junction of three states, namely, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. With Bandipur Tiger Reserve to the north in Karnataka and the Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary in Kerala towards the west, the region forms a continuous wildlife habitat with the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu.

An interesting feature about this sanctuary is that while roaming through its vast expanse of over 321 km out of which the park covers 103 square kilometres, you can see transitions into three different types of forest vegetations. In the western Benne block, you get a feel of tropical moist deciduous vegetation which gives way to dry-deciduous and then to thorn-scrub towards the east; in certain areas, you can even see the vegetation types overlapping.

Tall and arresting ‘elephant grass’ coupled up with whispering bamboo grooves compete with the majestic teak and rosewood trees; naturally growing flowering trees and shrubs mix and match with fruit bearing trees like the ‘jamun’, jujube and wild figs. Riverine swamps further add to the variety of vegetation types.

The park is teeming with a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles and home to about 13% of India’s mammals. It’s a bird-watchers’ paradise as over 200 species of birds can be seen here, some of which are very rare. Endangered and vulnerable species including the tiger, gaur, leopard, deer, wild dog and elephants make this park their habitat.

The Mudumalai tiger reserve in the Nilgiri region is home to about 48 tigers and in an effort to reduce man-animal conflict, 350 families were evicted out of this area with monetary compensation given them. In the buffer zone of 5km, people still reside and work as trackers and forest guides. With its well-planned paths, the park is best explored in jeeps or open vans; with tree-houses and secret points near waterholes, you can enjoy the excitement of watching the animals unobserved! Theppakadu is the Reception Point of the park and can be accessed by roads from Mysore and Ooty through winding natural forests. All buses on this route stop here. The nearest railway station is in Ooty (67km away) while the nearest airport is in Coimbatore, 160km away.

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