Breakout At Anamalai Hills!

Anamalai

Hello All,

Anamalai Tiger Reserve is a forest area and grassland spread over the Western Ghats between Kerala and Tamilnadu border. The place is nearby Pollachi. This reserve is home to around 30 tigers and one may spot lion-tailed macaques, peacocks, langurs, leopards, deer, elephants, and crocodiles.

Anamalai Tiger Reserve hosts a variety of activities like Jeep Safari, Trekking, Photography, Nature-Watch, Bird Watching, and Jungle Ride.

Anamalai Tiger Reserve offers around 50 rooms that can be booked online.

Nearest Airport/Railway station is Coimbatore. 

We visited Anamalai during February this year. We were a group of six adults and two children. We drove down from Coimbatore to Topslip. The total distance was approximately 80 Kms and it took about 2 ~ 3 hours. We took this route :

(Coimbatore – Pollachi – Anamalai – Sethumadai – Topslip). 

Please note that there is a forest check-post at Sethumadai and it closes by 4 pm. One has to reach there on time failing which entry will be denied. An entry fee is charged depending on the number of persons, vehicles, and cameras. Carry anyone ID Proof.

Tourists can stay at the accommodation provided by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. You can choose from accommodation options like Treetop, Bamboo Hut, Chital house, Bison house, etc. across various ranges. We stayed at Pillar Top Hut for Rs. 3500/- per day (room rent only). 

You can check the booking details here – ATR POLLACHI

The accommodation was very basic. Our room had a single sofa plus one double bed. The rooms are were moderately clean but definitely needs better maintenance. The bathrooms were untidy and had insects/reptiles like moth/leeches. 

The charging ports in our room were defective and mobile network coverage was null. If you want to communicate with the outer world, you have to use BSNL. 

Food can be ordered at the canteen operated by a contractor and the food was hygienic, homely but tasty. 

Our group went on a one-hour jeep safari during the morning hours. The jeep goes from Topslip reception to Kolikamudhi Elephant Camp nearly 8 Kms. We spotted only basic animals only like peacock, deer, elephant, and bison. We didn’t spot anything fancy.

The safari route is fixed and honestly, I was disappointed. I think sighting animals or birds is by luck. The services offered by the ATR team is very pricey but not up to the mark. ATR is poorly managed and nothing is as advertised. The road was pathetic. The staffs are not supportive or helpful. 

The climate was pleasant and it gets misty in the mornings or late evenings. At night time, it was completely dark. We could hear wild noises. The overnight stay at the cottage was adventurous. 

I advise you to carry your own bedspreads, sweater, shoes, umbrella, water bottles, snacks, Power Bank, emergency lights or torches and medications. 

Valparai is in close proximity with many tea estates. You have to take the hairpin bends and you may see Nilgiri Tahr. 

Post this, we went to Aliyar Dam and Monkey Falls. Water flow was very less. 
Overall, we enjoyed the Anamalai trip only because we went as a group and got to spend quality time together. 

I would recommend Parambikulam instead of Anamalai. There is an island without electricity named Vettikunu 20km further where you can cook your own food. You can visit Parambikulam Dam, Kannimara Teak Tree, Paddy Plantations, Bamboo boat rafting and Water Falls on the other side of the island. Parambikulam is well maintained compared to ATR. Parambikulam is plastic free comparatively and has better roads but more pricey. You can also visit Athirapalli, Chinnar Sanctuary or Silent Valley instead. 

Maybe we visited Anamalai during off-season or summer and hence such an experience.