National Parks and Sanctuaries : Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, Mudumalai is flanked by Bandipura Tiger Reserve and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary. This contiguous forest, forming one of the most extensive ranges for the Asiatic Elephant, is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and covers an area of appr. 2000 With its varied topography and rainfall pattern from West to East, this Park has vegetation types ranging from moist deciduous to dry deciduous and dry thorn forests. Mudumalai is best known for its Elephants and herds of these are quite commonly seen along the National Highway which bifurcates the Park. Other mammals commonly encountered are Gaur, Chital, Sambar, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Common Langur, Bonnet Macaques, and Giant Squirrels. The Dhole is the most visible predator and is found in packs varying from 2 to 25 individuals. The Sanctuary is open throughout the year, but the monsoon months are best avoided and also the driest months of April and May, when the Park staff are engaged in fire fighting.
Mudumalai has a rich and varied history. These teak-rich forests were originally temple property (belonging to the Raja of the Nilambur). Logging began here in the early nineteenth century when it was leased to timber merchants. The lease was transferred to the Government in 1862 for a reported annual rent of just Rs.3500/- ! In 1914 Mudumalai became State Government property and in 1927 it was declared a Reserve Forest.

The first step towards protection was initiated in 1940 when an area of approximately was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary. The Second World War, however, intervened and a jungle warfare training camp was established here to prepare troops for the fighting in Burma. The remnants of this can still be seen today and has reportedly been used by Wild Dogs whilst shifting dens with their pups. In 1977, Mudumalai along with a part of the Sigur Range was reorganized as a Wildlife Sanctuary covering a total area of 321

This tract is drained by the Moyar, which flows through the Sanctuary and then turns east to form the northern boundary between Mudumalai and Bandipura. The Mysore - Udhagamandalam (Ootacamund) highway that runs north to south, splits the Park.

Mudumalai is situated in the Nilgiri Hills of the state of Tamil Nadu and is bordered by Bandipura Tiger Reserve to the north and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary to the west. This contiguous forest, forming one of the finest and most extensive ranges for the Asiatic Elephant, is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and covers an area of approximately 2000

Wildlife Sanctuary - 217.76
National Park - 103.24
Total - 321.00

Latitude: 11°33' - 11°39' N
Longitude: 76°23' - 76°43' E
Elevation: Approximately 1000 metres (3280 feet)

Annual rainfall - Mudumalai receives most of its rainfall from the South West monsoon which commences in May and continues till September/October. The NorthEast monsoon also causes some precipitation, but this is very light. Due to the topography, the amount of rainfall varies through the area, with the western part of the Sanctuary receiving heavy precipitation but the eastern part, lying in the rain shadow, receiving considerably less. This results in a strong west-east gradient, with average rainfall ranging from 2300 mm-900 mm. (90-35 inches)

Temperature - Temperatures range from 14°C (57.2°F) to 35°C(95°F) with the coldest month being January and the hottest, May.

The varied topography and resulting rainfall pattern from West to East has resulted in vegetation types that range from moist deciduous to dry deciduous and dry thorn forests.
The moist deciduous forest is generally composed of Laegostroemia microcorpa,Terminalia crenulataSyzigium cuminii, Teak (Tectona grandis), and Bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea).

Shorea roxburgiTerminalia crenulata and Anogeissus latifolia dominate the dry deciduous forest found mainly in the northern part. The southern part mainly has Teak (Tectona grandis). 

The eastern part of the Sanctuary, which adjoins the Sigur plateau is characterized by thorn and scrub forests. The trees are stunted and grow poorly with Zizyphus and Acacia species being predominant.

Trees such as Ficus sps., Mango (Mangifera indicaTerminalia arjunaSchleichera oleasa, along with Bambusa arundinacea are found along water courses like the Moyar and its tributaries.

Mudumalai is best known for its Elephants (Elephas maximus) and herds of these are quite commonly seen along the National Highway which bifurcates the Park. Visitors encountering Elephants along the Highway are advised to maintain a safe distance and give these herds the right of way. Under no circumstances should visitors alight from their vehicle or disturb the animals by honking or shouting, as this can be very dangerous.

The other herbivores commonly seen include Gaur (Bos gaurus), spotted deer or Chital (Cervus axis), Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Barking Deer or Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Three species of primates are found here - the Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus), the Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata) and the slender loris (Loris tardigradus). Amongst the predators, Tigers (Panthera tigris) and Leopards (Panthera pardus) are occasionally seen. Possibly, the most visible predator is the Indian Wild Dog or Dhole (Cuon alpinus), which is found in packs varying from 2 to 25 individuals in a single group.

Almost all visitors to Mudumalai will see a few Giant Malabar Squirrels (Ratufa indica) and Sloth Bears (Melurses ursinus) are also quite easy to see. If one is extremely lucky one may spot Mouse Deer (Tragulus meminna) or Chowsingha (Tetracerus quadricorn)


The diversity of habitat is reflected in the richness of birdlife which includes species such as Malabar Blue Winged Parakeet, the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Malabar Great Black Woodpecker, the Crested Serpent Eagle, the Crested Hawk Eagle to name a few.

Amongst reptiles the Common Cobra, Indian Rock Python, and the Common Krait are found here. Calotes (garden lizard) are very visible and if one is lucky, one may even see a Draco (flying lizard), or a Chameleon. There are Mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) in the Moyar, but beyond the tourism zone. Soft shell turtles are seen basking on logs by water bodies and the star tortoise is also reported from the area.
Best time to visit
Throughout the year (except between June and August). The Sanctuary is likely to close during the driest months of April and May, when the Forest Department staff are engaged in fire fighting

How to get there
By Road : Udhagamandalam (Ootacamund) – 64 km via Gudalur (open throughout) or 36 km via Kalhatti Ghats (short cut). Your vehicle has to be in good condition to negotiate 36 hair pin bends. Kalhatti Ghat road is closed between 8 pm to 6 am. The highway through Bandipur Tiger Reserve is closed between 9 pm to 6 am.
Nearest Rail: Mysore (90km) is well connected by rail to Bangalore and Chennai. It is possible to either hire a taxi from Mysore or take the bus to Ootacamund which stops at Theppakadu where the Park reception is located.
Nearest Town: Gudalur - 16 km
Nearest airport: Coimbatore 164 km


The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has accommodation in Forest Rest Houses at Theppakadu, Kargudi, Abayaranyam and Masinagudi. Prices for these range from Rs.25/- per head for a bed in a dormitory to Rs.300/- for a suite with 2 beds. The caretakers of the lodges can provide simple and basic meals, but it is advisable to travel with dry rations. Masinagudi is a flourishing little township where one can buy just about anything from Mineral water, soft drinks to meals at the local eatery.

For booking and further information on the Forest Department facilities, contact

The Wildlife Warden
Mount Stuart Hill
Udhagamandalam - 643 001
Ph : + 91 0423 44098

A personal visit to the reservation office in Udhagamandalam is necessary to confirm your bookings.

Apart from the Forest Department accommodation, there a number of private lodges situated outside the Park, which cater to different budgets.


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