Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KALAKAD–MUNDANTHURAI TIGER RESERVE









Kalakad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), once largely a reserve forest, became a Tiger Reserve in 1988. This Reserve at the southern end of the Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot, is a veritable home of ecological and biological diversity. It has about 150 localized plant endemics, and 33 fish, 37 amphibian, 81 reptile, 273 bird and 77 mammal species. KMTR also protects the catchment of numerous rivers, which supports the agricultural economy of three adjacent districts. This fascinating Reserve, and the unparalleled encouragement from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, has over the decades attracted numerous biologists, who have studied in detail various species of the Reserve. The Reserve has enormous potential for future research and conservation of biodiversity and endangered species such as the tiger. Tiger conservation in the southern Western Ghats should have landscape-level planning and the suggested Megamalai–Kalakad Tiger Conservation Unit offers an ideal framework to turn this suggestion into a reality. KMTR is an excellent illustration of how research and management need to go hand in hand to achieve conservation objectives.



Conservation History



Papanasam Reserved Forests and Singampatty Ex-zamindari Forests of Tirunelveli District were declared Tiger Sanctuary in 1962. The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 came into force in the state of Tamil Nadu in 1974. All the existing Sanctuaries were deemed sanctuaries under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The entire Kalakad Reserved Forests was notified sanctuary in 1976.

These Sanctuaries formed part of the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, the seventeenth Tiger Reserve in the country, created in 1988-89. Initially, it comprised of two adjacent wildlife sanctuaries of Kalakad and Mundanthurai in district of Tirunelveli to which parts of Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserve Forests (Approx. 77 sq. km.) of adjacent district Kanyakumari, were added in April 1996. The area of the Reserve is 895 sq. km.

Kalakad Mundanthurai comprises of 665 sq. km. Reserved Forest. About 230 sq. km. of Singampatty Ex-zamindari Forest is not yet declared as Reserve Forest under Section 16 of Tamil Nadu Forest Act 1882. The legal status of this forest is Reserve Land under the Act.


 Census

  
Species
1997
 
 Tiger
 73
 Leopard
 79
 Jungle Cat
 1755
 Wild Dog
 1718
 Elephant
 N.A
 Gaur
 232
 Sambar
 1302
 Chital
 1966
 Tahr
 8780
 Wild Pig
 187
 Mouse Deer
 172
 Sloth Bear
 123
 Lion tailed Macaque
 37
 Bonnet Macaque
 61
 Nilgiri langur
 61
 Bonnet Macaque
 61
 Common Langur
 61
 Slender loris
 61
 Giant Squirrel
 61
 Crocodile
 61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



















Friday, October 3, 2008

Courtallam

picturesque surroundings with the backdrops of cloud capped spurs of the western ghats lend an unusual charm to the falls. The rapturous scene of the falls gets heightened by the cool breeze that wafts during seasonal months (June to September) along with intermittent drizzle and sunlight. There are eight places where water pours down torrentially with varying velocity and force according to the height of the precipice. They are Main Falls, Five Falls, the Shenbhaga Falls, the Tiger Falls, old Courtallam Falls, Honey Falls, Orchard falls and Sitraruvi. It is an excellent health resort.

Visitors to this place like to have bath in these falls from dawn to dusk. One can have bath at anytime in a day and one would not get sneezing or cold as the water is said to possess medicinal qualities of the herbal plants grown in this mountain. Those suffering from rheumatic joints, chronic headache, nerve disorder get cured by a lengthy stay at Courtallam.



















Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pabanasam & Karayaru


Papanasam (42 Kms)

This holy place is on the western ghat of Pothigai Hills. It is close to the Papanasam Falls, on the banks of the Thamiraparani river where Siva and Parvathi appeared before the great saint Agasthiya.Hence the falls is popularly called the "Agasthiya Falls". To commemorate the visit of the divine couple, the Agasthiya temple was built there.























Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nambi Malai


On the hills close by stands a small temple dedicated to Lord Nambi called Malai Nambi with a panoramic view of the village below. This hill is called Nambi Malai (Nambi Hill).




History of Nambi Malai

        AT  the  foot of the Mahendragiri hills  on  the  western

ghats and on the banks of the river Nambiyaru lies the sleepy
village of Tirukkrungudi, the abode of Narayana. In the ``Varaha
Purana'' the Lord speaks of His sojourn in this holy village.
Thus this place derives its name ``Kurungudi'' the smaller abode
of Narayana. This centre is also called ``Dakshina Badri.'' While
at Badri in the north, Narayana preached the ``Tirumantram''
through ``Uttara'' a human being for the salvation of the
entire commnity, it was at Tirukkurungudi that Saint Sri Ramanuja
gave his sermon on ``Tirumantram'' to the Lord Himself.

Temple worship is a way of life in the south and
tradition has an important place in the life of its people.
Historical evidence shows that the close links between Hindu
temples and Tamil literature dated back to several centuries.
Tamil life cannot be visualised without the temples. The fanes of
Tamil Nadu are unique for their close association with many
saints and their hymns. The tradition of singing hymns in temples
has been an established practice. Sri Ramanuja, the Vaishnavite
acharya, who propagated the ``Visistadvaita'' philosophy codified
certain rituals in temple worship and made it obligatory to
recite the great hymns of Alwars Divya Prabhandam in temples
along with Sanskrit scriptures.

The temple at Tirukkurungudi is dedicated to Lord Nambi,
called Sundara Paripurnam in Sanskrit and Nambi Narayan in Hindi.
As the name signifies there is no equal to the beauty and
fascination of the deity and He is beauty personified. The
majestic mools vigrahas are in different postures of standing,
sitting and lying. These huge idols are carved of stone with
application of natural colours and decorated with gold leaves as
per our agama rituals. Nammazhwar the foremost amongst the
Vaishnavite saints, is considered to be the incarnation of Lord
Nambi. Nammazhwar, Periazhwar, Tirumazhisai Azhwar and Tirumangai
Azhwar have chanted hymns in praise of Lord Nambi in the ``Divya
Prabhandam.''

A shrine for Lord Siva is installed inside the temple
besides the main shrine of Lord Nambi, and the deity is called
``Pakkam Nindrar'' and this has been immortalised in his hymns by
Tirumangai azwar. After worshipping Badri Narayana and Lord
Ranganatha, Tirumangai azwar attained salvation at the feet of
Lord Nambi. For upholding and preaching Vaishnavism Saint
Ramanuja founded at Tirukkurungudi ``Sri Perarula Ramanuja Jeer
Swami Mutt'' which governs the temple. Kaisika Ekadasi falling
during the Tamil month of Karthigai is of importance in this
temple as also Vaikunta Ekadasi at Srirangam, and attracts
thousands of pilgrims. The presiding deity is taken round on
different vahanams during the annual brahmotsavam. p73

At one time 18 families of Arayars were performing the
traditional art of chanting the name of the Lord gestures, and on
one occasion Lord Nambi himself witnessed the scene appearing as
a Srivaishnavite. Pleased by the devotion the Lord gave salvation
to all the members of the Arayar families. In recognition of
their services a bell is installed inside the sanctum. A huge
carvedbell presented by the Kerala king Aditya Verma in 1468 AD
is also found in the temple. On the hills close by stands a small
temple dedicated to Lord Nambi called ``Malai Nambi,'' with a
panoramic view of the village below.

An interesting stone inscription is found on both ends of
the south mada street, of an agraharam having been built by a
British officer, Mr. Livings who was the Collector of Tirunelveli
during 1849 A.D. The early temples were built in the form of
mandapam for the sanctum. Later the arthamandapam, mukhamandapam
and mahamandapam were added to meet the growing need for rituals
and festivals. The temple at Tirukkurungudi has a collection,
intricate carvings with exuberant details rich in different
styles of the Pandyan and Nayak dynasties. Superb wood carvings
are found in the tiers of the temple tower. Large stone carvings
at the Rati mandapam and Veerappa Nayak mandapam exhibit
intricate details. The masterpiece is the carved Narasimha
performing the ``Hiranya Vadham.'' The mastery of the artisan is
visible on the walls of the main tower and special mention is of
a piece depicting the trading between India and the Persian gulf.


Photos of Nambi Kovil



Lord Nambi




















Kalakkad


Kalakad

Situated at about 45 Kms South West of TIRUNELVELI at the foothills of The Great Western Ghats. Kalakad is very famous for the LION TAILED MONKEYS, ELEPHANTS and WATER FALLS (Fondly called as Karungal Kasam and Thenga Uruli). It has a big lake called Thamaraikulam (meaning Lotus Pond) which sustains the farming activities throughout the year.

The whole village is surrounded by Paddy and Banana fields with the
Western Ghats on the Western Side giving a lively atmosphere for nature loving people


Important Places around Kalakad:

Nanguneri: 12 Kms East -> has the nearest Rail Facility
Valliyoor: 25 Kms South East.
Nagercoil: 40 Kms. South East.
Tirunelveli: 45 Kms. North East. -> District Head Quarters.-> Gateway to Chennai.

Papanasam: 35 Kms. North
Courtrallam: 40 Kms. North -> famous for
Water Falls.
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