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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mukurthi - where the mountains touch the sky!

At an average height of 8000 ft the “Mukurthi National Park” is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's first International Biosphere Reserve . I first went to this area in the late 1970’s. It was love at first sight. Three decades later, the place still gives me the same high!

Mukurthi National Park, Nilgiris, Tamilnadu, India

Few words can describe the magic of Mukurthi. I will keep it that way. The drive into the hills along the narrow winding road is breathtaking. A complete contrast even when compared to the smallest human settlement. As you look at the pristine landscape unable to hold back the song that springs to your lips the low clouds slowly engulf you making the visibility zero, the song however stays!


The original settlers of the Nilgiris were the Todas. Many thoughts spring to mind when you stand on the Mukurthi Peak and think of the Todas …

About the toda hut...

Mammal sightings...

Though Tigers, Panthers and Elephants are known to inhibit this area, most abundant and easily seen in the area are the Sambar Deer. We saw over a hundred of them. This area is also the habitat of the Nilgiri Thar. We trekked up a large peak in the hope of spotting some Thars, but the visibility from up there, at that time, was zero. We were however happy to come across a couple of Gaurs on our drive back to camp. Also, we could easily see and photograph The Nilgiri Langur right outside our rest house at Avalanchi.

Gaur at Nilgiris!

Some Wild Flowers...

As we stood at a “view point” ogling at the unfolding hills, we could not help getting carried away by the variety of wild flowers that dotted the landscape. The first Rhododendron of the season, an orchid and some more!

The first Rhododendron of 2008!

A Oriental White-eye feeds at Nilgiris!

In search of endemic birds...

Some endemic birds like the Nilgiri Pipit were high on our wish-list. After some hard work, we were rewarded with sightings and photographs of some birds of the region including a couple of endemics listed below:


Please visit to view some of these images..

Landscape - Seeing is believing!

The most fascinating part of a visit to Mukurthi is the unique landscape. Thick Shola and open grasslands interlinked! The real glory of this area is best experienced on foot.

All in a day's work!

17th September, 2008. This “one full day” we spent at Mukurthi was indeed refreshing. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. GS Bhardwaj for intiating this trip. Giri Cavale was of course at his usual best, driving, spotting, recording and photographing. The four of us had a roaring time!

Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj is an IFS officer of the Rajasthan Cadre. One day he got wind that a Tiger was creating panic in a human habitat in his area. He decided to take some action and led a team in search of the tiger. Suddenly he was face-to-face with the tiger! While, the rest of the team took to their heels, the tiger pounced on Gobind! He was left for dead. Today, several years later, he has fully recovered and is leading life with a roar! You can still see the entire “pug-mark” on his back!

Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj

Do check out his recent book - > “Tracking Tigers In Ranthambhore”

We had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Rajiv K Srivastava at Ooty who happily gave us the required permission to enter Mukurthi. Thank you sir! Dr. Srivastava is an IFS officer and the Field Director of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Mukurthi National Park. While in the park we could see men vigorously getting rid of the non-native tree specie “Acacia mearnsii”! Surely an indication of the field director’s passion at work.

We also had a pleasant meeting with Ms. Mita Banerjee, IFS., District Forest Officer, Nilgiris South Division, who helped us with accommodation at the Avalanchi Forest Rest House. Many thanks Madam.

That’s all Folks!

Vijay Cavale
September, 2008