The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, now also declared a Tiger Reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), in Nilgiri District, about 160 km (99 mi) north-west of Coimbatore in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala states in South India. Mudumalai, which means 'first hills’, is one of the first wildlife sanctuaries established in India. The sanctuary is divided into 5 ranges - Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota.
Here one can often spot herds of endangered Indian elephants, vulnerable Gaur, and Chital. The sanctuary is a haven for Bengal Tigers and Indian Leopards and other threatened species. There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered species like the Indian White-rumped Vulture and the long-billed vulture.
The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi)6,000), including all of Mudumalai National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The Mudumalai Sanctuary is as an important wildlife habitat due to its strategic position as a Wildlife corridor between several other protected areas that are a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. To the north is the Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National Park. To the west is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and in the south are Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley National Park. To the east is the Segur plateau which connects to the Sathyamangalam Reserve Forest and Biligirirangan Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. These parks and the adjoining Reserve Forests cover over 3,300 square kilometres (1,300 sq mi) of forest supporting a population of 1800-2300 elephants.
The elevation of the sanctuary varies from a minimum of 960 meters (3,150 ft) m to a maximum of 1,266 meters (4,154 ft). The sanctuary has a tropical savanna climate or tropical wet and dry climate that corresponding to the categories Aw and As of the Köppen climate classification. Rainfall ranges from 790 mm (31 in) to 2,000 mm (79 in).
Attractions in the park include:
Moyar River running through the dense forest is a good place to see animals when they come to drink water from the river.
Moyar River Gorge, also called the Moyar Canyon, is a dramatic 20 km (12 mi) long gorge dug out by Moyar River, which plunges into the gorge below Theppakadu in a roaring water-fall popularly known as Moyar falls.
Elephant Safari and Van Safari, conducted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, depart from park headquarters at Theppakadu
The Elephant Feeding Camp where one can interact with elephants and see how they are fed. The captive elephants in the sanctuary are no longer used for timber extraction work, since these areas are managed exclusively as protected areas. The elephants are engaged mainly for Eco-tourism, patrolling for anti poaching operations, to control Man-Elephant conflict outside the sanctuary or other areas and as a conservation and training center for elephants which can be visited by public.
Museum near the Elephant feeding camp is where some animals who once lived in the Mudumalai Jungle are preserved.
Kallatty falls located 30 km (19 mi) from Theppakadu, is a beautiful falls with a breathtaking view.
Pykara Lake - Located 40 km (25 mi) from Theppakadu is a clean and scenic lake situated between the hills. It is an isolated lake free from pollution and crowds. Boating is conducted here. An annual summer boat race was introduced to this lake in 2008.
Welcome sign to Mudumalai National Park, 5km from Theppakadu on Mysore road
Bandipur National Park: Bandipur National Park is known for its tiger population. Also, the park shelters some of the most rare and endangered species of wildlife. Bandipur National Park is one of the protected areas within Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats.
Wayanad Sanctuary: This sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. It is bestowed with lush green forests and rich wildlife. It houses some of the rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna. The sanctuary comes under Protect Elephant and one can spot herd of elephants roaming in the area.
Masinagudi: There are night safaris in open top jeeps arranged by resorts and guides who are freely accessible in Masinagudi. The night safaris are conducted on the peripheral roads running through the adjoining forest and not into the park. Such night safaris are illegal and create disturbance to the animals of this region. There was a recent incident of a French tourist being killed by a wild elephant when she went on one such safari.