Thoovanam Waterfalls in Munnar’s Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
“Experience a treasured trek toward the stunning Thoovanam Waterfalls to see the Pambar River cascade down and to the east between the tree-line the banks of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary”
Hike Duration: 3 hours | Total Distance: 8 kilometers | Fitness level: Medium
Enjoy the waterfall, wading or swimming, birdwatching, spotting rare animals, and exploring the native flora and fauna of the region.
Chinnar Forest Description
The forest you will walk through is a dry deciduous or riparian type. It includes many trees plus grasslands and plains. It has a varied elevation with hilly terrain, small cliffs, and rocks of various sizes. This diverse ecosystem is the home of many different types of birds, insects, and animals.
As you walk beside the Pambar River, you will go under many sandalwood trees. They rise majestically from the sorting shrubs below. You will get a true sense of adventure when you walk in to these places where few people go outside of these organized treks.
Highlights of the Experience
➜ The drive to the wildlife sanctuary takes you through tea plantations, sandalwood forests, and other interesting locations.
➜ An experienced and knowledgeable tribal guide will lead you through the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, tell you about the varied plant and animal life, and answer questions.
➜ Explorer history at the prehistoric Muniyara stones, dolmens, and tombs.
Enjoy the Adventure
Experience the beauty of nature up close when you head to the forests for an adventure in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The property is not only home to numerous bird and animal species, but over 965 types of flowering plants. Also, Chinnar has been named a World Heritage Site due to the 11 tribal villages found there. This patch of wilderness and native land lies just 45 kilometers from Munnar in the Idukki district.
The pristine stretches of nature invites you to take part in a 4-hour hike down its numerous lovely trails. Open your eyes to the exotic foliage and flowers, scenic vistas, and unique birds and other wildlife going about their lives in the forest. The adventure even begins before you reach the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The ride there leads through the Marayoor Sandalwood Forest.
Choose either a 5:00 AM early morning trek or a 2:00 PM afternoon one.
Walk under the high branches of the Wildlife Sanctuary’s many trees to spy plants and animals you have never seen before. They include jacaranda, spathodea, and wild poinsettias. Scattered amid the wilderness are picturesque tea plantations. You may have a hard time deciding what to take a photograph of first, but do not worry. You have enough time to capture it all.
Every tour group is led by an experienced and knowledgeable tribal guide. These people live in the area and have a special communion with the land and all that lives on it. They know which exotic plants to point out and how to spot the birds and beasts hidden among the foliage.
Open your eyes and ready your ears to experience all there is to see and hear in the Chinnar forests and fields. If you are lucky, you might even spot spotted dear, grizzled giant squirrels, gaur bison, or a tufted grey langur. Do you love colorful birds? Feast your eyes on stately egrets and herons, parakeets, pipits, and orioles, among other species. You might even see a vulnerable mugger crocodile or an Indian Star tortoise
When at last the excitement of the day is through, the comfortable vehicles will return you to your hotel. One last stop is sure to thrill your sense of adventure. On the way to Munnar, the tour group pauses for an exploration of Muniyara, a prehistoric area with impressive stone dolems and rock painting from the Neolithic Age. Archeology and anthropology experts have long studied this area for clues about its former inhabitants. If you choose the 5:00 AM trek, this spot is visited on the way to the preserve.
What a perfect day! Not only do you get to view the sandalwood forests, tea plantations, and glimpses of everyday life in the area but you also have hours in the gorgeous Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary amid exotic plants and animals, and a visit to a prehistoric site of interest.
All together, it adds up to a day that will not be forgotten easily!
1 – For the 2:00 PM hike in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, we will leave the hotel at 11:00 AM promptly. We will pick you up and drive approximately 50 kilometers to the Sanctuary. Everyone must check in as a group at the first check post.
3 – When we reach the Alampatty Forest checkpoint, we leave the vehicle and continue on foot. Your guide will be a member of the Alampatty tribes who handle all the ecotourism in the area. They are well-known for taking expeditions to the beautiful Thoovanam Falls and the dolmens sites.
This trek through the forest is suitable for people of moderate physical ability as it climbs and descends over several deep paths and crosses two streams. On either side of the path lies dense undergrowth with thick foliage. If you keep your eyes open, you are sure to see some pretty minivet and bulbul birds and a view different species of butterflies.
Other possible inhabitants of the Chinnar and Pambar areas include the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel (Ratufa Macroura) and the legendary “White Bison of Manjampatti,” which is an albino bison spotted in this area. The wildlife sanctuary holds many interesting species. It also supports the cultural heritage of nearby tribal societies like the Muthuvans and the Hill Pulayas.
5 – The excursion group will stay at the waterfall for some time to enjoy the views and delightful water. It is a good opportunity to rest before tackling the return journey. When it is time to go, your experienced guide will lead you to the ancient Madathala Rock Shelter. People who lived in this area eons ago painted the rocks with unique artwork here. You can also spot dolmens along the way. Chinnar and nearby Marayoor have multiple sites with dolmens and rock paintings that you can explore on another trip.
The return hike to the Alampatty check post takes approximately one and a half hours. This is longer than the hike to the falls because your group will stop more frequently to rest in the shade, have a drink or snack, and relax your tired muscles.