Indira Gandhi wildlife sanctuary is the largest and most famous sanctuary in Tamilnadu. It is located in the Western Ghats of Annamalai. This sanctuary sprawls across the area of 958 sq.km and is the source of water for the nearby agricultural fields.
The tribal communities living in the sanctuary are Kadar, Malasar, Malai Malasar, Muduvar, Pulayar and Eravalar. They participate in the management as Forest watchers and Anti-poaching Watchers.
The flora of the sanctuary is estimated to be 2000, among this 30% fauna are considered to have high medicinal values. And there are also more than 100 species of ferns, grasses, palms, and canes.
This sanctuary is a home to lakhs of fauna and many endangered species. We can see a wide varieties of herbivores including elephant, gaur, Sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, nilgiri Tahr and wild boar. There are also Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Indian Fox, Leopard-cat and Jungle cat. You can also see Sloth Bear, Small Indian civet, Toddy cat, Ruddy mongoose, Stripped-necked mongoose, Common Otter, Smooth Indian Otter, Nilgiri marten, Indian Flying fox squirrel, and Indian Giant Squirrel.
This sanctuary is a paradise to millions of birds, so far there are about 300 species of birds.
As you stroll through the verdant forest you will be surrounded by the merry notes of these birds. The most prominent birds found here are Crested Serpent Eagle, Spot-bellied Eagle, Black Eagle, Crested Gohawk, Rufous bellied Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Owl. Grey Jungle fowl, Painted Bush quail, Red Spurfowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, Brown-backed Needle tail, and Mountain Imperial Pigeon. This sanctuary is an apt place for the bird watchers.
This sanctuary is a safe haven for many endangered and endemic species of reptiles and amphibians. Some of the important ones are Travancore Cane turtle and Travancore tortoise, Marsh Crocodile, Common Indian monitor, Kerala Forest Terapin,. Travancore Cane turtle, Forest calotes snake, Sand snake, Olive keel back, Water snake and Bronze bark tree snake.
The amphibians include narrow mouthed frogs like the Microhyla, tree frogs like the Malabar gliding frog, Green tree frog and toads like the Bufo beddomi, Bufo melanostictus. The insect diversity is amply demonstrated by a wide variety of butterflies and moths found here. It is very rich in grasshoppers, mantises, beetles, flies, ants, termites and spiders (arachnids), which play an important role in eco system sustenance.
Indira Gandhi sanctuary is very diverse and different. Be it the climate or topography we can see lots of diversities. Within this sanctuary there is plains, mountains, rivulets and verdant jungles. This sanctuary is a feast to our tired eyes and a sweet stroll inside the forest will rejuvenate all our worn out cells. Be it a tourist or anthropologist, this sanctuary serves its best and never fails to entertain all.
Best time to Visit
Moderate warm climate almost through the year makes it attractive destination throughout the year but the best time to visit would be December to April.
Topslip can be easily reached from Pollachi(35 kms) near Coimbatore. There are many busses running to and fro Pollachi to Topslip.
Nearby places to visit:
Topslip is one of the tourist’s favorite destinations. This lovely place offers best natural scenic and has got many activities to do. There is elephant ride, jeep ride, hiking and trekking. This hill serves as the best spot for getaway and is widely visited by nature lovers. Nearby Top Slip is an elephant camp.