Located in the Western Ghats of God’s Own Country, Muthanga is bio-graphically one of the flourishing regions of peninsular India. The sanctuary which is a part of the Nilgiris Forest Reserve was established in 1973 and is enroute Wayanad from Mysore. Sandwiched between mesmerizing hill stations and spice plantations and bordered by Bandipur on the northeast and Mudumalai in the southeast, the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary houses a diversified flora and fauna, which is one of the best bets to catch a glimpse of Asia’s largest elephant population. Embarking on a Muthanga wildlife sanctuary safari you will also come across other wildlife this semi-evergreen, swampy, lush deciduous forest houses. These include include tigers, panthers, jungle cats, civet cats, monkeys, wild dogs, Hanuman Langur, Slender Loris, wild Bisons and Malaman Sambar deer to name a few.
The fertile deciduous forest of Muthanga with various Eucalyptus, Maruthi, Karimaruthi, rosewood, Venteak and Vengal trees play a perfect host for numerous birds like peacocks, babblers, cuckoos, owls, woodpeckers, jungle fowls, butterflies and various other insects. With numerous watering holes, Muthanga has a stupendous population of pachyderms and hence has been declared a Project Elephant site in 1992 to create conversation awareness among local people, and to enhance to veterinary aid for captive elephants.
Ranked among the top 10 places to visit in Kerala, the best time to visit this meadow is around October to May. Summers might not be suitable for exploring this lush beauty as there is a high risk of forest fire, as the temperatures raise upto 35°C. Unlike monsoons which raises the humidity levels of the place, winter (October to February) is the perfect time for an adventurous trek or a bumpy safari to explore Muthanga. To have a complete experience of the mysterious and mesmerizing forest of Muthanga, a good 2 to 3 days is necessary as there are lot more to Muthanga than lush deciduous forests.
The 13th century Jain temple, which also served as a warehouse of ammunitions for Tipu Sultan’ army is a delightful ancient architecture to watch. Adding to this are the Ganapati temple which dates back to 8th century and also the Maariyamman temple which was a temple built as a goodwill gesture by the famous Pazhassi Raja thanking God for aiding him fight the British. For the folks who need a good combination of adrenaline rush and peace, Chethalayam waterfalls is a good bet. A trek of 4 km through the rocky terrain of Muthunga gives way to a smaller yet beautiful, untouched, unspoilt Chethalayam waterfalls which cascade from a height of 30 m. Also at a ride of half an hour is Wayanad, which is one of the most targeted tourist attractions in Kerala.