Silent Valley Trek is a detailed travelogue based on my trip to Silent Valley National Park, followed by the trek to Kunthi River from the Watch Tower.Located in the north-eastern corner of Palakkad, Silent Valley National park is one of Kerala’s treasured natural rain forests which has stood against human intervention and the never ending demands of the urban life (thanks to the environmentalist who stood firm against the hydro-electric power project which would have submerged 10-15% of the core zone). Divided into the core and buffer zones, it covers an area of 250sqkms and is home for many rare and endangered species of animals and plants. The Silent Valley National Park is the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is part of the western ghats world heritage site. Unlike the other forest you don’t get to hear the clamour of Cicades and thus the valley inherited the name “Silent Valley”
The main attractions of Silent Valley are its evergreen forest, biodiversity, Silent Valley Trek and the chance of getting face to face with wildlife. Other places of tourist importance include Attapady, Kanjirapuzha Dam, Siruvani Dam, Meenvallam and Attila Waterfalls.
Getting there and around
Silent Valley Distance Chart
Palakkad-55km | Shornur-72km | Cochin-198km | Coimbatore-104km | Peruthalmanna-50km | Kozhikode-120km | Mysore-260km |
Things to do
The main activities you can indulge in are sight-seeing, photography and trekking. You can also take a dip in the Bhavani river that flows through the back of the Silent Valley Information Center.
Things to carry
- Food /Snacks / Chocolates (Take care not to litter the place with food stuffs and plastics. Alcohol is banned and you can get into trouble if you are carrying it)
- Salt (To fight leaches)
- Thick socks and shoes
Silent Valley Trek -My Experience
I have been planning a trip to Silent Valley for long, and it had remained in my list of places to visit for quite some time. Finally last weekend I made it. My colleague had invited me along with others over to Mannarkad for his marriage and we sat together and came up with a weekend trip to Sirvani Dam and Silent Valley. I dint have the luxury to put in the entire weekend towards the trip and planned to join the team on Sunday for the Silent Valley trip followed by my friends reception party. We called up the DFO and got the permission for the visit.
I choose public transport this time to keep the total cost of the trip as low as possible. I booked tickets to Palakkad a day prior to the trip on Trivandrum Express (Train). I started off at 8:10PM from Trivandrum and reached Palakkad the next day by 3:30AM (was woken up by the alarm I had set on my mobile). From there, I hired an auto to Palakkad Bus Stand. There are prepaid autoes from the bus stand and they charged me INR60 for dropping (approx. 5km) me at the bus stand. I reached there by 3:50AM and by the time the bus to Mannarkad was already lying in the bus bay. I boarded the bus and it left Palalkkad by 4:20AM. I took the tickets and dozed off to be woken up by the conductor when the bus reached Mannarkad bus stand (around 5:15AM). I dropped in to the hotel (Emarald Hotel which is 5 minutes’ walk from the bus stand) where my colleagues were staying, freshened up and as a lot headed back to the bus stand to catch the bus to Mukkali. It was around 7:15AM when we boarded an ordinary bus to Anakkati .In another 45 minutes we reached Mukkali, the journey costs INR 18/person and is awesome, with lush greenery on either side and the bus wading through the misty roads. I have captured it in a short video which you can find at the end of the post. We had breakfast at Mukkali (the hotel is opposite to the bus stand) and headed towards the Silent Valley Information Center. After registering our names and making the payments at the information center we boarded the mini bus . You are not allowed to take your vehicles beyond the Information center and have to either use the mini bus or rent out jeeps.
The bus started off from the Information center at 9:00AM and took us all the way up the buffer and core zone (23kms) and eventually to the watch tower. On the way we saw the tribal settlement at Karuvara, couple of streams, semi evergreen forest , evergreen forest, exotic herbs etc. It grew cloudy and started drizzling midway, this brought down the chances of spotting any kind of wildlife, say sheer luck, we saw the Giant Malabar squirrel, Nilgiri langur, Hawk Eagle and many types of birds. We reached the watch tower by 10:45AM. It was raining heavily and we had to throw open our umbrellas to avoid getting wet while climbing the watch tower . The tower has three resting floors and you can see a panoramic view of the valley from there. Mist and fog had taken over the valley leaving behind few gaps to enjoy the scenery of the valley. We could see the Kunthi river from here . We spend some time on the top, waiting for the mist to clear, but did not have much luck. Finally we climbed down the tower and prepared for the 2km trek to the Kunti River.
The Kunthi river is one of the few fresh water rivers in Kerala. It starts form the Nilgiri biosphere and traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through the deep forest. The River Kunthi never turns brown and is always crystal clear, perennial and wild. We started off the Trek to Kunthi river at 11:00AM along with the guide and reached the end point by 11:45PM. The trek path is well defined and filled with leaches. Except for the endpoint it is very much monotonous . The Kunthi river has a hanging bridge over it and is the last point of the Silent valley trek. From the hanging bridge we can have a beautiful view of the river, but during our visit the entry to the hanging bridge was blocked. Yet I managed to capture the beauty of the place in the form of photos and videos. After admiring the beauty of the place and the crystal clear river, we headed back to the watch tower by 12:00PM. The trek back was boring, with no signs of wildlife around. We reached the watch tower by 12:40PM and drove back to the Information center.
We reached the information Center by 1:50PM. After taking some rest and having lunch we caught the bus back to Mannarkad by 3:00PM. We reached Mannarkad by 3:45PM and dropped in to the hotel. After taking some rest and changing to a new attire we went to attend our friends reception and from there headed to the Railway Station at Melattoor ( a building that really had a haunted look J ) . We boarded the train at 9:10PM, located our seats/berths and rested our heads and that all what I can recall ………. Come 6:00AM the next morning and we were back in Trivandrum.
Though the trip did not have the bells and whistles like the other trips that I have made, it was worth the pains taken. Silent Valley is definitely a treasure but it could have been utilized in a better way for adventure, camping, trekking etc. Don’t expect much out of the trip, I would recommend silent valley for nature enthusiasts and adventure seeking people who would like to spend a day , honing their luck to see and film wildlife as close as possible and to enjoy the forest.