Aralam, the only wildlife sanctuary in Kannur district of Kerala, offers visitors some of the most beautiful views of the Western Ghats and an opportunity to experience nature at close hand.
Situated 54 km from Kannur city, the Aralam ecotourism centre has as its boundaries Cheenkannipuzha River on the south, the Brahmagiri mountain in Karnataka on the east, the Aralam farm on the west and the forests under the Kannur division on the north.
A must-see destination for all nature lovers, Aralam is rich in unique biodiversity that is endemic to the Western Ghats. The fauna includes over 200 varieties of butterflies, hundreds of bird species, the king cobra, Indian cobra, wild elephant, tiger, monkeys and others.
The butterfly wealth of Aralam needs special mention. The winged wonders migrate to the area during winter and reproduce in the valleys of the Western Ghats. They soon transform into butterflies before the monsoon. Butterfly lovers reach the wildlife sanctuary to study the life of these beautiful creatures, which include Southern Birdwing (Garuda Salabham) and 'Ratna Neeli.'
Several rivers, brooks and streams flow through the moist deciduous forests in Aralam. The most prominent among them is Cheenkannipuzha, the main tributary of the Valapattanam River. Incidentally, Cheenkannipuzha has probably purest water in a river flowing through the state.
Travellers heading to Aralam from the Kozhikode side can take the Thalassery-Koothuparamba road to reach the sanctuary. The most attractive part of the trip is a 15-km jeep ride from the entry gate to the Meenmutty waterfalls. What make the drive interesting is the experience of travelling along a winding path cutting through a thick growth of trees and vines skirting the Cheenkannipuzha River. Visitors can enjoy the sights of bamboo forests, forest brooks and centuries-old trees along the way. Hundreds of birds have made nests on these trees.
Aralam is considered the lifeline of Kannur and another attraction at the sanctuary is Ambalappara, its highest point at 1,576 m. Visitors can climb to the top of the watch tower near the waterfall here to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Aralam region. Along with it, amazing scenery of the Western Ghats too can be relished.