If silence can be felt, there’s one place where its brooding presence is a reality. It’s none other than Kerala’s own Silent Valley, one of the most beautiful rainforests in the world. The evergreen forests, the lush growth and vast tracts of untouched land are what bring up the awe factor.
The place is a highly protected green zone because of its fragile ecosystem and the endangered species of flora and fauna that it is home to. This is also why only very few tourist footfalls are allowed here. If at all permission is granted, it has to come from the Forest Department.
In case you plan a trip to the valley you require prior permission from the department. You are then are required to report well in advance at the Forest Range office in Mukkali, 20 km away into the road to Attappadi from Mannarkkad.
A team from all over Kerala which recently went down the valley narrates how the place impacted them.
The first leg of the trip involved a study of sorts at the range office. It was a bid to create awareness about the valley, its ecosystem and natural habitats and to give visitors a behavioral code while inside the national park. The tour team then moved forward in the forest vehicles, accompanied by guides, guards, wildlife lensmen, cooks and others to the camp sheds inside the Silent Valley National Park.
The meaning of silence took on its true identity with each move of the vehicles. An hour and a half later, the team touched base at its first camp well protected all around by trenches. The department then brought up a slide show on the forests and its ecological set up. Everything inside the forest is charged up by solar energy.
Everyone looked forward to day two, when trekking was on the cards. The excitement was fine, but not the trekking. The five-km walk was extremely arduous, to put it mildly. But the sights around this stretch of the green-rich Western Ghats were awesome.
Silent Valley is a study in contrasting landscapes. Peaks as high as 2,400 metres and valleys as low as 100 metres, are in their pristine form, untouched by civilization’s pollutants. Silent Valley still retains its indescribable identity as one of the world’s finest rain forests solely because human interference here is forbidden. Another feature that sets it apart is the presence of rare varieties of plants and animal species.
Day three brought them to the core area of the park, right inside the depths of the forest. The core area stretches eastward from beyond the Bhavani Valley to Attapadi and northwards to the mountains beyond Koyilpara and finally to the forest stretch outside the park to the banks of the Chaliyar.
Silent Valley is home to the lion-tailed monkey and the flying squirrel. Some of the world’s rarest species of bird, animal and plant life can be found only inside this rainforest.