The lush green forest of Chimmini has a magnetism that lures travellers to it. The forest cover in Thrissur district is one of the best gifts of nature to Kerala and one can enjoy the wilderness in its pristine form in this woodland.
You can reach Chimmini from Palapilly road near Varantharappilly, which comes after Amballur, on the Ernakulam-Thrissur national highway. Chimmini is nearly 25km away from Palapilly. As you drive through the road leading to Chimmini, the road will get narrower as you reach closer to the forest. Rubber trees on both sides would be hugging the road.
Many houses could be seen near the Chimmini dam, which is built across the Chimmini River. The Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary is situated around the dam and its office is in Echipara. Only people with entry passes are allowed into the forest. The forest department’s office is near the dam and a dormitory in its vicinity offers affordable accommodation.
If you are going to the forest after the rains, it will be lush green all around with a thick mist hanging in the air and the chirping of the birds will give a surreal touch to the whole natural setting. You could see the mountain ranges of Nelliyampathy at a distance. The natural charm of this enthralling place had been portrayed in Mammootty-starrer Malayalam film ‘Jawan of Vellimala’.
Congregation of little cormorants
The view from atop the dam is simply out-of-the-world. Another visual treat is the presence of scores of little cormorants near the dam. The Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 100 sq km of land on both sides of the dam. Chimmini, which is bordering the Vazhani, Peechi and Parambikulam wildlife sanctuaries, has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. People belonging to the Malayan tribe inhabit the forests in Chimmini. It may be noted that an eco-development committee had been constituted with 200 people belonging to the Malayan tribe as its members and the committee is implementing adivasi-centric eco-tourism projects in the region.
Home of butterflies
The silent night in Chimmini is very often punctuated by the high-pitched sounds produced by the crickets. It is worth noting that some of the sought-after species of butterflies could be found in the forests of Chimmini. Southern birdwing, India’s largest butterfly, Blue Mormon, the second largest butterfly of the Western Ghats, and Atlas moth, world’s largest nocturnal butterfly, were spotted in the verdant forests of Chimmini. It is also breathtaking to see sunrise from atop the dam.
Chimmini forest is a great destination if you are into trekking. While trekking through the wilderness, you will be able to spot many wild animals from Malabar grey hornbill to Indian giant squirrel. But guard against snakes as the trekking routes in Chimmini are infested with them. On the way you can also see mischievous monkeys squealing while sitting on tree branches.
Undoubtedly, a trip to Chimmini forest will do a world of good for your body and soul.