Brahmagiri Sanctuary The 181 sq. km. Brahmagiri Sanctuary offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Karnataka's Western Ghats, with its dense forests liberally sprinkled with dozens of waterfalls. Several endangered species are found here, most notably, tiger, elephant, gaur, dhole, leopard and Nilgiri langur. Sensible land-use policies that keep modern 'development' projects such as dams at bay are essential if the area is to be preserved.
The Brahmagiri Sanctuary is one of four Protected Areas in Karnataka's forested Kodagu district. The habitat ranges from lowland rainforests 40 m. above sea level in the Makut range to high altitude shola-grasslands 1,607 m. above sea level in the Srimangala Range. Bordering Kerala, part of it is contiguous with the Aralam Sanctuary. A corridor connects it to two other sanctuaries in the west and to Wyanad and Nagarahole in the north. Elephants from Bandipur, Nagarahole, Mudumalai and Wyanad migrate to this region from time to time. The area is famous for the beautiful Iruppu falls, a major tourism revenue generator.
The Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary is located in the Kodagu district and is part of the Western Ghats. It has evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, as well as shola-grassland habitat. The Sanctuary is surrounded by agricultural fields and coffee plantations. The eastern tip of the Sanctuary almost touches the northwestern edge of the Nagarahole National Park, separated only by a narrow strip of coffee plantations.
The sanctuary derives its name from the highest point, the Brahmagiri peak, which is 1607 m in height. The temperature here ranges from 5° to 32°C, and mean annual rainfall varies from 2500 to 6000 mm.
There are four important zones with relatively intact habitat and/or large elephant populations within this reserve. These are:
The Brahmagiri hills covering parts of Karnataka (Brahmagiri Sanctuary) and Kerala (Wynad North Division), with good evergreen forest, montane shola forest and grassland and a low density of elephants.
The Nagarhole, Bandipur, Wynad, Mudumalai protected areas and the Nilgiri North Division with moist deciduous and dry deciduous forests and a very high elephant density and population.
The Biligiriranganswamy Temple (BRT) Sanctuary (within the Chamrajnagar Division) and eastern portions of the Satyamangalam Division with a diversity of vegetation types, including dry thorn forest, deciduous forest, montane shola forests and grassland and a medium to high density of elephants.
A 100 km tract along the Cauvery river in Karnataka (Cauvery Sanctuary, Kollegal Division) and Tamilnadu (Hosur and Dharmapuri Divisions) with dry deciduous and dry thorn forest and a medium density of elephants.
The area has mainly evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, and in the higher altitudes, there are grasslands with shola forest patches. Bamboos are well represented in these forests, with Bambusa bambos being dominant.The sholas are made up of dwarf evergreen trees or 'krummholz', stunted due to the strong winds at higher altitudes. Sholas are surrounded by grasslands.
Mammals in the Sanctuary include elephant, gaur, tiger, jungle cat, leopard cat, wild dog, sloth bear, wild pig, sambar, spotted deer, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, slender loris, bonnet macaque, common langur, barking deer, mouse deer, Malabar giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel, Nilgiri marten, common otter, brown mongoose, civets, porcupine and pangolin. Python, cobra and king cobra are some of the snakes found in the Sanctuary. Interesting birds in the Sanctuary include emerald dove, black bulbul and Malabar trogon.
VEGETATION TYPES WITHIN THE RESERVE
The reserve boasts of the entire spectrum of vegetation types of peninsular India and is dominated by deciduous forests. The other forest types found within the reserve are dry thorn, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, montane - shola grassland and man made forests. Apart from these forest types, micro-habitats such as swampy grasslands, are also found in the reserve.
Evergreen and Semi Evergreen Forest :
A large part of Madikeri Division comprises evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. The canopy in some of these forests is relatively open indicating selective felling in the past. Trees with large buttress roots are found only in the dense wet evergreen slopes at middle elevations. These forests are characterized by the lack of dry deciduous elements. Some parts of Rajeev Gandhi National Park, BRT Sanctuary, Virajpet, Kozhikode, North and South Wynad Divisions also have semi-evergreen forests.
Moist Deciduous Forest
This forest covers large stretches of Wynad Sanctuary and Nagarhole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park) and to a lesser extent, Bandipur Project Tiger Reserve and Mudumalai and BRT Sanctuaries.
Dry Deciduous Forest:
Except the Brahmagiri Sanctuary, and parts of Madikeri and Virajpet Divisions, the entire reserve is dominated by this type of forest. It is quite evident in Bandipur Project Tiger Reserve, Bannerghatta National Park, Mudumalai and BRT Sanctuaries, Hosur and Sathyamangalam Divisions.
Dry Thorn and Scrub Forest:
This type of forest is found in sheltered plateaus (the Sigur Plateau), valleys (Moyar Valley), the Eastern Ghats, and along the boundary of forest and cultivations where human pressures have converted dry deciduous forests to dry thorn forests. It is also found in the Bannerghatta National Park and some portions of the Bandipur Project Tiger Reserve, BRT and Mudumalai Sanctuaries and Kollegal, Mysore, Dharmapuri, Erode and Hosur Divisions.
Shola Forest and Grasslands:
The shola forests found in this reserve are of the tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation type interspersed with grasslands. The higher reaches of the Denkanikottai range in the Hosur Division and some stretches of evergreen forests in the Madikeri and Virajpet Divisions and the Brahmagiri Sanctuary contain patches of shola forests.
The Rajeev Gandhi National Park and Mudumalai and Wynad Sanctuaries have man-made forests, with teak and Eucalyptus. Forest plantation working was a major activity in some parts of the reserve before the area was notified and extensive teak plantations were raised. About 40% of the Wynad sanctuary area has been planted with teak, eucalyptus, soft wood and pepper. In some parts of the reserve sandalwood (Santanum album) thrives which though once abundant, has been depleted due to indiscriminate illegal cutting. Some parts of the reserve, particularly the Bannerghatta National Park and Bandipur Project Tiger Reserve, Wynad Sanctuary and some other divisions, are surrounded by fertile, well irrigated croplands where finger millet, maize, coconut and horse-gram are grown. These provide an alternate food source for elephants during the growing and harvesting months.
INFORMATION FOR VISITORS:
Between October and May is the best time to visit the Sanctuary. Nature camps are undertaken for school children at the Narimalai campsite. There is a trekking path from the lrpu falls, where the River Lakshmana Tirtha begins its journey, to the Narimalai camp, and further on to the Brahmagiri peak and to the Munikal caves.
240 km South West of Bangalore
The Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary is located in the Kodagu district and is part of the Western Ghats.
||By rail or road from Bangalore to Mysore (140 km), then by road to Hunsur (45 km), Gonikoppa (40 km), and on to the Sanctuary (18 km). Otherwise, by road from Mangalore to Madikeri (105 km), then to Virarajendrapet (30 km), then on to the Sanctuary (7 km).
When to go:-
Between October and May is the best time to visit the Sanctuary.
|| Deputy Conservator of Forests
KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: email@example.com
|Where to stay :-
Kings Sanctuary - Nagarhole For reservations Contact Prestige Meridian I, Unit # 909, 9th Floor, 29 M G Road, Bangalore - 560 001 Tel : 91-80 - 41122661, 41512761/62/63/64 Fax : 91-80-41122662 Cell : 98450 05659 / 93424 05659
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Vana Arathi (Tel:08274-444228/888; Tariff: Rs 1500)
Chilligiri Estate (Tel:08274-444265; Tariff: Rs 200-300)