On top of the world – Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary

Op de top van de wereld - Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary

On top of the world – Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary

As we walked along a foggy path through the woods, I heard a “swoosh” and looked up to see a black and white shape illuminated by an arrow of yellow across the canopy. It was the beautiful great pied hornbill. With its wide wings spread, this 10-foot-tall bird with a yellow beak looked like a character from an ancient epic.

The great pied hornbill is just one of the many treasures of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary , which is home to a number of species such as the tiger, leopard, elephant and gaur, as well as primates that include the bonnet-tailed macaque, the common langur, the Nilgiri langur and the lion-tailed macaque. The latter two are on the endangered list, but almost as if on their way to dispel any idea of ​​their vulnerability, a large male Nilgiri langur jumped into a tree behind the forest canteen where we’d sat down for lunch. A giant squirrel squeaked in a nearby bamboo bush, seemingly keeping langur company.

Golden Langur (Photo door Amartyabag)
 

The first morning on Top Slip I woke up to hear the swaying, farewell song of the Malabar whistling thrush. Given to snatches of whistling varied melodies like its cousin the Himalayas or blue whistling thrush, it is sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘whistling schoolboy’. However, unlike the Himalayan Symphony, the Malabar Whistling Thrush sounds eerie like a person whistling and can easily trick you into thinking you have human company!

Armed with binoculars and raincoats, we set off on our morning route with Baby, a local wildlife guide with the Forest Department. Made mine As we walked along a foggy path through the woods, I heard a ‘swoosh’ and looked up to see a black and white shape led by an arrow of yellow across the canopy. It was the beautiful great pied hornbill.

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With its wide wings spread, this 10-foot-tall bird with a yellow beak looked like a character from an ancient epic. The great pied hornbill is just one of the many treasures of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a number of species such as the tiger, leopard, elephant and gaur, as well as primates including the hooded-tailed macaque, the common langur, the Nilgiri langur and the lion-tailed lemur. The latter two are on the endangered list, but almost as if on their way to dispel any idea of ​​their vulnerability, a large male Nilgiri langur jumped into a tree behind the forest canteen where we’d sat down for lunch. A giant squirrel squeaked in a nearby bamboo bush, seemingly keeping langur company.

The first morning on Top Slip I woke up to hear the swaying, farewell song of the Malabar whistling thrush. Given to snatches of whistling varied melodies like its cousin the Himalayas or blue whistling thrush, it is sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘whistling schoolboy’. However, unlike the Himalayan Symphony, the Malabar Whistling Thrush sounds eerie like a person whistling and can easily trick you into thinking you have human company! Armed with binoculars and raincoats, we set off on our morning route with Baby, a local wildlife guide with the Forest Department.

Having made my trip in the middle of the monsoon, I wasn’t expecting too much: neither a very good view through the rain, nor an opportunity to see all the animals on the sanctuary checklist (except maybe the leeches!). The incessant rain, however, failed to dampen the spirits of the birds and beasts. Racket-tailed drongos announced their presence with glee, calling from the treetops and flying overhead. We also saw the Malabar trogon,

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary And National Park (Foto door globetrotter_rodrigo)
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary And National Park (Foto door globetrotter_rodrigo)
 

After the hike, we boarded the Forest Department bus that takes tourists on morning and evening drives through the forest. This bus ride gives you a good chance to view the scenery and see large mammals such as gaur and elephants. It is also the best opportunity to spot the lion-tailed lemur. These animals are usually found in small groups and are active during the day.

The bus ride also includes a visit to the Forest Department elephant camp. We arrived just in time to see the mahouts bring out the elephants’ evening tea and offer them their goodies – huge chunks of flour and jaggery, which the animals eagerly accepted with their probing trunks.

On our way back to the retirement home, we were rewarded with a majestic sight. A handsome male gaur in a dark brown coat and striking white socks cautiously stepped out into a clearing in the woods. The adult male gaur is an imposing creature that can reach a height of 7 ft and weigh up to a thousand pounds. But choosing to ignore the busload of eager tourists, it began grazing casually before disappearing into the woods. Well, one more glimpse of this beautiful animal is reason enough to return to the sanctuary.

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary And National Park (Photo by Jagadeesh SJ)
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary And National Park (Photo by Jagadeesh SJ)
 

Quick Facts

State: Tamil Nadu

Location: Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary sits astride the Annamalai Hills on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, just south of Palakkad Gap, in Coimbatore District Distances 76 km S of Coimbatore, 36 km S of Pollachi Route from Coimbatore NH209 to Pollachi ; Pollachi-Parambikulam State Highway to Top Slip via Sethumadai

When to go; Jun-Sep is the best season to spot wildlife. You can see animals again in Nov and Dec. The sanctuary is closed from April 15 – 15

Go there for Nilgiri Tahr, elephants, leopards, gaur, lion tail macaques, Nilgiri langurs

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