South India has some amazing national parks and tiger reserves. The wildlife and the dense forests are one of its kind and it has to be on every traveler’s list to visit. One such wildlife sanctuary is the Satyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary.
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About Satyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
Satyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary or the Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve is a tiger reserve in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is a protected area along the Western Ghats of South India. A well-protected untouched dense forest is what the wildlife sanctuary offers.
The forest was once known the notorious criminal and bandit Veerappan. Veerappan was an Indian smuggler and kidnapper who lived in Satyamangalam forest. He was active for 36 years and was charged for sandalwood smuggling, kidnapping and killing people and poaching of elephants. In the time of year 2004, he was killed by Tamil Nadu Special Task Force. There was a time of Veerappan when all of us never even thought of visiting Satyamangalam forest. But now it is truly one of the best national parks to visit.
Supposedly, the number of tigers increased after Veerappan died.Source: BBC website.
How to get there?
- Driving – The Satyamangalam wildlife sanctuary is about 220 kilometers from the major city of Bangalore and is about 110 kilometers from Coimbatore.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to Satyamangalam forest. The nearest city is Coimbatore and there are frequent buses between major cities and Coimbatore.
The forest is home to indigenous tribal people belonging to the Irula tribe and Soligas communities.
Irula people are a Dravidian ethnic group. They are also called Irular and they speak Irula language. Irular means dark people in Tamil and Malyalam languages.
Soligas, also called as Sholaga, also belong to the Dravidian ethnic group. They speak Sholaga language. They have a population of 20,000 individuals currently. The tribe traces back their origin to Karayya, the son of Lord Maleya Mahadeshwara Swamy.
Note: The forest was once home to the legendary Indian bandit Veerappan. He made his living by poaching and exporting ivories and sandalwood. He was a history and now is dead.
Flora and Fauna
It has abundant flora and fauna. The forest is a tropical dense forest. According to Wikipedia, the forest is said to have five distinct forest types – Tropical evergreen, Semi-evergreen, Mixed-deciduous, Dry deciduous, and Thorn forests.
As per the survey conducted by Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 2012, the forest had 10 Bengal tigers, 866 Indian elephants, 672 gaurs (Indian Bisons) and 27 leopards. It also has lots of deers, sloth bears and hyenas.
According to the latest survey conducted in 2019, the forest has a population of 83 tigers and 110 leopards.
Things to do in Satyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
- There are only a few things to do in Satyamangalam town and the sanctuary. There is one famous temple Bannari Amman Temple. It is located in Bannari. And very close to the temple is the Bhavanisagar Dam which is constructed on the Bannari River.
- Apart from the above two famous spots, it is totally worth driving through this beautiful forest. The forest is lush green and is a delight to the eyes.
- A jungle safari is a must when visiting any forest in South India. One can book the safari at Satyamangalam on their official website. The cost for safari varies and the cheapest is just INR 1000 per person.
Satyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a very beautiful forest. I definitely would suggest visiting this place and staying here for at least 2 to 3 days.