Chulannur / Choolanur Peafowl Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu - Kerala Border)

Its been really really long since I went on a trip with a relatively big gang. It would be mostly just me or another person along with me. In rare cases we were 3 to 4 people. Out of a blue moon, we suddenly started off a trip with 6 of us. Myself, my mom, my cousins their parents – totaling to 6. It all started when my mom visited her bro and they planned this trip and when I was informed, I was like “Without me…????!!!!”. Finally they put me too into the car and we were off.
Earlier, few months back when my mom’s bro’s family were off to Kerala via Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, my cousin spotted this board that read, ‘Mayiladum Para – Peacock Sanctuary’ and there she made a point that they would be back in the same route again, not to Kerala but just to this sanctuary. And that point got its life and soul on the day we ventured there.

My uncle drove the car and from a particular point my sis started to notice carefully to our right and said “Its somewhere here after this point where I spotted that board”. And ya, we spotted it again. And we had a clear look at it this time. It read ‘Chulannur Peacock Sanctuary’. A small right turn and we enquired along the road for this peacock sanctuary. Did I tell you, we had already crossed Kerala border for a long time now. Some Malayalam mixed in the blood and we were like ‘Mayilladum Para evvida undana.?’. Errr. I dunno, to what extent that broken nascent stage Malayalam was correct or wrong. One of the guys we enquired, confidently asked back ‘Mayiladum Kunnu.???’. We shook our heads in positive. He led the way. Ok. Now we got a new vocabulary. We started to enquire about the Mayiladum Kunnu from then on. And as we preceded the boards in the beginning of the road, diminished. If the sanctuary guys could keep a board in the highway why didn’t they keep few along the path. That kinda gave this weird feeling that we were going in a wrong route.

And we kept on enquiring for this ‘Mayiladum Kunnu’ and we were at this gate with no boards and nothing at all and not even a gate and not even a sanctuary office. Now I was 100% confident. WE ARE AT A WRONG PLACE.

However, this place was a pretty big rubber plantation. We strolled in for a couple of minutes when my cousin freaked out ‘What the hell are we doing here.?”. My uncle and my mom went over to a near-by house to enquire about this place and she said that in the other side of this rubber plantation was a small pond where actress Jaya Bharathi bathed for the Malayalam movie ‘Mayiladum Kunnu’ was pictured. Wow!!!! That was a revelation. My uncle came back and said this info and sarcastically said ‘Lets go there and see the pond and take a sip of that Holy Water!!!’.

But whatever place it was my youngest cousin could not be controlled. She was the first to run into the plantation. But however we had absolutely no interest in seeing THAT pond!!!
My uncle wanted to give it another shot. We left this place and this time, the enquiry was not for any Mayil or peacock; it was only for Chulannur. Few twists and turns and we were at Chulannur. The roads weren’t bad. It could be bad only if it exists!!! In a small village at almost its dead end near a forest what kind of a road could anyone expect!!! There we were at the entrance of the sanctuary. And this place is also called Mayiladum Para (Not Kunnu)!!!

We were served with Jeera Water, a speciality of Kerala. And a man from the office accompanied us into the forest. This is not a dense forest. Peacocks esp. do not like to be in very thick or dense forests. I dunno why. May be those thick and dense forests are residents of predators like lions and tigers. Well, may be… Just may be. I have no clue.

We were gifted a peacock feather by them. A pretty good fun shot with it, right? That's my younger cousin's replaced eyeball!!!

Well, that's the photographer and her muse!!! Ok, now this sanctuary is declared as a national sanctuary for peafowls. This was called Chulannur Peafowl Sanctuary and later in 2008 it was renamed 'Chulannur Peafowl Sanctuary dedicated to the memory of Sri.K.K.Neelakantan'. video
Now who’s that man for whom the whole sanctuary is dedicated? He was an ornithologist of Kerala who the book ‘Keralathile Pakshikal’ which literally means the Birds of Kerala. He was from a place called Kavassery, which is just next to this sanctuary. He must have been born and brought up in the midst of birds esp. peacocks. So apt for him, isn’t it.?

This sanctuary is sprawling in the districts of Thrissur and Palakkad for an area of 342 hectares near Thiruvilvamala. Apart from peacocks there are 76 other species of birds in here.

With the help of a staff of the sanctuary we started off inside the sanctuary. A huge gang of 5 adults and 2 kids. The track was pre-fixed. There were lots of trees on either sides. video
But the best part was by the ears – the sounds of the forest was great. A mix of several bird sounds and several insect sounds.

Again a big mistake that we had done was planning to go here in the peak of summer. Like in Viralimalai, the peacocks must have hidden in the little caverns between boulders which are located deep inside the forest. That would require a longer trek.

But with a huge family and people of various energy capacity it is a problem. That too with kids!!! Unless the climate was cool and a little bit rainy clouds comes up, its absolutely difficult to see the peacocks easily. It is not impossible, but that would require atleast a basic trek, which I couldn’t venture much.
I had to venture back without any luck of peacock spotting :( !!!

P.S.1: At a place called Kuzhal Mannam, which is just the previous right turn before the turn for this sanctuary form the highway is the memorial of Chembai. One of the greats of Carnatic Music (The South Indian classical music). Since I had to get back by evening, we couldn’t make it to this place this time. But Chembai Memorial is a must visit for visitors of Chulannur.


P.S.2: Enroute we met some Thiyyam dancers who were getting ready for a performance. Thiyyam is one of the folk dances of Kerala, with Kathakali being a more popular folk dance. By default our car stopped for a few shots. Here’s one.

TO GET THERE:
From Coimabatore: 85 km
From Palakkad: 22 km
From Thrissur: 49 km

The best transport is your own vehicle or self arranged from your door step. Getting autos and buses is just not an option!!!

Dedicated to Mom, Subbu Uncle, Lalli Aunt, Thanrang and Mrinal – my cousins.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

22 comments:

  1. Don't you think a trip is a lot more fun with nephews and nieces! The landscape looks very much like Malaysia. We do have a lot of rubber plantations. And your outfit is traditional and colorful suitable for the area of Kerala I believe. And thank you for the picture of the dancers!

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  2. Gorgeous place and beautiful pictures!

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  3. Nice photos. But where is that holy water pond?? and where are peafowls??

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  4. Was expecting a peacock pic :(
    anyways thats hard luck ,enjoyed the trip though esp the pond & holy water :D

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  5. Wonderful. I was not aware of this sanctuary. Shall visit next time. Thanks for a very informative post.

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  6. Chennaiyila irunthu oru mayil varuthunnu therinji ella mayilum odi olinjiduchhu.....But hope u had a nice time there.

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  7. nice one! sad that you couldnt see the peacocks! incidentally, we too visited a peacock sanctuary... actually just a small village which plays host to hundreds of them.....and saw lots... am just writing about it...

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  8. Very interesting and adventurous trip. Nice shots. I wish you had spotted some peacocks.

    Ram Raja Temple, Orchha

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  9. @Ocean Girl,
    Yeah. It was indeed great fun!!! Glad you liked my outfit. :) May be because both Malaysia and Kerala are watery places very near to sea!!!

    @Phivos,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    @Nags,
    Enna nakkala... We didn't even bother to go to that pond!!! Unfortunately I couldn't spot any peacocks!!! :(

    @Sathish,
    Holy Water...!!! Lolz!!!

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  10. @P.N.Subramanian,
    Do visit the sanctuary and share your experiences with us!!!

    @Jij,
    Good question!!! My Chinna Vandu and your Podi Vandu are namesakes!!! :)
    Enna jij. Nakkala!!!

    @Anu,
    I'm coming there to your blog soon to see that sanctuary!!!

    @Rajesh,
    I too wish!!! Whatodo!!!

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  11. Love all the greenery and the dancers outfits are unbelievable! Would love to watch them performing live.

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  12. @Nags,
    Enna nakkala... We didn't even bother to go to that pond!!! Unfortunately I couldn't spot any peacocks!!! :(

    That's the problem. If you had a holy bath in that pond, you could have seen lots of peacocks :-) :-)

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  13. Hello Greetings:)

    It is amazing that you make so many frequent trips to visit places of interest. Your step by step narration with lovely photos are very interesting. The videos are excellent too.

    Best wishes:)
    Joseph

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  14. Terrific shots to go with the post.
    Motivates me to visit.

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  15. @Jose,
    Yeah. That outfit is one of the complicated and elaborate outfits of Indian dances. Isn't it amazing!!!

    @Nags,
    Shabba... Mudiyala!!!

    @Joseph,
    Thank you so much for the appreciation!!!

    @Indrani,
    Thanks dear!!! Do visit and let me know your experiences too!!!

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  16. Hi

    while i searching Hogenakal photos, i accidentally reached to your travelogue.

    Your text and pics are superb.

    I am requesting you to visit Trivandrum, there is lots of places (beach, hill station, inland waterways, temples) etc...

    keep writing more...

    thanks for good treat

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  17. @Krishna,
    I have already visited Trivandrum once. I'm yet to write about the place. Definately it was a great place.
    Thanks for stopping at my blog and thanks foryour comments & appreciation. Do drop in often. :)

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  18. wow!!!!!!!bushu...really good pics..

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  19. The peacocks are so used to the human beings they are found around the houses in the neighbourhood of the sanctuary, especially around the paddy harvesting season. I'm surprised you could flaunt your camera.The man in charge told me that cameras are not allowed and I have to take permission from the forest office in Thrissur. Of course, when I gave him 'something' at the end of the trip he asked me to come back with the camera!!

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  20. @Rajesh,
    Oh, I'm glad I wasn't stopped with my cam...
    In fact we were 3 cousins with 3 cams, may be he forgave us coz we were kids!!! :) :):)

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