At the Nostrils End
Mukurthi National Park is situated in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, at a distance of approximately 27 km from Ooty. It lies on the southeastern corner of the elevated Nilgiri Plateau and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere. Spread over an area of over 80 sq km, Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of India has an altitude that averages around 2400 m. The peak’s name in Kannada means ‘cutnose’ and is believed by the local people to be the nose of Ravana’s sister Surpanaka, whose nose was cut by Lakshmana.
The peak is sacred to the Toda tribes of the Nilgiris. According to a legend, when female infanticide was prevalent among the todas, the babies were taken to this side of the hill and killed. Toda women were forbidden to this side of the hill. As one of the women disobeyed, her nose was cut off as punishment. This nose turned into the peak and she became a goddess. Even today, the Todas believe that the souls of men and buffaloes leap together into the other world from the summit of the Mukurti peak.
The flora of Mukurti National Park of India is very much similar to what is found in the Himalayan range. A National Park for Exotics - Endemics and ew intriguing things about Mukurthi is Of the 200 grassland species 105 are endemic to south India. Of these 77 are endemic to the Western Ghats. 22 are found in the Nilgiris alone. Mukurthi has the highest number of scapigerous Impatiens found in any one place, unit area, landscape: in the world.
The landscape is dominated by grasslands, Rhododendron, pine,which are mostly dotted with a number of secluded, dense and sharply defined wet temperate mixed forests. These forests consist of savannah woodlands, along with evergreen trees, smaller than the lowland ones. The main sources of water in the park are Billithadahalla, Pykara and Kundah RiversThe pride of Mukurthi Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu is its significant population of Nilgiri Thar. Apart from that, one can also see Nilgiri Marten, Otter, Barking Deer, Sambar, Jungle Cat, Jackals, etc. The most popular bird species of Mukurti Wildlife Sanctuary are Black Eagle, Woodcock, Laughing and Whistling Thrushes, Wild Pigeon, etc. One can also find a large number of butterflies inside the sanctuary, like Hedge Blues, Indian Fritillary, Indian Red Admiral, Blue Admiral, Rainbow Trouts, etc.