Notified as a wildlife sanctuary in 1958, Neyyar since then has become a major destination for nature lovers in Kerala. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctaury is located in the southeast region of Western Ghats sprawling an area of 128 sq kms. It is located just 30 kms from the capital city Thiruvananthapuram most famous for its collection of wild elephants and one of the most abundant collections of crocodiles.
With the 1890 mts high Agasthyakoodam Peak and the Neyyar dam within its enclosure, Neyyar is truly a Sanctuary of extreme beauty. It is also a drainage basin of the Neyyar River and its tributaries - Mullayar and Kallar – supporting a vast range of animal and plant life. The vegetation at Neyyar varies from tropical wet evergreen to grasslands. Some of the herbs found here have medicinal value. The average temperature ranges from 16C to 35C with an average annual rainfall of about 2,800 cms.
Wildlife Attraction: The huge elephant population, crocodile rearing centre, deer farm and lion safari are the main attractions of the place. At present, there are 39 species of mammals, 176 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 17 species of amphibians and 40 species of fishes living in the sanctuary. The Crocodile farm set up in 1977 is home to 44 mugger species.
Besides these, common mammals found are gaur, bonnet macaque, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, jungle cat, wild boar, sambar deer, barking deer and Nilgiri langur. Reptiles and birds found here include cobras, vipers, pythons, rat snakes, flying snakes and Lizards, King Fishers, White-breasted Water Hen, Little Green Heron, Woodpeckers, Indian Cuckoos, Gray Jungle Fowl, Common Mynas, Indian Hill Mynas, Darters, Little Cormorants, Little Egrets and Brahminy Kites
Trekking and boating facilities are also available.
When To Go: The best time to visit the Sanctuary is from October to March.
How To Get There: You can drive down by road from Thiruvananthapuram, the nearest city. The nearest airport is at Trivandrum while the closest railhead is at Neyyattinkara at a distance of 20 kms.
Where To Stay: There are state run rest house, youth hostels and guest houses inside the sanctuary. The administrative complex is just 1 kms west of Neyyar Dam outside the sanctuary complex and has an information center and staff quarters.