Bengaluru: In the deep, dense forests of Kerala’s Western Ghats lies a verdant valley largely untouched by human activity. It’s a valley where you can hear your breath, it’s a valley where silence reigns!
Quiet, don’t even whisper, it seems too loud. Quiet, just be quiet and feel the soft hum of nature. Feel the breeze on your face, feel the scents of the gentle giants, feel the gentle sensual touch of their shadow, feel the occasional warm rays of light, feel the soothing melodies of their residents, feel the whispers of their dancing streams, feel nature in its purest form.
It’s a valley where you can just lose yourself in the moment, in the aura of its embrace, in the generosity of its grace. It is a valley where you can be one with nature!
On this World Environment Day, let’s embark on an unforgettable journey and experience one of nature’s last untouched wonders.
Queen of the Western Ghats, Silent Valley offers some of the richest and most unexplored landscapes in the world. Its forests are home to some of the most pristine, endemic and diverse ecosystems in the world. Located in the southwest corner of the Nilgiri Mountains, it is the last remaining stretch of evergreen forest in Kerala and one of the largest in India.
This beautiful valley is home to 41 mammals, 211 birds, 49 reptiles, 47 amphibians, 12 fish, 164 butterflies and 400 moth species. It is estimated that this beautiful valley is home to hundreds of wildlife that are still undiscovered. More than anything, this wonder of nature is unlike any other forest in India, it is devoid of the piercing shrill sound that is synonymous with all rainforests. Hence it is called the Silent Valley.
The valley has been silent for centuries, save for the melodies of its inhabitants. The valley was a silent witness to the miracle of its existence and survival! Silently wondering how it’s remained untouched!
Silent Valley’s survival amidst all the destructive activity of the people around it is nothing short of a marvel of nature. It has remained untouched and undamaged by human activity for thousands of years, particularly its core zone of 89.52 square kilometers, which contains conditions that predated anthropogenic activity.
Declared a national park in 1984, the 143.52 km² stretch is part of the Nigiri Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Silent Valley National Park occasionally finds itself in the news due to increasing human-animal conflict. It is home to several indigenous tribes and as human activity increases, meaning greater encroachment on wildlife territory, the likelihood of wild encounters increases, resulting in disasters for both humans and wildlife on many occasions.
Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is one of the last remaining rainforests in the world untouched by human toxicity.
It is a wonder that this pristine valley, part of the fragile and immensely diverse Western Ghats Range, has remained untouched by human activity for thousands of years.
Known for its trance-inducing silence, largely due to the total absence of cicadas, the 89.52-square-kilometer Silent Valley core zone is among the few places on earth where nature lovers can still enjoy conditions that prevail, before people started their polluting activities.
The 143.52 km² stretch in the Palakkad district of Kerala is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats.
A verdant paradise on earth with trees as old as mankind itself, a walk through the last stretches of one of India’s pristine rainforests is truly fascinating.
A must for all nature lovers, the park is best experienced through slow, silent exploration. Access to the park is only by jeeps operated by the park authorities from Silent Valley Base Camp.
If you’re looking for a quiet, slow-paced exploration of unspoilt nature, look no further. Please make sure you are not carrying any plastic (it is a plastic free zone) or other pollutants.
Visit www.silentvalley.gov.in for bookings and times
— Shafaat Shahbandari is an independent journalist from Bengaluru. He is the founder of Thousand Shades of India, an alternative media platform celebrating the diversity of India.
What is a rainforest?
Rainforests are the lungs of our planet as they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. They are essential for the survival of people on this planet. Rainforests absorb a large amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide on Earth and help stabilize the Earth’s climate.
That’s not all! Rainforests release water into the atmosphere and play a crucial role in regulating rainfall. The destruction of rainforests around the world is one of the main causes of ecological imbalance and natural disasters.