Ranipuram

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Ranipuram
Hill Station
Ranipuram is located in Kerala
Ranipuram
Ranipuram
Location in Kerala, India
Coordinates: 12°31′05″N 74°56′37″E / 12.518033°N 74.943749°E / 12.518033; 74.943749Coordinates: 12°31′05″N 74°56′37″E / 12.518033°N 74.943749°E / 12.518033; 74.943749
Country  India
State Kerala
Elevation 750 m (2,460 ft)
Languages
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Ranipuram
Ranipuram.jpg
A grassy hill in Ranipuram
Elevation 750 m (2,461 ft)
Translation റാണിപുരം (Malayalam)
Location
Location Kerala, India
Range Western Ghats
Climbing
Easiest route Hike

Ranipuram (ooty of kerala Malayalam: റാണിപുരം) is a hill station located within Kasargod district of Kerala state [Panathady Panchayat, Hosdurg Taluk], south India. It is located about 48 kilometres (30 mi) east of Kanhangad on the Panathoor road branching off at Panathady and lies 750 m (2,460 ft) above sea level adjacent to Bhagamandala forest range. Panathady-Ranipuram 10 km.

History[edit]

Evidence of pre-settlement traditions exist in the form of 'Theyyam', a folk dance to please the mother goddess held in the month of May. This place was formerly known as Madathumala until the 1970s, when it was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of Kottayam for the purpose of settlement. Settlers renamed it as Ranipuram in memory of the virgin mother.

Geography[edit]

There are two trekking routes available through the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests. Part of the way the climb is assisted by cut steps. The ambiance of the forest trail is remarkable and once you reach the "Mani" (grass covered hilltop) the view is superb. The undulating cloud-topped hills stretch up to the plains and ocean on the horizon. This is unexplored territory for the nature enthusiast and birdwatcher. Butterflies are in abundance and birds of the evergreen biotope like the black eagle,crested serpent eagle and little spider hunter common. Elephants pay visits in the summer months and leopards have been sighted in the not-too-distant past. The Ranipuram forest should be declared as a wild life sanctuary by Kerala Forest Department to merge with borders of Thalakavery wild life sanctuary in Karnataka. The proposed Ranipuram Wildlife Sanctuary may protect and maintain overall biodiversity of the area in a better way. The place holds immense potential for ecotourism and may develop into a premier hill station in Kerala with the judicious development of amenities. Tourist cottages are available here provided by the KTDC and some private players have entered the scene. The proposed Ranipuram Wildlife sanctuary will be a boon to tourism development in Kasaragod district.

Transport[edit]

Jeep services to Ranipuram are readily available from Panathady, linked to Kanhangad by frequent bus services. Standard rates are in the range of Indian Rupee symbol.svg 300 to Indian Rupee symbol.svg 350, including 1/2 hour of waiting charges and further Indian Rupee symbol.svg 100 per hour.

Ranipuram Shola National park / wildlife sanctuary (60 km2, Proposed)[edit]

Ranipuram Top View

The proposed Ranipuram Wildlife sanctuary / National park consists of various Flora and Fauna which are endemic to Westernghat and yet to be studied as a biodiversity hotspot. It merges with Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka. The Ranipuram hill station which falls in Panathady reserve forest is an ideal area to convert into a National park/wild life sanctuary. The evergreen and shola forest seen only here in this district. Elephants, Leopard, wild dogs, Deer, wild boar, macaques, jungle cats, leopards, slender loris, porcupine, malabar giant squirrels, malabar civet and rare butterflies and medicinal plants are found in these forest. Most of these highly endangered animals are killed by people due to lack of conservational awareness or to protect their crops. Ranipuram wild life sanctuary will be in contiguous to Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka.

For this purpose, nearby reserve forests such as Panathady, eleri and konnakad can be encompassed to an area of 80 km2 of forest. If it is declared as a wild life sanctuary, it may enhance the tourism industry of this district along with Ranipuram hill station. Declaring it as a Biodiversity/ wildlife sanctuary is the only way to protect this Westernghat biodiversity hotspot and to ensure its survival for future generation. Illegal country liquor are made deep in the jungle. Poaching of wild boar, porcupine, hares, deers and even monkeys for their meat take place mostly in the night. These are never reported to officials and inaccessibility of the region adds to the difficulty of surveillance. Which is why, Kerala Forest and wild life department, KFRI, TBGRI, ZSI officials have neglected this area and most of the central and other funds have been diverted to other nearby districts instead of setting up the park here.

Kasaragod district is surrounded by three forest districts, North by Dakshin Kannada (one NP and 2 wildlife sanctuaries), Kodagu in east (one NP and two wildlife sanctuaries) south by Kannur (one wildlife sanctuary and one elephant corridor). Till today, forest officials of this district have never sent any proposal to state forest department or central government, for setting up sanctuary here, although shola, evergreen and mangrove forests are seen here.

Frequent visits of elephants from the nearby reserve forest suggests that it once was an elephant migratory route. It can be successfully converted without any rehabilitation process as in the case of Malabar wildlife sanctuary of Kozhikode district.

The proposed Munnamkadavu Dam and Irrigation project may very useful to create fresh water ecosystem and later a wetland ecosystem to provide home for wild crocodile, otter, endangered fish and other water birds. Afforestation around the catchment area of dam reservoir will help to create another new wildlife sanctuary here in future and recreate lost wild elephant corridor. It is also an integral part of Brahmagiri biosphere.

Flora': Evergreen monsoon forest, shola, orchids, medicinal plants, grass lands etc.

Mammals: about 24 species mainly Elephants, wild bison, Leopard, wild dogs, mongoose, pangolin, Jungle cats, Malabar giant squirrels, Flying squirrels, fox, porcupine, bonnet macaques, Langur, Leopard cats, Deer, wild boar, slender loris, hares, squirrels, bats etc.

Birds: About 200 species mainly Great Indian horn bill, Paradise flying catcher, green barbet, peacock, trogon, wood pigeon, malabar grey horn bill, white bellied tree pie, heart spotted wood pecker..

Reptiles: King cobra, kraits, viper, rat snakes, Indian cobras, green whip snakes, monitor lizards..

Amphibians: About 19 species, Thousands of insects and spiders

About 100 species of butterflies including sword tail, forest nymph, malabar bird wing..

The forest is full of leeches, which explains why there were no tourists in the forest or a caretaker in the government guest house.

Ranipuram Forest as a Permanent habitat for wild elephants?[edit]

Wild Elephants can be seen throughout the year in Ranipuram if we make necessary water holes and good migratory route here. Now wild elephants are visiting in summer only. Karnataka Forest department doing necessary water holes for thirsty wild elpahnts. Our MLA's did not raise any voice for declaration of Ranipuram / Panathady RF as a wildlife sanctuary, which might boost up ecotourism project of this district. So we must make necessary arrangements for staying of wild elephants throughout the year. Otherwise encroachment, deforestation and quarrying may intensify in future.

Ranipuram and Greater Talacaveri National Park/ Biosphere Reserve[edit]

Panathady reserve forest and kottancheri forests contiguous to Talacaveri wildlife sanctuary of Karnataka is to be included in the new Greater Talacaveri biosphere / NP. Reserve forests of this range of kasaragod district should be included in new NP for better protection of wildlife. Currently illegel hunting and deforestation widely reported from these reserve forest. Kerala forest department immedeately step into this matter. District panchayath, block panchayath and local panchayath should be discussed about this matter to save the forest and wildlife of kasaragod. Recently Panathady reserved forest included in the tentative list for nomination of Natural properties of World Heritage site under UNESCO.

Reintroduction of Nilgiri Tahr in Ranipuram[edit]

Another dream Project for kasaragod district is the Reintroduction of endangered Nilgir Tahr here in Ranipuram biodiversty park. Nilgiri Tahr was once found all over the western Ghat of kasaragod now locally extinct. Population of this wild goat increased in southern part of the state, especially Eravikulam National park. so Relocation of some of the Nilgiri Tahrs in Ranipuram can be done with help of Kerala Forest Department, District Tourism Promotion council, and Wildlife Institute of India. This may lead to a Tremendous progress in Tourism in the district and also enhance the biodiversity of Ranipuram. Grassy hill slopes with vegetation, shola forests, cool climate are Ideal for relocation of Nilgiri tahr here in Ranipuram.

Getting there[edit]

Nearest major railway station: Kanhangad, about 48 km from Ranipuram, on the Kozhikode-Mangalore-Mumbai route.

Nearest airports: Mangalore, about 50 km from Kasaragod;

By Road, it is about 79 km from Madikeri via the Bhagamandala/Panathoor route. The road to Madikeri is broken and muddy, do not attempt to drive a regular car on it. But Kasaragod is nearer, and the road is motorable and steep in places, hence you will find Jeep Taxis at the bottom Ranipuram. The road ends abruptly 1 km after reaching Ranipuram from the Kerala side, the other side has not been developed by Karnataka. Normally one can see all Karnataka forests are not linked, thus preventing the vehicles. Only those who are actually interested would venture by walk.

References[edit]