The Forest Department has tightened the time restriction for tourists who are visiting Valparai, a popular hill station nestled in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR).
Officials attached to the ATR said that tourists will not be allowed to travel to Valparai before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m., a restriction that was already existing since the place is part of a tiger reserve.
Bhargava Teja, Deputy Director of the Pollachi division of ATR, told The Hindu that the department convened a meeting with representatives of hotels, resorts and home stays recently.
“They have been instructed to inform tourists about the time restriction while making reservations. The visitors have to plan their trip accordingly,” he said.
The Pollachi division of the ATR comprises four forest ranges, namely Pollachi, Valparai, Manambolly and Ulandy. Besides carnivores like tiger and leopard, ATR is home to some of the key species including elephants, Tamil Nadu’s State animal Nilgiri tahr, the endangered Lion-tailed macaque, Great hornbill and Purple frog. A group of Nilgiri tahr are often seen roaming on the ghat section of the Pollachi – Valparai Road.
Vehicles heading to Valparai will be screened by the staff posted at the Forest Department check-post at Aliyar. They will not allow tourist vehicles to the hill station between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“Vehicles plying to Kerala via Valparai will also be not allowed between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. However, vehicles belonging to Valparai residents, estates, ambulances, etc., are exempted,” said V. Pugalendhi, forest range officer, Pollachi.