Eravikulam National Park sets up virtual reality Park

The facility provides a journey through ENP and Munnar landscape

Published - May 25, 2024 11:20 pm IST - IDUKKI

The newly set up virtual reality station at the  Eravikulam National Park in Munnar.

The newly set up virtual reality station at the Eravikulam National Park in Munnar. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Eravikulam National Park (ENP), the natural habitat of the Nilgiri tahr in Munnar, has set up a virtual reality park inside the park.

Officials say this is the first time a 360-degree virtual reality park has been established in a national park.

ENP Assistant Wildlife Warden Nithin Lal says the virtual reality station provides a journey through the ENP and the Munnar landscape.

“The Eravikulam National Park is known for its rich biodiversity and wildlife. However, we cannot allow tourists to visit most parts of the park. The virtual reality station takes the tourists on a trip through the Neelakurinji hills, Nilgiri tahr habitat (grasslands), and waterfalls,” says Mr. Lal.

“Most of the virtual stations use animated videos for entertainment purposes. But the Forest department shot the 97 sq km Eravikulam park using a 360-degree camera. The virtual park offers an experience as if one is visiting the park interiors. In addition to the ENP, the videos of the Thoovanam waterfalls in Chinnar have also been included in the virtual reality station,” says Mr. Lal.

Officials say most tourists only know about the Nilgiri tahrs and neelakurinji in the ENP. “The ENP is biodiversity-rich with rhododendrons, 58 species of orchids, 55 mammal species, 725 flowering plants, ferns, shola forests, grasslands, flora, and fauna. The virtual park also aims to raise awareness about the rich biodiversity of the ENP, ” says a senior officer.

The ENP is situated 2,000 m above sea level, the officer says adding 60% of the park is grasslands, 20% shola forests, and the rest rocky hills.

According to officials, 12 people can enjoy the virtual station simultaneously. The entry fee is ₹100 per person.

The WhatsApp ticketing system recently installed at the park has switched over entirely to cashless mode. Officials say visitors can scan the QR code and collect tickets online.

“The ENP has set up a parking ground recently. The wayside parking on the Munnar-Marayur route often resulted in hours-long traffic block. After the setting up of the parking ground, there is no traffic block now at Eravikulam,” says a forest official.

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