Megamalai is located on the slopes of the Western Ghats, amidst the lush green Tea plantations and Cardamom estates. It is popularly called 'High Wavy Mountains'. It is a cool and misty mountain range and lies at a distance of 130 km from Madurai. A perfect place for nature lovers, its altitude is 1,500 m above sea level. The vegetation of the Meghamalai hills includes scrub forests at the foothills, stretches of tea and coffee estates, spice plantations of pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and the dense evergreen forest cover.
Being very close to the forest, a number of wild animals can be seen
roaming here. Megamalai is also host to a wide variety of birds,
mammals, reptiles and butterflies. The most commonly seen animals are
Tiger, Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Gaur, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar,
Wild Boar, Porcupine, Nilgiri Langur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Common
Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Sloth Bear, Grey Jungle Fowl, Smooth-Coated
Otter and Flying Squirrel. Resident and migratory elephants can also be
seen wandering in groups here.
It is also an ideal place for bird watching. In the forests over 100
species of birds have been identified. The Meghamalai ranges are also
the birth place of the Megamalai fall. This fall descends from a stream
originating from the hills. It is also known as the Clouds Land Falls
and serves as the rendezvous of many wild animals. Megamalai falls are
round-the-year falls that do not run dry. Another important range around
Megamalai is Vellimalai, also known as the Silver Mountain.
At an altitude of 1650 m, Vellimalai forms the heart of Meghamalai.
Silver-lined clouds gently resting on green hilltops is a common sight
here. This region is also the abode of river Vaigai. The hill range also
provides a wonderful view of the entire range of Varusanadu Hills. With
tea and coffee estates, houses of plantation workers and an artificial
lake, there is plenty of scope for enjoying the natural beauty.
The originating place of Suruli Theertham (Suruli falls near Cumbum
town) are popular attractions for tourists. Tamil Nadu Forest Department
is planning to establish the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in an area of
600 sq km of the forest in the division. The Sanctuary will serve as an
excellent buffer to the Periyar Tiger Reserve and will also help in
strengthening the conservation efforts in the South-Western Ghats.