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Berijam Lake

Just next to the beautiful hill station of Kodaikkanal in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, one can find the neat and clean Berijam Lake in the district of Dindigul. This reservoir is located on top of the auspicious Palani Hills and can be seen by visiting the ancient place of “Fort Hamilton”. This reservoir is the major and only source of water for the town of Periyakulam nearby which is 187km towards south east of the lake. The quality of water in this lake is too good. This lake was created as part of the micro-shed development project.


Towards the southwest of the Berijam Lake, where the Pillar Rocks End comes to an end, this lake is located. Currently, there are two roads that lead into this lake – the road that connects Kodaikkanal with Munnar, at about 40km south of the lake and the road that is connected to the Kavunji village, at about 9km north of the lake. However, lots of plants and all kinds of vegetation are now overgrown on these trails, converting these as just walking trails used by the locals.

The Forest Department of Tamil Nadu allows tourists to go to the lake only between 9.30AM and 3PM. Every day, only a specified number of tourists are allowed inside the lake for safety purposes. A check post has been set by the Forest Department near the lake to check and stop illegal entry into the lake through any road. Tourists should be well aware of the timings and limits within which they are allowed to avoid being fined. There is a huge observation tower near KM marker 13 on the road to Berijam. From this tower, tourists get a panoramic view of the lake and the areas in the vicinity.

Tourists coming here can have a relaxing time at the Forest Department Camp. There is also an eco-education centre here that creates awareness about the centre to the tourists. Some of the must-see and must-experience areas in this lake are medicinal garden, nature walks, museum, fresh water ecosystem, swamp ecosystem, nature trails, shola, grassland and the bridge.


The Berijam Lake has an impressive collection of flora and fauna that are visual delights for the nature lovers. A rare species of plant known as utriculariaaustralis, a free-floating, insectivorous plant is found here. There are some major highlights in this reservoir. They are: a) First field-based eco-education centre in South India, established by the Forest Department, b) Sprawling 2.5 acres of garden, dedicated exclusively to medicinal plants and c) swamp observation area to increase public awareness.
The grasslands of the Berijam Lake are known to house some of the rarest and most exquisite species of plants, birds, insects and mammals in the country. These shola grasslands containing these highly bio-diverse varieties of fauna are collectively known as “cloud forests”. The landscapes found here is one of the largest, biologically most diverse and rarest of all the areas in the world. However with the passage of time, the industrial and commercial timber plantations started to dominate these grasslands and the streams started to dry out easily.  However, in the later years, close to 250 shola species and 70 shola tree species where germinated and cultivated here. This is one of the best examples of a landscape that is extremely bio-diverse and one that supports all kinds of flora and fauna.

Medicinal Flora

There is a Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) close to the Berijam Lake. The Agricultural University of Tamil Nadu conducts this course on the development and cultivation of medicinal plants through this research centre that is set up at 40 hectares. Here tourists and students can learn about medicinal plants like Belladona, Mentha, Digitalis and Pyrethrum. This centre also teaches about how to commercially market these plants that produce a large amount of yield. Berijam lake area is also known for the growth of dangerous plants like Psilocybin mushrooms (it makes you hallucinate when you consume it) and hazardous mushrooms. This is one of the few centres found in the country that focus entirely on the development and cultivation of medicinal plants. It is because of the efforts of CIMAP that many people today are aware of the benefits and features of these medicinal and aromatic plants.

Avi Fauna

  • Some of the birds that belong here are Serpent eagles with crests, shallows that are pale rumped, pariah Kites and swiftlets with edible nests.
  • The winter birds that come during the migration season are blue chat, common rosefinch, leaf warblers and Blyth’s Reed Warbler.


Some of the common species of mammals found here are wild boar, barking deer, mouse deer, porcupines with Indian crests and sambar deer along with endangered species like giant squirrels from Malabar, Indian elephants, bisons and Nilgiri Langurs.

It was during February 2010 that a 6-day carnivore study was conducted at the forests of Kodaikkanal as some tigers were spotted here. Currently, the Forest Department officials are conducting researches on the number of tigers that are found here based on the sightings of cubs, tigers, scratch marks and the like.

The Indian elephants found in the Palani Hills Reserve were due to be moved to two wildlife reserves and the Berijam Forest is one of them. This connects to Kerala’s Top Station. Currently, there is an objective to find out if this can be connected through the Kukkal area with Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary’s second corridor and with the National Park through Amaravati and Kuthirayar to eventually the Palar Dam and ultimately to Ganesh Nagar found beneath the Pethuparai Village.


During 1886, a Carp was found inside the Berijam Lake. During 1914, there was a plan to bring in the variety of Trout into the Berijam Lake.

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