In the Nilgiris' foothills, the 321-sq-km Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is like a classical Indian landscape painting given life: thin, spindly trees and light-slotted leaves concealing spotted chital deer and grunting wild boar. Also here are around 50 tigers, giving Mudumalai one of India's highest tiger population densities (though you'd be lucky to see one). Overall the reserve is Tamil Nadu's top wildlife-spotting place. You're most likely to see deer, peacocks, wild boar, langurs, jackals, Malabar giant squirrels, wild elephants (the park has several hundred) and gaur (Indian bison).
Along with Karnataka's Bandipur and Nagarhole, Kerala's Wayanad and Tamil Nadu's Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai forms part of an unbroken chain of reserves comprising an important wildlife refuge home to approximately 570 tigers – the world's single largest tiger population.
Mudumalai sometimes closes for fire risk in April, May or June. Rainy July and August are the least favourable months for visiting.