Mathikettan Solai: The Forbidden Forest of Tamil Nadu

Image Source: Pixoto

There is a place nearer to Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu called “Mathikettan Solai.” Mathikettan Solai National Park is a 12.82 km² national park in Poopara village of Udumbanchola taluk in Idukki district of Kerala state, South India. It notified the area national park on 21 November 2003.

This forest patch near Berijam Lake is significant as one of the largest contiguous sholas in the upper Palani’s. The name itself is curious as it is roughly translated from Tamil as “shola where one loses oneself.”

Why it is famous?

Take a look at the rich variety of animal life in gaur, wild boar, sambar, common langur, wild dog, and jungle cat. The National Park is a biodiversity hotspot with its rich treasure of medicinal herbs as well. A Muthavan tribal colony at Aduvilanthankudy is situated about the northeastern borders of Mathikettan Shola.

Mystery in the Mathikettan Solai forest

Image Source: Tamil Nadu Tourism

Mathikettan Solai which means the forest where one loses his mind.). This is preserved as one of the many endangered Shola forests in Kodaikanal. There is also a possibility that your sight might catch up the glimpses of some fauna like Bisons, Nilgiri Lemurs, flying squirrels, and deers.

People who entered into the forest to explore never returned. It is believed that this place destroys the knowledge of people. So that they forget the path to return and everything. They circled the whole forest and finally died.

The death toll in the forest is already 12. So the Tamil Nadu government put a warning signboard to not enter the forest.


People believe that this area spoil’s a person’s memory and sense of absent mind leading to the wrong route, as these hill trees are very tall and fully covered with no sunlight reaching the ground. It is believed that there is a particular flower in this forest. The smell of the flower makes people go crazy.

Another one is, people believed some Siddhas and herbs in the forest. The herb name is Thigai poondu (Thigai poondu - a plant supposed to be bewildering persons trampling on it.) If it touches our body, it destroys knowledge.

What can be the Possible Explanation?

Image Source: Tamil Nadu Tourism

It is believed that the Sithars (ancient medicine men) lived, researched, and meditated here in the caves inside the sacred groves.

There is also a popular belief among the locals here that a person could lose his mind while entering certain areas of the dense forest where the Sithars lived. No one knows where exactly these areas are, but these pockets, known as Mathikettan Solai are believed to completely wipe out a person's memory.

A common explanation for this phenomenon is that it could be due to the effect of the concentration of so many highly potent medicinal plants in one place. But this is not scientifically proved and still remains to be a mystery.

Written By - Violet Priscilla S

Edited By - Anamika Malik

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