Here Big Cats aren't the only lords
In Kerala's Western Ghats, South India
Go there for :
Elephants, Tigers, Gaur
778 sq km
21°-24°C (Sum); 15°-20°C (Win)
Best Sightings :
Park Closed :
STD Code :
+91 - 4869
Sketched out on God's Own Country, Kerala, is this project Tiger
nature reserve - Periyar, locally called Thekkady. Periyar or the Big River,
gets its name from the long lake that waters the moist deciduous hills
providing a perennial source of survival for the local wildlife. An ancient
lore goes that when a mighty tusker got killed at the hands of a Britisher,
the erstwhile king of Travancore was so saddened that he immediately
extended protection to the denizens of the forest. In 1982, the core area
was declared a National Park and recently, in 2004, conservation efforts
were further cemented with the formation of the Periyar Foundation - a joint
crusade of the park administration and the locals.
During the dry periods, generally in
March and April, group of wild elephants frolic in the waters of the Periyar
Lake. Sights of sambar, gaur and wild pigs alongside make a truly
refreshening vista. And if you suddenly find the air reverberate with the
raucous call of the langur and the peafowl, indications are that a Big Cat
is somewhere close-by and a quiet wait will be worthwhile.
However, spotting the tigers and the Nilgiri tahrs (a kind of a wild goat)
are a rarity that demands lot of luck and excellent timing. Periyar also
nestles sloth bear, Nilgiri langur (a primate), gaur (Indian bison), wild
dog, sambhar, wild boar, the leopard, porcupines, barking deer and mouse
deer, bonnet macaque and squirrels. Monitor lizards lie around in the sun on
the rocky projection of the lake. Visitors can view a python frequently here
and sometimes a king cobra also in the park. Among the unusual species found
at Periyar in Kerala are the flying lizard and the flying snake. With wings
of orange or yellow, the flying lizard is a rare sight, as it glides from
one tree to the other. The flying snake is also brilliantly colored in
yellow and black with a pattern of red rosettes.
Mangala Devi temple (12 km):
At the reserve's northern boundary is
the ancient stone temple of Mangla Devi.
Kumily (4 km):
Tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations surround
the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Kumily is a famed spice-trade center. The
Kerala Tourism Information Center located near the main entrance of the Park
organizes tours to the Connemara Tea Factory (15 km) and to other spice
plantations - something which is a must-check-out once before you leave
Thekkady. The ones to buy are cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and pepper.
Kerala's picturesque and beautiful Cardamom hills
can be easily accessed from Periyar and Kumily.
Guided day trek (3 hr/Rs. 100) held at 7am and 2 pm
Periyar Tiger Trail
(1N/2D and 2N/3D): Scales 20-35 km and armed
guards accompanying a group of 5 visitors with five guides.
(3 hr/ Rs 1,000): The guide takes you into the forest
and then back into your raft to sail back in the evening.
(Rs. 500): You can be a part of the jungle patrol
group at night.
(Rs. 100): Includes a visit to the Tribal Heritage
Museum (Open 9am-5pm) and a sneak peek into the lives of the tribals,
Mannans, who have lived in the forest for years. Hair-raising tales await!
Overnight stay in jungle cottage at Kokkara (Rs. 2,000 per cottage for
(Rs. 2,000/cottage for two): Ecolodge and nature
(8 am-5 pm/Rs. 750): Trails through 900-1300 m high
hills, where exciting sightings of Gaur and elephant, guaranteed.
(Rs. 500): Explore the vicinity of the forest on bullock
At Periyar you have the option of an elephant safari, a jeep safari
or a boat cruise. The Forest Department, Thekkady offers facilities for
elephant rides through the jungle. The elephants traverse slowly on their
path providing you to watch the animals for a long time. The jeeps are
quicker options and can get deep into the park.
The most preferred safari is a boating cruise through the park. You can
travel by boat to the source of artificial lake at the river Periyar with a
special permission. This is a restricted area and entry is not permitted for
the tourists generally, but this is a preferred place of the sloth bear.
This place is comparatively silent in Periyar National Park and if you are
really lucky, a tiger can be spotted here occasionally. Herds of elephant,
deer and wild boars coming near the lake to quench their thirst are a common
sight at the lakeside.
The only entry point to the park is through Thekkady
village (4 km from Kumily). The starting point is the boathouse (2 km from
entry gate), from where all treks, boat rides and walks begin. The tourists
can register for trekking and other activities at the Eco-tourism center,
near the boat house.
Park charges Entry Fee : Rs. 25 (Indians) & Rs. 300
(foreigners), Cameras : Rs. 25 (still) & Rs. 200 (video), Vehicle entry
: Rs. 50, Boat ride : KTDC Rs. 110 (upper deck), Rs. 55 (lower deck), Rs.
350/trip for a small 2 seater boat. We will complete all the formalities so
you get to experience a hassle free and enjoyable holiday.
Park timings are 6 AM to 6 PM.
The best time to spot animals is during the dry months as
after a shower the water resources fill up and the animals do not feel the
need to come out in search of water.
(15 km from Kumily): This sleepy little
village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is
a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves
of Cumbum in neighboring Tamil Nadu.
(18 km from Thekkady): The River Periyar flowing
through the center of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper
plantations. A major trade center, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of
tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a
delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.
(25 km from Kumily): This is one of the world's largest
auction centers for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom
plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Hop next to: Kochi
(192 km), Alappuzha (155 km), Kottayam (119 km)