PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
District : Idukki District
Location : Thekkady - Kumily, Kerala
Famous For : Tigers, Elephants
Coverage Area : 777 Sq kms
Elephants at Periyar
|Major Wildlife Attractions :||Elephants, Lion-Tailed Macaques, Tigers, Great Indian Hornbill, Nilgiri Laughing Trush, Ceylon Frog Moth.|
|Major Safaris :||Elephant, Jeep Safari, Boat Safari.|
|Other Attractions :||Birdwatching, Sighting Tigers, Jungle Photography, Jungle Tours, Staying in Bamboo Groves and Huts, Connemara Tea Factory - 15 km from the Sanctuary.|
|Best Time To Visit :||September to March.|
|Don't Miss :||Sighting Birds like the Great Indian Hornbill.|
|Getting Around :||Parambikulam, Choolanur Peacock Sanctuary, Attappadi or Mountain Valley.|
|Getting There :||Nearest Airport -
Coimbatore - 55 km.
Nearest Railhead - Palakkad 75 km.
Road - Bus from Palakkad to Mukkali 80 km.
|Inside Tip :||Do not forget to carry your Cameras, Binoculars, Caps, Goggles whenever you undertake a Safari in the Sanctuary.|
|Important Distances :||40 km NW of Mannarkkad, Coimbatore 55 km, Palakkad 65 km, Mukkali 23 km.|
|Where to Eat :||Ashok Bhawan unniappams, spicy bajjis, Noorjehan Hotel Biryanis, Pathiris, Motton Curries, Curry House Crisp Dosas, Appams.|
|Staying Options :||Sri Chakra International, Hotel Indraprastra, Hotel KPM International, Kanoos East Fort Resort, The Fort Palace Hotel, Rest House Mukkali.|
"My dear Friend, in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
Knowing that Nature never did betray"
-- William Wordsworth
Imagine a trek through a bouquet of wild bushes, shoving
dangling branches - like fallen words from the mouth of an articulate
orator - amid the silence at twilight. Suddenly, the solitary silence is
shattered by a raunchy troupe of Nilgiri langurs, dancing to the melody of
a bunch of cooing doves, on the branches above. As you continue your
journey from the petrifying contours to the intrepid ones, a pungent smell
knocks your adenoids. This is consorted with a sharp call of a barking
deer. Obviously, a predator is around. Is it a tiger? Or something more
Welcome to the fairytale land of Thekkady, gateway to the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is here, that you can see spurting sambars, closely followed by a pack of wild dogs or pairs of green eyes turning inquisitively to the faintest of noises made. The greens that had once inspired Rudyard Kipling to create his magnum opus - The Jungle Book - now calls for tourists from every pockets of the world to come and explore the unexplored mysteries, the clandestine chapters of the darker side of green.
The Periyar (Big River) Tiger Reserve, also known as the Thekkady (Thekku: Teak) Wildlife Sanctuary, is one of the most pampered and oldest protected areas in the country. The Mulla-Periyar Irrigation Dam, constructed in 1895, was an engineering marvel of that time. Unfortunately (but afterall, everything happens for good), the backed up waters of the dam overwhelmed a large quarter of forestland, partially submerging trees, leaving their bare trunk standing over their reflections like a Daliesque waterscape. The dam, after a few years, created a 26 sq km long lake, which now not only serves as the main watering hole of the reserve, but also portrays a picturesque ambiance around itself. The stark stumps of trees that seem to hold up their arms in despair are now haven to a number of birds, including cormorants, darters and racket-tailed Drongoes. Periyar is probably one of the few places, where one can observe the elephants in their native surroundings. Take pictures of these tuckless mighty mammoths as they display their entertaining antics, with their loved ones, bathing or playing at the edge of the water. Ride an elephant at the Periyar wildlife sanctuary and you can't resist yourself from falling in love with these sensitive and intelligent animals. Apart from elephants, one can also enjoy the acrobatics of four species of primates, that are found abundantly at Periyar - the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur And Bonnet Macaque. It is not unusual to spot a few monitor lizards basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore or a python creeping the swinging branches of rugged timberlines of the Nilgiris.
Tiger at Periyar
India is the land of tigers and one can't expect a return without seeing the king of the jungle in its natural habitat. Irrefutable pug marks of this ingenious animals is present everywhere, dotting the moist grounds of the terrain. But reading the forest, unlike reading a book, requires all the senses, and much can be said about the cannibal. Try this. Pick up a handful of mud from the pugmarks and rub it in your palms. Bring it closer to your nose and try to smell the fragrance. You will invariably know how the brute smells! Even if you don't spot a tiger in a single safari, seeing a herd of elephants at close quarters and a bewildering variety of birds are more than enough to satiate your appetite for the wild. The Periyar tiger trail comprises of two tour programmes (1N/2D and 2N/3D) and only medically fit travellers in the 15-65 age group can take part in. Conducted by poacher-turned-protectors of the area, the memorable itinerary covers around 25-30 km of the greens, depending on the route chosen. English speaking armed guards accompany the groups, which consist generally of five tourists and five guides.
Your perfect holiday vacations will not be complete without a boat cruise on the Periyar Lake. A wild two-seater boat ride will take you to the heart of the jungle, before you can even imagine. The reservoir in itself has many creeks, humps and small islets serving as pads for wildlife. Look at those innocent gaurs quenching their thirsts, in the waters of the lake. Enjoy the gathering of spoonbills by the lake side, where they share their day-to-day experiences with one another. See a kingfisher hunt a colourful fish from the emerald waters. Don't forget to pray for tiger sighting, even if you miss you can have the pleasure to see a leopard. The boats that ply here are run either by the Forest Department or Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). Since the number of boat trips are limited and the timings inflexible, tourists should book their tickets well in advance from the boat jetty, near the Wildlife Information Centre.
Periyar is not only about tigers and elephants. It is indeed a complete Jungle Book, offering its guests everything they can dream of. Tourists can enjoy an overnight stay in the eco-friendly bamboo groves, huts made exclusively with natural materials such as bamboo and grass. An ideal milieu for nature lovers, these uncomplicated alcoves provide a much broader way to explore the nature via lectures, discussions and audio-visual presentations. You can also go for a full-day border hiking oriented while keeping conservation in mind. Starting at 8 am and ending at 5 pm, the awe-inspiring tour passes through altitudes of 900-1300m, mesmerizing the tourists with several beautiful vistas of the sprawling greens. Escorted by two guides and an armed forest guard, the group includes a maximum of 10 people in each trek. Rubber-necked tourists can also register themselves in the Tribal Heritage Programme, that lasts for two hours and includes a visit to the tribal hamlets and also to the Tribal Heritage Museum. One can actually get a glimpse of their archaic lifestyles through the huge array of hunting traps, traditional fishing gears, vessels, furniture and indigenous medicinal plants, displayed in the museum. It is fun to meet the ancient Mannans - one of the oldest to inhabit the forests here - and get to know their bizarre customs and rituals.
As the premises of the park are declared as polythene
free zones, tourists should ensure that the polythene going in must find
its way out. Gullible animals, which are unfamiliar with polythene and
plastic, may choke on them and die. The rain forests of these region are
known for their leeches. These 1-inch long, dark-brown thread like
creatures, latch on to any open part of the skin and swell enormously by
sucking blood. It is advisable to wear high ankle leech proof jungle
boots, that can be easily found in nearby towns. The experienced forest
guards however, roll up their trousers till their knees, to easily spot
leeches clinging on to their skin. Carry a pouch of common salt along with
yourself, if possible. Nothing can fight leeches better than the
crystalline white powder, available all over the world. If on a holiday
trip, don't miss the opportunity to visit the sprawling spice plantations,
Kerala is famous for. Enjoy a 15 km ride outside the sanctuary to reach
the Connemara Tea Factory and be a part of the Indian tea making process.
Tourists can fly up to Kochi International Airport, connected by daily flights from Thiruvananthapuram, Banglore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kozhikode and Chennai, and can get into a private taxi to cover the rest 190 km up to the forest reserve. One can even catch the Kerala Express from Delhi or the Kanya Kumari Express from Chennai, and can reach Kottayam (119 km), the nearest railhead. Getting to Thekkady is a memorable experience in itself. As you drive past the mist-capped mountains, amidst spice plantations and over open grasslands lined with spectacular water-falls, you will be overwhelmed with an ephemeral feeling of euphoria, all through the journey. You can even drive on NH 220, the highway that connects Kollam to Theni in Tamil Nadu via Kottayam, and can take a break at Kumily, which is just 5 km from Thekkady. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation had three hotels; Aranya Nivas, Edappalayam Lake Palace and Periyar House, in and around the wildlife sanctuary. Visitors willing to stay amidst nature can make use of the Forest Houses for which advance reservation must be made. For more tourist related information, one can contact the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkadi, Kerala - 685 536.
Top Highlights of Periyar National Park
The Land of Big Cats And Wild Dogs
A Bashing Boat Experience
With The Bullock Cart, To The Interiors
A Cool Stay In The Bamboo Groves
Shake Hands With Tradition
South & Beaches