Periyar in Kerala, is the best-known wildlife sanctuary in south India. Though billed as a tiger reserve, Periyar is really famous for its wild elephants, 100-year-old artificial lake and its setting in the beautiful thickly forested Western ghats. This is not your best shot at spotting the Bengal Tiger considering there are less than 40 of them that inhabit an area of 777sq.km but there's plenty of other animals like the Nilgiri langoor, Nilgiri tahr, bison, deer, antelope and about 700 elephants to make the trip worthwhile. The Periyar Tiger Reserve consists of tropical evergreen, semi- evergreen and moist deciduous forests. Its legal status as a National Park is still pending and only one notification has been issued. It was declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1978 and the first research started in 1991. The results indicate 49 species of mammals, 246 species of birds, 28 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 22 species of fishes and 112 species of butterflies. The core area is 350 sq.kms. The final notification of the buffer area is pending. The national park and the tiger reserve is rated as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India for wildlife photography, bird watching, elephant herds and tiger watching.
You must visit Periyar for many reasons as mention below:-
1. Periyar is known for Wildlife sanctuary specially for wild Elephants
2. 100 years old artificial Lake and its setting in the beautiful forest of western ghats.
3. Visit Kumily which is known for spice trade center
4. You must visit Pandikuzhi which offers great opportunities for trekking and Photographers's delight
5. Flowing Periyar river through the centre of vast tea nourishes town
Day 01: Cochin – Thattekkad
Thattekkad Periyar Wildlife Tours starts right from your arrival at Cochin airport/railway station. On arrival our Global Vision Tours representative meets you and assists to transfer you to Thattekkad (50 kms/1hrs). On arrival check in at hotel situated on the banks of the Periyar River, freshen up and later go for local sightseeing, bird watching, bird lagoon activities (optional), boating (optional), visit to Elephant Training Centre and enjoy Jeep Safari and Mountain Biking. After the glorious tour, enjoy the overnight stay at the hotel in Thattekkad.
Day 02: Thattekkad – Thekkady (Periyar)
Morning enjoy the hearty breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Thekkady (140 Kms / 04 Hrs). On your drive to Periyar enjoy the lovely view of the streams, enchanting waterfalls, rubber plantation, and cardamom and tea plantations. On arrival check in at hotel, freshen up and enjoy leisure time at the comfort of your room. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Munnar.
Day 03: Thekkady (Periyar) Sightseeing
Enjoy the hearty breakfast at the hotel. Later visit to the mind blowing crystal clear Periyar Lake, answer to the calls of the birds, catch the photographs of the wild animals and rejuvenate in the scintillating natural beauty. After go for a spice plantation tour (optional) or experience the magical Ayurveda Therapy (optional). Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Thekkady.
Day 04: Periyar (departure)
Morning after breakfast, check out from the hotel and our Tour representative assists to transfer you to Cochin airport/Railway Station (190 km /5 Hrs) to connect flight or railways station for your onwards journey. Memorable tours to Kerala .
Springdale Heritage : Springdale Heritage, a charming, luxurious resort with a spring winding along its side. The warmth, comfort and splendor of this resort are just what the doctor ordered. A traveller to Springdale has the opportunity to experience nature first hand. In the midst of verdant beauty and cool winds.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary : Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq.km, of which 360 sq.km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Entry timing: 0600 - 1800 hrs.
Kurisumala: A place for adventure tourism and trekking. This will offer a panoramic view of Kumily town and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kumily (4 km from Thekkady): This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre ans spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady) : Washed in fresh spice-scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily): This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady): This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a oeak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the Ghats and some hill villages of Tamil nadu. Permission to visit the area can be abtained from the Wildlife Wadren, Thekkady.
Chellarkovil (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 neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Vandiperiyar (18 km from Thekkady):The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of roses, orchids and anthuria.
Vandanmedu (25 km from Kumily): This is one of the world's largest auction centres for candamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Pullumedu (43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar) : The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illumination at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph:0486-322027 or the Range Officer, Vallakkadavu Ph:0486-352515.
Ramakalmedu (40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar) : Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hills top also offers a Panoramic view of picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the Eastern slop of the western ghats.
Best time to visit Periyar is between the months of October to April.
By Air: The international airport at Kochi, lying at about 140kms from the sanctuary, is the nearest airport to Periyar. Kochi Airport is well connected with several important destinations in India and abroad. Many domestic and international airlines operate regular flight services from Kochi to major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai.
Another important airport close to Periyar is at Madurai (200kms).
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Periyar is at Kottayam, at about 117 km away. A good network of trains link Kottayam to the major railway stations of South India and rest of India.
By Road: A well-laid network of roads connects Periyar to the major cities in Kerala and south India. You can easily reach Periyar from Kochin, Alleppey, Kumarakom.
Regular Buses ply from the cities of Thiruvananthapuram (271 km), Cochin (200 km), Kottayam (117 km), and Madurai (140 km) to reach Periyar National park.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, locating in Thekkady is the perfect example of nature's bounty with great scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is considered as the most protected area for the elephants and the tigers. One of the most renowned national parks in South India, the Periyar National Park is set high at the Western Ghat ranges. The protected area is widespread along the area of 925 sq km (357 sq mi). The rest of 350 sq km (140 sq mi) of the core zone was declared as the Periyar National Park in the year 1982.
The tourist centre at Thekkady offers two-hour boating trips, arranged by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, at the artificial lake near the sanctuary. A herd of elephants or a wandering family of deer are common sights near the lake. In the hot months of March and April, visitors stand a better chance of viewing wildlife as the animals come to the lake frequently for drinking water. You may be able to spot herds of Gaur, Sambar and wild boars in the grasslands adjacent to the shores. A variety of avian fauna such as darters, egrets and kingfishers can be seen resting on dead tree trunks that stick out over the lake. During your boat ride, there is also a high probability of observing the antics of the Smooth Indian Otter.
The park is often called the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or Thekkady. It is located high in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the south Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu. It is 4 km (2.5 mi) from Kumily, approximately 100 km (62 mi) east of Kottayam, 110 km (68 mi) west of Madurai and 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Kochi.
In Periyar one can find tremendous ways to catch the wilderness of the sanctuary. The availability of Jeep Safari, elephant safari, and most charming boat cruises at Periyar Lake will bring the wildlife experience more rewarding. Boat cruises calls the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the Periyar Lake is adorned with an excellent boating spot for the tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water's edge along with some water-bodies. The upper deck is best for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise, but better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat.
Boat Cruise in jungle for half and Hour: 7:25 AM, 9:15 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:30 AM, 4:00 AM
Jeep Safari: Night safari: 11.00 PM to 03.00 AM
Full Day Safari: Max 03.00 PM Last entry
Elephant Safari : Every day for Half an Hour: 06.00 A.M. to 05.00 P.M.
While roaming around the most placid land of "God's Own Country" in Thekaddy, the Periyar Sanctuary is actually decked with tremendous natural bounties to be more fancied with the presence of the magnanimous elephant's counts in the arena. And to realize that natural beauty, a relaxing stay at its vehement hotels and resorts will do wonders to your stay. Along the impressive natural ambience, the luxury avails at this resorts and hotels will make up your mind for more stretchable journey in Periyar where some of the boat houses or houseboats are also marking great sophisticated look to make the boat safari more sovereign and impressive.