The tigers... the elephants... the river... the flora... to the extreme !!
Periyar is something beyond Safari.
Periyar is one of the 27 Project Tiger Reserves in India and is situated in Idukki district within the boundaries of the Western Ghats in Kerala. It is 270 km (approx.) from the capital, Thiruvananthapuram. Periyar is also known as Thekkady and is especially known for its distinctive wildlife. Periyar covers an area of 777 sq km, out of which 350 sq km is demarcated for Periyar National Park & Tiger Reserve. Periyar is very rich in terms of vegetation. You can find a diverse variety of flora and fauna here and thus, it is one of the most captivating wildlife parks in the world.
The best place to hang out at Periyar is Periyar Lake. It flows from the heart of the sanctuary, and is the longest river of Kerala with a length of 244 km. Periyar river contributes to the supply of domestic water, irrigation and power generation as well. It is thus known as the Lifeline of Kerala. These factors collectively make Periyar a must-visit tourist spot.
How To Get There
Periyar is located approximately 100 km east of Alappuzha, 110 km west of Madurai and 120 km southeast from Kochi. There are well connected roads and a railway station at Kottayam (175 km from Periyar). The nearest airports are at Madurai and Cochin. Kumily is the nearest town from Periyar (4 km) and is provided by both state and private buses from Kottayam, Ernakulam and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is a paradise for Jungle Safari lovers. Apart from tigers and elephants, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of those rare places where you can find the Lion Tailed Macaque, Malabar Squirrel and Sloth Bear also. You can see mammals like Gaur, Sambar, Mouse Deer, Dholes (Indian Wild Dogs), Mongoose and Nilgiri Langur in Periyar. It is popular for migratory birds and numerous species of fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects as well.
Periyar River originates at the Shivgiri Peak of Sundaramala (Tamil Nadu). The Idukki dam is built across this river. Periyar is an ideal place to see migratory birds and herds of elephants. You can take a boat ride to visit elephants playing near the river. The grasslands across the river are an exotic collection of distinctive flora.
Boat Cruises are the best available options to have a close look at what Periyar Sanctuary has to offer. Periyar lake is an excellent boating spot for tourists. You can spot the whole families of elephants, wild boars and sambars and deer alongside the river. If you are on a group tour, you can also consider renting your own boat.
Periyar is an ideal place to explore Kerala's beautiful Cardamom Hills, which are popular for the cultivation of cardamom, pepper and coffee. These hills cover a huge area including deep valleys and jungles. The hills are covered with a natural aroma of spices & coffee.
Best Time To Go
The best to visit Periyar is October to June. March and April are the driest months, so most of the animals can be seen approaching the river. During the monsoons, the temperature varies from 19 to 21 degrees, great for vacations. Even in summer, the temperature ranges from 21 to 24 degrees, which is not too hot. Cool winds stay throughout the year, so the atmosphere remains pleasant.
Flora And Fauna
Periyar is rich in terms of vegetation. The area is covered with evergreen rain forests. Extensive patches of grasslands on the hills and along the river constitute the major flora portion.
The wildlife sanctuary is a paradise for 60 different species of mammals and 320 different categories of birds. It is also rich in numerous species of fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Periyar is world famous for its Bio-Diversity.
There is not much offered in terms of shopping in Periyar except its exotic spices. Periyar is famous for pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise. These spices are also used in medicines, preservatives and perfumes. A few handicraft items from the rural area can be purchased here.