high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, in God’s Own
Country, Kerala, is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, also know as the Thekkady
Wildlife Sancruary at Thekkady in Kerala,
is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India. The picturesque
Periyar Lake at the heart of the sanctuary is one major attraction
of the region. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895,
this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded
hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local
wildlife. Though its a Tiger Reserve, tourists come here to
view the Indian elephants moving freely all around with their
complete family of adult and kid elephants. Famous for its
pachyderm population (which is around 800 in number), Periyar
Wildlife Reserve is probably one of the few places, where
one can observe the elephants in their natural habitats.
Sightseeing at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary -
The Flora :
The forests are tropical, a mixture of
deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen ‘sholas’,
the last occurring in
moist valleys and characterised by tall trees and a closed
canopy. The forests alternate with extensive patches of grasslands.
The Fauna :
The fauna population of Periyar includes
- elephants, bisons, antelopes, sambars, wild boars and if
one is lucky, even tigers. Periyar is the best bet in India
for observing and photographing elephants at close quarters.
Besides, the birdlife comprises of darters, cormorants, kingfishers,
great hornbills (the great Malabar hornbill) and racket-tailed
The Reptiles :
The reptilian population boasts of monitor
lizards, that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks
along the lakeshore, especially in the cooler months. Pythons,
king cobras, flying lizards, flying squirrels, flying snakes
and to top it all, flying frogs are the other inhabitants
of this amazing sanctuary.
Park Trips :
Boat cruises make the best option to check
out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the Periyar lake
offers an excellent boating spot for 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.
Best Season to Visit :
The best time to visit Periyar
is between October and April.
Reaching Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary -
By Air :
The nearest national airports are Cochin (200
km) and Madurai (140 km).
By Rail :
The nearest railhead is Kottayam on the Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram
By Road :
The nearest town is Kumily (4 km). Periyar
is connected by bus service from Thiruvananthapuram (271 km),
Cochin (200 km), Kottayam (114 km), and Madurai (140 km).