History / Brief about Periyar National Park
Periyar wildlife sanctuary has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Formed in 1895, the Periyar Lake was formed, after the Government of the erstwhile Travancore State permitted the Madras State to construct the Mullaperiyar Dam across Periyar River to provide irrigation facilities to Tamil Nadu. In the year 1899, the forests around the Lake with an extent of 600.88km2 were declared as Periyar Lake Reserve Forests – No. 39. Realizing the importance of game preservation, the Travancore State in 1933 appointed Mr. S.C.H. Robinson, a retired Land Commissioner as the Game Warden. On his recommendation, an area around the lake was declared as the Nellikkampetti Game Sanctuary in 1934 with the headquarters at Peermedu. In 1950 the Nellikampatti Game Sanctuary was expanded into Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (777 Km2) by adding the adjoining forests of Rattendon Valley (12.95 Km2) and Mount Plateau (163.17 Km2) to the Periyar Lake Reserve.
Speciality of Periyar National Park
Periyar Tiger Reserve is a globally renowned tourism destination, providing great opportunities to experience the beauty and serenity of nature. Apart from Elephants, the other animals to be seen in the Periyar sanctuary are Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian wild dog and very rarely, a Tiger. There are, now, an estimated 40 tigers here. Four species of primates are found at Periyar – the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur And Bonnet Macaque. Periyar also happens to be the habitat of the elusive Nilgiri Tahr, which is rarely to be seen.
A boating trip on Periyar Lake is the ideal way to sight a variety of wildlife ranging from elephants, sambar and gaur to bears, otters and a variety of birds and
reptiles. If you are lucky, you might even sight the pride of the Reserve, the tiger! If you plan your trip to coincide with the monsoons, be prepared to experience the rains of India in all its glory. A trip outdoors on any of several eco-tourism packages can also give you a birds-eye view of the flora and lesser fauna of the Reserve. Cheerful townsfolk, ever ready to lend a helping hand, energetic staff and a variety of accommodation choices to suit everyone’s budget all come together to make a trip to Thekkady a memory to cherish..
In the lap of the mountains, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary’s environ is like a canvas of many shades. The fresh air of the moist deciduous forest gives one a chance to experience the peace and serenity and long to return for more.
Other tourist interest places in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated just 4-kms from Periyar, Kumily is a growing town where tourism is fastly catching up just like the spice trade, the major occupation of this small town. The town is also well equipped with the excellent hotels and resorts for accommodation.
Periyar and Kumily are the most convenient points from which visitors can easily explore Kerala’s beautiful Cardamom hills. Guide will approach you at offers of trips via jeep or taxi to the hills and if you can get a group together, these trips work out as a good travel value.
Periyar Boat ride
Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary.Today the Periyar lake presents 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. 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. To maximise you chances, take the 7.00 am boat. You can also consider renting your own boat.
Best season to Visit Periyar
The best season to visit Periyar wildlife sanctuary is from the months of October and June.
How to reach Periyar National Park
Air : Kochi (Cochin) Airport to Periyar national park 200-kms driver and Madurai airport in Tamil Nadu to Periyar national park at 140-kms are the nearest airports.
Rail : Kottayam Railway station at 114-kms is the nearest railhead from Periyar.
Road : Kumily, the nearest town from Periyar is well served by both state and private buses from Kottayam, Ernakulam and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
General Informations & Tips for Travellers
Note : After heavy rains, chances of good wildlife sightings are very slim as the animals only come to the lake, when water sources inside the forest have dried up
Other Nearby Attractions in Periyar
Vagamon is a hill station located in Kottayam- Idukki border of Kerala. It has a cool climate with the temperature between 10-23°C during a summer midday. It is situated 1,200 metres above sea level.
Vagamon is a beautiful place with a never-ending line of lush green hills, breath-taking ravines and meandering rivulets. A perfect tourist place situated 1200 meters above the sea level spot surrounded by the greenery of tea gardens , Fresh cool air, murmuring Pine forest ,small waterfalls , attractive meadows inviting you to enjoy the beauty of vagamon.
Reaching Vagamon itself is a life time experience, the meandering road to Vagamon is cut in solid rock lined with pine forests. And as you wind your way through green capped hills, the rolling plains come to give you an extra ordinary view, thousands of feet below you.
This tourist place also has to offer Thangal Para, the Indo-Swiss Project and Kurisumala Ashram. Welcome to a land which would make you come back again and again. So that could rejuvenate the tourist and cherish memories of this enchantingly beauty of this land.
Vagamon hill station is comprised of a beautiful series of hillocks, valleys and cascading waterfalls that make it the ideal getaway for tourists. Take a walk along the narrow, mist covered amazing roads that wind up the hills and experience true bliss. For adventure seekers, there is an option of trekking, para gliding or rock climbing.
Mundakayam is considered to be the main gateway to Thekkady. Crossing the Mundakayam Bridge from Kottayam into the district of Idukki, the road winds higher and higher, up the mountain side. The view of the mist-enveloped mountain stretches and the cool mountain air are soothing and exhilarating.
En route to Thekkady, one takes a diversion from the town of Vandiperiyar to travel 27km to Gavi. Spread across the beauty of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, one can avail journeys through the vast expanse of the tropical wet evergreen forests with abundant animal sightings. Rowing expeditions are also conducted here from time to time. Gavi is an eco-tourist spot in Kerala which has widely become popular after ‘Alistair International’ the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centres and one of the must-see places in India. A must visit place for all nature lovers as Gavi is preserved in its natural scenic beauty untainted by the mighty hands of modernity.
Gavi is mainly known for its wildlife & beautiful landscape. Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. Kerala’s very own treasure elephants can be sighted abundantly. For bird watcher, Gavi is a great location, which has more than 260 species of birds including the great pied hornbill, woodpecker, and kingfishers, Gavi is a heaven for birdwatchers.
A splendid spot to be visited at least once for all those who love nature.
Kuttikanam is 41km from Thekkady. At an altitude of over 3500 feet above sea level, this cool salubrious place was a popular resort of the Maharajas of Travancore and European traders in the past. Kuttikanam near Peermedu in Idukki is a place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even a languorous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush, green hills. The summer palace Maharajas with the traditional ‘Thulasithara’, teak structures, smoke-stained hearths, the great underground escape passages and stables, tell tales of yore.
Kumily is a quaint little town located on the border of two states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is a little plantation town that is essentially famous for its location, bang in the middle of all several tourist destinations in Kerala.
Tourists flock to Kumily all through the year in order to take in the sheer beauty of its plantations and the rustic appeal of its old and charming markets. These markets are famous among the tourist community, with foreigners flocking to visit this town from various parts of the globe.
Kumily is also located 6 km away from the town of Thekkady, which is yet another very popular tourist destination. With their long and winding plantation walks, diverse wildlife and something for the adventurous (including the tourist favorites of boating and trekking), Kumily and Thekkady offer tourists a wide variety of activities to the tourists.
Tourist can mingle with the friendly locals, dig into traditional Kerala cuisine, soak in its rich and diverse culture & ride on elephants on your way through the plantations. For the adventurous at heart, Kumily offers boat cruises and trekking options, while the ones looking for a peaceful time can opt for rejuvenating massages in one of the cottages.