The pride of Kerela and a testimony to nature’s splendor and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake – an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs. In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple – a beautiful old stone temple situated in the heart of the Thekkady forest, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters
The Periyar Widlife sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wiild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River 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 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
Major Wildlife Attractions in Periyar National Park
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.
The birdlife comprises of Darters, Cormorants, Kingfishers, the great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongoes. The reptilian population boasts Of Monitor Lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore. Visitors who trek into the Periyar national park often see a Python and sometimes even a King Cobra
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 ATTRACTIONS IN THEKKADY (PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY)
Kumily : 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.
Boat Cruises : 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. Better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat.
HOW TO REACH
Air : Kochi (Cochin) International airport : Travel time – 5 Hrs by road
Rail : Ernakulam railway station (Cochin\ Kochi) : Travel time – 5 Hrs by road