Stretching across broad strips of the Cardamom and Pandalam hills in the South Western Ghats in Kerala, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary falls in the picturesque region of Thekkady. With a total area of 925 sq km, the Periyar National Park is considered the fortress of the tigers and elephants. Most of the emerald green hills in Periyar contain tropical evergreen forest with an extremely thick cover which no sunray can penetrate. Thus, the reserve can sustain an incredible variety of flora and fauna as well.
The sanctuary’s eco-tourism programme offers a wide range of activities such as nature walks, border trekking, tiger trails, bullock cart rides and bamboo rafting.
How to Explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary?
A tarred road leading to Periyar Tiger Reserve from Kumily, it’s soothing to walk through dazzling hues of green, especially during early mornings when the mist clung to the tops of low-lying hills. The sounds you hear pertain to birds’ chirping or warning calls of a mammal. You will get to feel sunrays on your skin if you’re in a clearing, otherwise, mostly you’ll be walking under a dense canopy. You’ll get to see tigers, elephants, birds, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water’s edge.
Before going for the jungle trek ensure wearing a pair of leech socks, and carry a small packed meal and a bottle of water. Dress in dark or khaki colours during the trek through jungles.
Periyar lake that was formed by the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam, is meant for boating or rather rafting. Partially submerged trees sticking out from the water and making convenient perches for a number of resident and migratory birds. When you go near the lake, you will notice the rafts are made of bamboo poles tied together with thin rope. During the ride, you may spot elephants drinking and bathing along its shores if you’re lucky enough. You also may also come across various species like cormorant and heron out on the lake apart from kingfisher, storks and eagles.
Spice Plantation Tour
Spice plantation is famous in Thekkady. You could visit Abraham’s Spice Garden, and as you move ahead of the lush mini jungle, you will see the dazzling red bird of paradise. You will get to taste cinnamon plants, coffee plants and red coffee beans, and mildly hot carom seeds.
There are some spice shops from where you can also purchase cocoa powder, coffee beans and powder, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, peppercorns, turmeric, etc.
Accommodation and Food
While roaming around the most placid land of Kerala, you may long to stay close to nature. In such a situation, you can look for accommodation. The Periyar Sanctuary is decked up in tremendous natural bounties, including the presence of a large number of elephants in the region. Along with the impressive natural ambience, Thekkady houses a few resorts inside the sanctuary. Inside the forest, you can secure your stay with KTDC’s Aranya Nivas or the Forest Department’s Bamboo Grove in Anavachal. While making the bookings, you should not be weighed down by the needs of meals as the forest department or the respective resorts arrange the same for their guests.
Outside the sanctuary, you can also stay comfortably with the CGH Earth Group’s Spice Village, Club Mahindra Tusker Trails, Coffee Inn, or Muthoot Cardamom County.