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Periyar National Park

Periyar Tiger Reserve is a magical natural paradise; a beautiful reservoir surrounded by the green undulating hills of the western Ghats and an immensely peaceful forest. It is probably the best place to observe the Asiatic elephants in their natural habitat and also prides itself with a large variety of flora, fauna and tribal culture.

A picturesque drive through dense jungles and rich spice plantations takes you to Thekkady. The reservoir is the dominating feature of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Mists swirl ethereally over the water of the lake in the early mornings, accentuating the beauty of the area. Darters and Cormorants skipping across and elephants frolicking in the water ignoring the passing boats provide an experience seldom found.
The Periyar river originating from the evergreen forest merges in the reservoir catchment area before proceeding to meet the Arabian sea 250 km onwards. Rolling green hills, tropical evergreen forest patches interspersed with grasslands and marshy flatlands of Periyar are core to a vibrant ecosystem at the center of Periyar's success as an amazing natural destination.
Fauna:
Periyar is prime elephant country and large herds are commonly sighted near the lake shore foraging or playing in the water. The elephants frolic in the water, spouting spray onto their backs, the females form protective rings around the babies.
It is also home to tigers, sambar, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs. There are officially about 40 tigers in the reserve, but sighting one is difficult due to the thick evergreen vegetation. More than 30 species of fish are found in the lake. The Eurasian River Otter is, the only mammal in the lake; it can often be seen along the banks and provides entertainment for hours with its antics.
Beside than tigers, one can also find  Dholes (wild dogs) in the sanctuary. These brown canines dwell in well-organised groups and their sounds reverberate across the forest when they go out to hunt.
Gaur or wild buffalo can be seen grazing along the hillsides during treks and one may also encounter playful Malabar squirrels here.
Periyar is also home to four primates species; two of these are endangered:– the Lion-tailed Macaque and the Bonnet Macaque.
Avi Fauna:
A large variety of birds await the avid birder in Periyar; these include Great Cormorants and Darters are commonly seen, as well as   Changeable Hawk Eagles, Ospreys Woolly–necked Storks, Great Hornbills, rare fruit bats, racket tailed drongos, and grey heron.

In 1934, it was named the Nellikampetty Sanctuary. The Maharaja of Travencore understood the importance of its conservation and appointed S.C.H Robinson as its game warden. In 1966 a merger with the local forest department took place and in 1978 it became a tiger reserve.
Since then, the central area of 377 sq/km is listed as a reserve under the Project Tiger. The total area of the sanctuary including the forest covers 777 sq/km. The damed Periyar Lake is spread over 26 sq/Km.

Periyar offers some unique experiences to savour the beauty of the forest:-
Boating and Rafting:
Boating along the scenic Periyar lake dotted with the stark, skeletal remains oftrees that protrude from the river bed, sometimes topped with a Cormorant drying its wings, is a beautiful experience. The cruise offers an ideal platform for close encounters of wildlife.
Another option takes visitors on foot through the thick forests and on to the lake on a bamboo raft. The raft ride provides a unique view of the lake and surrounding forests.

Periyar Tiger Trail:
In a unique initiative the Periyar Tiger Trail programme is conducted by a team of ex-poachers of Periyar, who have become protectors and guides of the forest and offer an adventurous way of savouring the beauty of Periyar by trekking through the forest. The programmes last for either 1 night/2 days or 2 nights/3 days. 
Jungle Patrol:
This program forms part of the night patrolling in the buffer zones of the tiger reserve. The trekking is conducted between 7 pm. and 4 am. This a fascinating experience that introduces travelers to the fascinating night activities of the sanctuaries nature and wildlife.
One can explore the habitat of the various tribes in Periyar. These are the Mannan tribals who live in quaint hamlets mostly cut off from the modern world. A journey inside the dense forest takes you to these small villages. Here, you can experience first hand the simple and primitive life of the tribals. Traditional methods of fishing, hunting and ancient agricultural practices make up for a different experience.
The area is also a natural farmland for spices like clove, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Home to the exotic wildlife, Periyar sanctuary is a nature lover’s paradise. The abundance of flora and fauna makes it an ideal place to observe the sights and sounds of the jungle. Spread over an area of 777 square km The sanctuary houses a tiger reserve which has around 40 tigers and herds of elephants . Other animals include barking deers, leopards, foxes and mongooses. Species of primates include langurs and macaque. The flora includes around 1900 plant species and 143 types of wild orchids. The sanctuary also grows the only coniferous tree found in south India, Podocarpus Wallichianus. In addition 170 varieties of ferns, 2000 types of flowering plants and three kinds of seed plants can be found. More than 300 bird species find their home in Periyar; these include the great pied hornbill, Dr.Salim Ali’s rare fruit bat, racket tailed drongos, darters cormorants and grey herons. Periyar is an abode for a rich variety of insects including 160 different of butterflies. The rare Travencore Evening Brown butterfly can also be found here. Reptiles include 30 snake types including python, king cobra, 3 kinds of turtle and a dozen lizard species. Amphibians like tree frog and salamander are also abundant. Around 40 different types of fishes including the masheer, trout and salmon are present in the lake. There are three watch towers inside the park maintained by the forest department. These are at Edappalayam, Mannakavala and Thannikudi. These offers magnificent views of the surrounding area.
Kumily
Famous for its spice plantations, Kumily is 5 km from Thekkady. Spices grown here include cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper and clove. The town is also a spice trade centre.
Murikkady
5 Km from Thekkady, Murikkady town is famous for rich coffee, cardamom and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi
10 Km from Thekkady, Pandikuzhi is a perfect platform for excellent nature photography and also a popular trekking site.
Spring Valley Mountain (Kurisumala)
Khurisumala offers panoramic view of the Kumily town and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Organic spices can be bought from many local stores. Innovative buys include spice scented chocolates and traditionally made spice preserves. Locally grown varieties of tea and coffee are also available.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
KOCHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
MADURAI
Kottayam
Madurai
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
145 Km 03H 55m
Neelimala hill is a part of the pilgrim trek to Sabarimala temple, the abode of Lord Ayyapa. The Pamba- Sannidhanam trek to Ayappa temple involves climbing the Neelimala hill. It has some engaging trek routes also.
141 Km 04H 12m
145 Km 03H 55m
Stunning green hills of rolling tea plantations surround breathtaking Munnar. The town provides a completely relaxing and therapeutic experience for jaded city dwellers - misty mornings, sweet scented air, whispering breezes and a chance to walk in the clouds.
172 Km 05H 12m
Kochi or the erstwhile Cochin is a melting pot of culture from as far as Arabia, China, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. A bustling port city enriched with multi ethnic inhabitants and culture, is made up of small islands connected by the backwaters and canals, and a central commercial town with an old Portuguese fort standing tall over the Arabian sea.
248 Km 07H 25m
Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 18 °C 29 °C
Winter 15 °C 21 °C
Best season to visit the Reserve is September to May. The months of March and April constitute the driest part of the year, because of which the animals spend a lot of time near the lake in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
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