The Trumpets and the Roars
Set high in the ranges of Western Ghats of Kerala, Periyar National Park has a picturesque lake at the heart of sanctuary. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, it is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. It is also referred to by the name 'Thekkady'. It is the most captivating and exotic wildlife sanctuary with its vast diversity of flora and fauna. It is considered as one of the best managed reserves in India. The longest river in Kerala the Periyar originates from the forest of the reserve as does the holy River of Pamba.
Major chunk of the entire protected area are covered of unaffected evergreen or semi evergreen rainforests. Typically tall tropical tree species such as Vateria indica, Canarium strictum, hopea parvifloria are seen. The splendor of Orchids, teakwood, rosewood, bamboo, eucalyptus and ferns also enraptures the tourists. About 350 of the plants have healing properties.
The sanctuary houses a variety of wide variety of animals including imperial tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, goats, porcupines. There are 4 species of primates seen: Lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, and Common langur and Bonnet macaque. The uncommon Nilgiri is also seen in the park. There are 45 varied kinds of reptiles among those monitor lizards can be detected and one can often see a Python or a King Cobra.
So far 320 species of birds have been counted including Darters, Cormorants, kingfishers, kites and racket tailed drongos.
A visit to the sanctuary gives you an opportunity to participate in trekking, sailing on bamboo raft on the lake and gliding down the surface of the lake gives a thrilling experience. Periyar tiger trail is a top draw among tourists.
Excursions in Periyar
Situated 4 km from Periyar, this is a growing town and a major tourist attraction just like spice trade, which is a chief occupation here.
The reserve is situated in these hill ranges. Pristine environment, scented tree gardens and astounding mountain valleys is what makes it the most sought after destination. For more curious tourists, there is facility of trekking.
It is reported to be the second largest pilgrimage site; most popular pilgrimage destination of South India. It lies in the buffer zone of the park.
Other main attractions are Mangla Devi temple, Madurai and boat cruise.
When to Visit
The best time to visit is from October until April in the dry weather, which draws animals out towards the lake. Avoid the monsoon period because leeches make it difficult for hiking or trekking.
How to Reach
The international airport Kochi lying about 149 km is the nearest and well- connected with several prominent destinations. Another prime airport is Madurai at a distance of 200 km.
The nearest railhead is 114 km at Kottayam and Madurai at a distance of 134 km.
The nearest town from Periyar is Kumily, which is well-connected with a large network of roads to Kerala and South India. Regular buses ply from the cities to the park.