How to Plan Your Trip to Periyar National Park: A Comprehensive Guide
Lying amid the lofty Western Ghats, surrounded by lush greenery, Periyar National Park in Kerala is one of the most popular national parks in South India. The sanctuary lies around the Lake Periyar, which originally was a water reservoir. The national park is known to be the home of tigers, elephants, and the rare Nilgiri tahr along with around 265 species of birds. Floral species and vegetation variety is also found in abundance here. It is also known as Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary and Periyar Tiger Reserve. One of the best ways to explore the sanctuary is through boat safaris. Trekking is another popular activity here. It was declared as Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1978.
Location: Thekkady, around 4 km from Kumily, in the Idukki district of central Kerala
Coverage Area: 778 square kilometer
Established in: 1982
Wildlife in Periyar
Periyar in South India has been blessed by a variety of wildlife, rich biodiversity, and lush environs. It is also a tiger reserve and is home to around 40 tigers. Other animals found here are elephant, jungle cat, wild pig, lion-tailed macaque, gaur, stripe-necked mongoose, Nilgiri langur, Golden Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Indian bison, Indian wild dog, mouse deer, sambar, barking deer etc. One can spot 49 species of mammals, 112 kinds of butterflies, 9 amphibian species, 28 kinds of reptiles, 22 fish species as well as 265 species of birds. Periyar also houses the elusive Nilgiri Tahr but is quite rare to spot.
Around 1700 m of landscape of Periyar, adjacent to the north and the east, are covered with the lofty Western Ghats. On the west is a widespread tableland of Mount Plateau, which has an altitude of 1200 m. Thick forests areas of the Sabarimala hills in the basic of River Pamba start from the edge of the plateau.
Wildlife Safari in Periyar
One of the best national parks in Kerala, Periyar national park offers elephant safari and jeep safari along with boat safari, which is one of the top things to do in Thekkady. Boat cruises in Lake Periyar is the best option to spot wildlife, savor the greenery, and admire the peace. Boat rides are offered by the state’s forest department. Animals like wild boar, elephants and sambar deer can be spotted on the banks of the Lake. Morning is an ideal time for wildlife safari.
- Boat Cruise:
Boat Safari Ride in Periyar takes place for half an hour. Kerala Forest Department runs 2 boats. Five trips are allowed on a daily basis wherein every trip is of about 90 minutes.
07:30 AM – 09:00 AM, 09:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 11: 5 AM – 12:45 PM, 01:45 PM – 03:15 PM, and 03.30 PM – 05:00 PM
- Jeep Safari:
06:30 AM – 03:00 PM Last entry (Day safari)
11:00 PM – 03:00 AM (Night safari)
- Elephant Safari:
06:00 AM to 05:00 PM (On a daily basis for half an hour)
Popular activities in Periyar
Apart from boat safaris, other popular activities here are border hikes, angling, boa, guided bullock cart ride to visit farmland, camping, guided day trekking and guided nature walks. Trek to the temple of Mangla Devi can also be planned. One can also enjoy elephant bathing and feeding.
Explore Periyar with these amazing tour packages:
Attractions in and around Periyar
This wildlife reserve is ideal not only for wildlife enthusiasts but also for nature lovers. One can explore the Cradomom Hills and the Pandalom Hills to savor the scenic beauty of the place. Popular attractions in and around the Periyar are:
- Periyar Lake – Located within the boundaries of the national park, the Periyar Lake is that entity after which the reserve was named. Boat safari rides is one of the most popular things to do where one can spot animals quenching their thirst from the lake water.
- Kumily – Popular for its cardamom hills, Kumily is a beautiful small town that is located near Thekkady, in Idukki district. A visit to this place is quite relaxing and peaceful. The town is dotted with a number of temples and also boasts of scenic beauty in abundance. It is also an important town for trading of spice.
- Pullumedu – Known for its green surroundings and exotic wildlife reserve, Pullumedu is located at a distance of just 43 km from Thekkady. Other popular attractions here are Shri Ayappa Temple and the Makara Jyothi temple.
- Mangla Devi Temple – Around 15 km from Thekkady, Mangla Devi temple is a popular holy site of the region. One of the highlights of this shrine is that it is around 2000 years old. The temple has been built in ancient Pandyan style of architecture. The temple, on Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, lies at an altitude of 1337 m above the sea level and thus the views also are wonderful. Prayers are only organized one time in a year in April/May, on a full moon day.
- Kuttikanam– Around 41 km from Thekkady, Kuttikanam is a peaceful place that lies an altitude of 3500 feet above the sea level. Boasting of a wonderful climate, it was the summer resort of European trader and the Maharajas of Travancore.
- Mundakayam– Known to be the main ‘Gateway to Thekkady’, Mundakayam is a dream-like destination with mist-clad surroundings and green hills. Let the cool breeze brush past your face.
Best time to visit Periyar
Periyar National Park is open all around the year, unlike many other Indian national parks. However, the best time to visit Periyar Tiger reserve is between the months of September and May, as the weather is ideal at this time. Elephants can be spotted in March and April months. Periyar is one of the handful of national parks in India that remain open during the monsoon season. Boat safaris and trekking can be enjoyed at this time.
How to reach
- By Air:
The nearest airports to Periyar are Madurai Airport and Cochin International Airport, which are 140 km and 190 km away respectively.
- By Rail:
The nearest railway station is the Kottayam railway station, which is 114 km away.
- By Road:
Kumily is the nearest town from Periyar, which receives a good amount of state as well as private buses from different destinations from Kerala like Kottayam, Ernakulam etc. and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
The ticket counter opens at 06: AM, and the sale of tickets begins from 06.30 AM. Tickets are sold only till 05:00 PM. Tourists are required to come out of the national park by 05.30 PM. The ticket counter for boating opens 90 minutes before the start of every trip.
- Entry- Foreigner (Adult / Child) – INR 300 / INR 105
Indian (Adult who are above 11 years / Child) – INR 25 / INR 5
- Camera– Video Camera – INR 300
Still Camera – INR 30
- Vehicle – Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) – INR 50
Heavy vehicles – INR 200
Two-wheelers – INR 25
- Boating ticket – INR 50 (student and children between 5 and 11 years of age)
INR 150 (everyone above 11 years of age)
(Note: Fee is liable to change without any prior information)
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