The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park lies on the banks of Periyar Lake at Thekkady. The protected area sprawls in the nature blessed Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala. The sanctuary borders with Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu borders are made of Cardamom and Pandhalam hills in the Western Ghats.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’s history is closely related to the construction of Mullaperiyar Dam. Lake in the year 1895, the construction of the dam across the Periyar River led to the formation of Periyar Lake. In 1950, the forest was named to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. With the launch of Project Tiger 1978, it was made a Tiger Reserve in India and when the Project Elephant mission was launched in 1991, it was declared as an Elephant Reserve too.
Periyar wildlife sanctuary is famous for its rich flora and fauna. The forest here is tropical evergreen and moist deciduous. The verdant greenery comprises of teak, rosewoods, sandalwoods, mangoes, tamarinds, banyans, bamboos etc. Though popularly known for Bengal Tigers and Indian Elephants, it is home to around 35 species like gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, jungle cat, Nilgiri Tahr, lion-tailed macaque etc. The sanctuary is also blessed with unique bird population. Around 265 species of birds call it home. Common birds like Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Nilgiri flycatcher etc are seen here. If lucky you may be also able to watch rare species like black Baaz, Nilgiri thrush, little spiderhunter, brahminy kite, great hornbill etc.
Lots of activities are organized inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. You can enjoy the wildness with a trekking programme. Other activities are jungle patrol, bamboo rafting, jungle camp, border hiking etc. Lake Palace and Aranya Nivas are two tranquil accommodation options set in the sanctuary with lake side background. The romantic Lake Palace, formerly a summer retreat of the Maharaja of Travancore, is built on a small island accessible only by boat. Aranya Nivas (Jungle Retreat) is a premium property of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Hotels & Resorts.
Best time to visit: October till June.
Timings: 06: 00 AM – 06: 00 PM