Set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats at the border to Tamil Nadu, the Periyar Tiger Reserve ranks as one of the major tiger reserves in India. Lying in Idukki District of the Kerala state, Periyar is a repository of natural beauty - replete with great scenic charm and rich bio diversity. Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala is spread over a wide expanse of about 780 sq. km. along the river Periyar, and the Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in the year 1978, with the aim to saving the endangered species of tiger in the country. A treasure-house of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary forms the major watershed of the rivers Periyar and Pamba in Kerala.
Teeming with rich and diverse wildlife, Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the most captivating wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The Reserve is reportedly home to about 49 species of mammals, 265 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, 35 species of fishes and 160 species of butterflies. The lush green forest at Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala has a beautiful lake right at the center, which meanders along the contours of the wooded slopes, serving as a perennial source of water for the wildlife population.
The population of tigers at Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala is on the rise and they are found in all types of habitats even if the density is much less in the evergreen forests. Though Periyar is titled a Tiger Reserve, spotting one is difficult here, because of the thick vegetation. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is prime elephant country and you can witness herds of playful elephants roaming freely or bathing and swimming at the Periyar Lake. Other animals commonly spotted at Periyar include Gaur (Indian bison), Sambar, Leopard, Wild Dog, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, etc. Elusive species like Nilgiri tahrs (a kind of a wild goat) also form an integral part of the attractions in Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala.
The Sanctuary at Periyar is also home to several species of birds like Cormorants, Darters, Kingfishers, great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongos. The reptiles frequenting the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala include Monitor Lizards, Python and Cobra. The perfect way to explore Periyar Tiger Reserve is through motorboat cruises on the lake or from watchtowers. One can even enjoy a ride on the elephant back and watch the enchanting wildlife from close quarters.
How to Reach
By Air :- The international airport at Kochi, lying at about 140kms from the sanctuary, is the nearest airport to Periyar.