Thekkady is the place to stay when you want to visit Periyar Wildlife Reserve. The journey to Thekkady affords some beautiful views of the highest mountain range in India south of the Himalaya.
Periyar Sanctuary is open all year round. The best time to visit is between October and April. During April and May, when water gets low and grass dries out, there is a greater chance of spotting the elephants near the lakeside.
What to see
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India. The wildlife that can be seen in the sanctuary include the Elephant, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Porcupine, Wild pig, Nilgiri langur, Common langur, Wild dog or dhole, Monitor lizard, Flying lizard, Flying frog, Flying snake, King cobra, Python, Flying squirrel, Malabar squirrel, birds such as Darter, Kingfishers and Gray hornbill.
Note: Permission for video, TV and cinema shooting can be obtained from the Chief Conservator of Forests & Wildlife, Vazhuthaeaud, RO. Thiruvananthapurarn, Tel: 62214.
Air: Madurai (140 Km) and Kochi (190 Km) are the convenient airports.
Rail: The nearest railhead is Bodinayakanur (67 Km). However, Kottayam (114 Km.) is the most convenient railhead.
Road: Periyar is connected by motorable roads with ldukki 66 Km, Kodaikanal 160 Km, Kochi 190 Km, Kottayam 114 Km, Madurai 140 Km, Munnar 113 Km. and Thiruvananthapuram 272 Km.
Area: 777 Sq. Km.
Altitude : 900 meters to 2000 Metres. Temperature: Summer - Max: 29 Deg.C Min: 18.0 Deg.C Winter - Max: 21 Deg.C Min: 15.5 Deg.C Rainfall: 203 Cm.(June to October)
STD Code: 04869. Best season: August to May, though the park remains open throughout the year.
1.The following picnic spots are approachable by motor launch or bridle path in the forest :- Manakkavala 10 Km, Periyar Dam 12 Km, Crusoe Island 19 Km, Pavarasa 19 Km, Mullakudy 29 Km, Thannikudy (core area of the park, permission and guide to be taken from the Forest Department) 39 Km.
Kumily (4 km): This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily.
Murikkady (5 km): Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily): This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer’s delight.
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km): The ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the ghats and some hill villages of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Thekkady. Ph: 322027.
Chellarkovil (15 km from Kumily): This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Vandiperiyar (18 km from Thekkady): The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and Anthurium
Vandanmedu (25 km from Kumily): This is one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Pullumedu (43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar): The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph: 322027 or the Range Officer, Vallakkadavu. Ph: 352515.
Peermade (40 Km) : Peermade at an altitude of 914 mts, is a small hill station on the way to Thekkady.The place is full of rubber, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations.