The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the 16 Tiger Reserve Projects in India situated in Kerala state of southern India. It is located in the in the Cardamom Hill Ranges occupying 777 square kilometers of area. Because of its location close to the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, the park makes a convenient place to break the long journey across the Ghats between Madurai and the coast. It is also a good base for day trips into the Cardamom Hills, with a couple of tea factories, spice plantations, the trailhead for the Sabarimala pilgrimage, view points and forest waterfalls within striking distance. Periyar lies at cool altitudes (750-1500m), just over 100 km east of Kottayam, and centers on a vast artificial lake, created by the British in 1895 to supply water to the drier parts of neighboring Tamil Nadu, around Madurai.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Animals to be seen in the Periyar sanctuary are Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog and very rarely, a Tiger. There are, now, an estimated 40 tigers here. Four species of primates are found at Periyar - the rare lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Common Langur And Bonnet Macaque. Periyar also happens to be the habitat of the elusive Nilgiri Tahr, which is rarely to be seen. The birdlife comprises of Darters, Cormorants, Kingfishers, the great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongoes. The reptilian population boasts Of Monitor Lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore. Visitors who trek into the Periyar national park often see a Python and sometimes even a King Cobra. In the lap of the mountains, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary's environment is like a canvas of many shades. The fresh air of the moist deciduous forest gives one a chance to experience the peace and serenity and long to return for more.
Other sites to look for:
Kumily : Situated just 4 kilometers away from Periyar, Kumily is a fast growing town where tourism is catching up. The major occupation of this small town is the spice trade.
Cradomom Hills: Periyar and Kumily are the very convenient points from which visitors can easily explore Kerala's beautiful Cardamom hills. Guide will approach you to offer trips via jeep or taxi to the hills. If you can get a group together, these trips surly work out as a good travel value for money
Boat Cruises: Boat cruises are surely the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. The Periyar Lake presents an excellent boating spot for the tourists. It is usual to see many animals from the boats like family of Elephants, Wild Boars and Sambar (a type of deer) by the water's edge. The upper deck of the boat is the best spot for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise. To maximize your chances of viewing tiger, you may take the 7.00 am boat. The option of renting your own boat is also available, though it is quite expensive.
How to get there?
- By Air: Kochi (Cochin) at 200 kms and Madurai at 140 kms are the nearest airports from Periyar
- By road: Kumily, the nearest town from Periyar is well networked by buses from Kottayam, Ernakulum and Madurai
- By rail: Kottayam at 115 kms is the nearest railhead for Periyar
Where to stay?
- There are many resorts near to the main gate of Periyar sanctuary.
- Kerala Tourism resort is also
- The Kumily town is well equipped with the excellent hotels and resorts for accommodation
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit is from December until April, when the dry weather draws animals from the forest to drink at the lakeside.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the best option for you when you are roaming in Kerala and looking for a 2-3 days of wildlife experience.