of the well known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary
attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the
Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, this place is ideal for watching the animals
in their natural habitat.
The forest here, slopes into the manmade lake at the bottom of the hill. This lake serves as the waterhole for the animals and they come here to drink or take a dip. Elephants, Gaur, Sambhar and even tigers can be spotted here.
There are boat services which takes the visitor around the lake. The best season to visit the park is between October and June. Spread over 777 sq.km of the Cardamom Hills of Western Ghats, the Periyar sanctuary is located 137 km from Madurai.
Although an excursion on the splendid artificial lake is the standard way to experience the sanctuary, you can also walk around with the local guide in a small group. Wild Elephant herds come to the lake to frolic in the water.
Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here, including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets, White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and Fly Catchers.
Kumily : Kumily a plantation town is closely
associated with Thekkady, it is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar
Sanctuary. It is an important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the
main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar
region is in Kumily.
Murikkady : Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi : This picturesque place lies between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu State border. It is a popular picnic spot. Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
Vandiperiyar : The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town serves as a source of nourishment for 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 Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.
Air: The nearest national airports are Cochin (200
km) and Madurai (140 km).
Rail: The nearest major rail junction is Kottayam.
Road: Well connected by bus service to the major cities.