Thekkady in the Periyar National Park is India’s largest wildlife sanctuary and it’s only tiger reserve. It is an enchanting place with tranquil countryside, rich plantations & thick jungles. The sanctuary, centred around the large (24 sq km) artificial lake formed by the Mullaiperiyar Dam across the Periyar river, is open throughout the year, but the best season for a visit is from September to March.
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Thekkady is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs. Periyar is prime elephant country and large herds are often sighted at the lake fringes. Among the 62 species of mammals, many are rare, endemic and endangered. Sambar, the largest deer in India, is extensively distributed and constitutes the principal prey base of tiger and wild dog. Wild pig also has wide distribution throughout the park. Small populations of the highly endangered Nilgiri Tahr are found in the high altitude grasslands of Mangaladevi. The Nilgiri Langur, Lion Tailed Macaque, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Small Travancore Flying Squirrel, the Large Flying Squirrel and the endemic and endangered Fruit bat too thrive here.
Different nature trails form trekking routes, generally 4 to 5 km in length offering an excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands.
The Periyar Tiger Trail
Conducted by a team of poachers turned protectors of the forests, the trail passes through hills and valleys with a variety of tropical plants and wide-open spaces and offers the opportunity to spot indigenous wildlife like Nilgiri langur, giant squirrel, elephant and maybe even the tiger! The trek lasts night/2 days and 2 nights/3 days with 20 to 35 km covered, depending on the route chosen.
A hiking and rafting trip through some of the richest forest tracts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. The rafting lasts for about three hours and provides a panoramic view of forest-clad hills reflected on the lake. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar can also be spotted close to the lake.
Visit the spice and coffee plantations in Murikkady (5km away).
Visit the beautiful waterfalls and cascades Chellar Kovil (20km away).