Periyar: General Information

Periyar Travel & Tourism Overview

Area: 305 km²
Altitude: 900-1800 m
Location: Periyar is located in south-eastern side of Kerala
Language: Malayalam, Hindi, and English
Best Time to Visit: October- June
Climate
Winters (October to March): 15°C – 21°C
Summer (April to September): 26°C – 36°C

Located on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Periyar with its cool chimes and agreeable greenery has a wide zone for travellers to chill out. Small, serene and startling, the land is blessed with nature’s beauty. The picturesque hill town holds great opportunity for treks and mountain walks. Periyar is part of Thekkady district. The district is a heady mix of mystic mountains, sprawling spice plantation and rich biodiversity. A holiday vacation in this deciduous forest area can satiate anyone’s senses. One can’t afford to miss this part of Kerala.

Here tourists can lose their heart for a place better known as Periyar wildlife sanctuary. One of the largest and most visited wildlife reserves in Kerala, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary occupies 777 sq km of cardamom hills region of the Western Ghats. There are multiple options to explore the wilderness in Periyar wildlife sanctuary- trekking, jeep, elephant and boat. Each gives one an opportunity to spot unique wildlife. One of the best ways to explore in and out of the sanctuary is through a boat ride. Transverse over the cascading waters of Periyar lake and witness the scenic view of the sanctuary like never before. The vast 26 sq- km long artificial lake was created by the Britons in 1895. Elephant safari is another option to explore the length and breadth of the national park. The elephant safari is meant for those who want to enjoy the wilderness of languid pace. Strike a rapport with the guide and he will spill the beans about the wildlife reserve. One of the largest parks in Kerala, tourists will be amazed at the boasts of myriad and mysterious life forms which sustains here.

Periyar National park is a perfect example of nature’s bounty along with rich biodiversity. The national park is best known for its tiger and leopard population. Other then these animals, the park is quite known for its variety of bird species as well. Prominent species of birds which can be found here are Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit, Rufous Babbler, and Blue Winger Parakeet.

There is something special about seeing elephants in their natural habitat. At Periyar wildlife sanctuary, you can just do it. Elephant shower and ride is one of the most important things to do on a holiday in Periyar. Roll up your sleeves and help the naturalists in an elephant grooming session, bathe them, feed them, enjoy the shower and later enjoy a 15-minute ride in the Dubare Reserve Forest. The visuals and sounds of birds chirping throughout the park, mesmerising view of Western Ghats makes Periyar a must-visit destination for travellers across the globe.

Other than the thrilling jungle, Periyar is also famous for spice plantation. Vandanmedu within the area happens to be the largest producer of cardamom in India. It is the one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom. Peerumedu, Kumily and Murikkady are important spice trading centres in Kerala. Within the limits of the forest, there are 2 shrines- Sabarimala and Mangaladevi Temple. Due to the abundance of presence of holy temples this place attracts both the nature lovers as well as the spiritual people.

It’s impossible to encompass the beauty of Periyar’s natural splendour. Any attempt to do so would be just an effort of describing something that is inherently beautiful beyond description.

Interesting Facts

  • Vandanmedu in Periyar is one of the largest producers of Cardamom in India. It is the one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom.

A Glimpse of Popular Things to do in Periyar

  • Go for a 3-4 hours long bamboo rafting in Periyar wildlife sanctuary. It will take one through many delights of the wildlife sanctuary.
  • Take an elephant ride through the forest reserve. Tourists will feel like a king as they get a top this gigantic but calm creature. Elephant safaris are available at Anavachal Road in Thekkady. A mahout will guide the tourists throughout the trail. Feel how maharajas felt high and mighty riding into the midst of their admiring objects.
  • Indulge in bird watching at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Take an exhilarating jungle safari through Periyar Wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is known for its elephant and tiger population. A trip to Kerala is incomplete without an experience of wilderness.
  • Go for a nature walk guided by a tour guide to jungles of Thekkady. During this tour, one can click pictures of opulent surroundings. The tour lasts for around three hours.
  • Discover the huge landscapes of Periyar by trekking. Amongst the most popular trekking trails are the hills and the forests of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Other noteworthy trekking trails near Thekkady are Kumily to Pandikuzhi and Kurisamala to Kumily.
  • Tickle your taste buds with the best of Kerala wafers and pickles. Don’t forget to satiate hunger with three different types of bananas. Also try the milkshakes and snacks made from each of the different types of Banana. While in Kerala, one could become an addict of banana chips.

Where to Stay

The base for exploring Periyar is the village called Kumily. The village has accommodation to suit all pockets, offering particularly good value in the lower price bracket. There are many colonial-era hide ways deep in the mountains. Mentioned below are some prominent resorts and hotels where tourist can book their stay on a vacation to Periyar:

  • Periyar Nest Resort
  • Jungle Park Resort
  • The elephant court
  • Hotel Season Thekkady
  • Lake Palace by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
  • Greenwoods Resort
  • Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club Thekkady
  • Beaumont Plantation Retreat
  • Springdale Heritage
  • Hotel Grand Thekkady
  • Hotel Sandra Palace
  • Thekkady – Woods n Spice, A Sterling Holidays Resort
  • Spice Grove Hotels And Resorts
  • Wildernest
  • Green Mansion
  • Taj Garden Retreat
  • Shalimar space garden

Shopping

Periyar is a hotspot in Kerala to purchase souvenirs, bamboo products, wafers known as Kerala Banana chips and culinary spices. From here tours can also handpick some beautiful flowers, jute products, silk saree, regional handlooms, traditional pickles of Kerala, cardamom, peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace and anise.

How to Reach

By Airways: Madurai airport is the nearest airways station. It is around 140 km away from Periyar. Another airport nearby Pariyar is Cochin International Airport in Kochi. It is approximately 190 km away from the heart of Thekkady. Cochin International Airport is hardly 27 Km from the port city Kochi and receives flights from all major cities of the world.

By Railways: The nearest railhead is situated in Kottayam at a distance of 110 Km. From the railway station; tourists can hire taxis, private cabs, and buses to reach Periyar. All the trains namely local express and super fast connects the city with different parts of the country.

By Roadways: Periyar has good connectivity through roads from all the major cities of Kerala. The highway connects Thekkady with major – Kochi, Kottayam, Kothamangalam, Munnar and Trivandrum. Various buses owned by Kerala tourism run to all the corners of the state, tourists can avail services of private taxis as well.

Major Cities Duation Distance
Ernakulam 3 hours 15 mins 156 km
Thiruvananthapuram 4 hours 11 mins 209 km
Alleppey 3 hours 29 mins 142 km
Kumarakom 2 hours 56 mins 115 km
Coimbatore 5 hours 25 mins 265 km
Dindigul 2 hours 48 mins 137 km
Kanyakumari 5 hours 35 mins 351 km
Kozhikode 6 hours 25 mins 307 km
Kottayam 2 hours 39 mins 106 km
Kochi   165 km
Kothamangalam 1 hours 34 mins 110 km
Munnar 3 hours 30 mins 90 km