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Periyar National Park, Kerala

  • (worth a trip)
  • 3-5 km
  • Easy
  • Average
  • 2-3 days
  • 3 3

One of the 27 tiger reserves in India and also an elephant reserve

Periyar National Park, Kerala, India
Restaurants and cafes around the sanctuary serve most of the international delicacies such as mashed potatoes, pasta, pancakes, pizzas, and baguettes, along with the local vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular joints are Ebony's cafe famous for its mashed potato, pasta, cold beer, and nice music, French Restaurant & Bakery famous for its breakfast menu of pancakes, baguettes, and croissants, and Chrissie's Cafe famous for its excellent coffee and western favourites such a pizzas and pasta.
Though trekking and walking tours inside the park are available under guided supervision, kindly adhere to the rules and regulations of the park as well as the ones provided by your instructors. Upon spotting a wild animal during your treks/walks, do not panic, scream or tease the animal. It may cause fatal accidents or threats to the lives of everybody around including yourself. Avoid wearing bright clothes during nature walks and treks. Do not use flash while clicking pictures of animals.
Rooms - INR500-1000(budget), INR1500-2500(mid-range), INR10000-25000(Luxury).
Food - INR60-250 for meals, INR150 onwards for beer
Kathakali Shows - INR200 onwards admission
Kalarippayat (Keralan martial art) show - INR200 onwards admission

Park Entry - INR25 for Indians, INR300 for foreigners
Jungle Jeep Safaris - INR1600-INR2000 per person
Elephant Rides - INR350 for 30mins, INR750 for 1 hour, INR1000 for hours, INR2500 for 2.5 hour ride plus feeding and washing.
Cooking classes - INR200 onwards
Periyar Lake Cruise - INR150 for adults, INR50 for children
Border Hikes (arranged by Ecotourism Centre) - INR1000 onwards
Nature walks (arranged by Ecotourism Centre) - INR200 onwards for 2.5 hours
Full-day Bamboo Rafting (arranged by Ecotourism Centre) - INR1500 onwards
Jungle Patrols (arranged by Ecotourism Centre) - INR750 for 4-5km accompanied by a tribal guide.
Overnight "Tiger Trails" Trek (arranged by Ecotourism Centre) - INR4000 per person, INR6000 for solo visitors; covers 20-30km accompanied by expert guides who were former poachers.
Ayurvedic Massage - INR650 onwards; long-term treatments and healings available.

Periyar National Park, also known as Periyar Tiger Reserve, is the most prominent wildlife sanctuary in Southern India. It covers a total area of 925 square kilometers over the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala. Of the 925 square kilometers, almost 350 square kilometers of the core area was designated as the Periyar National park in 1982. Periyar National park is not only a tiger reserve but also an elephant reserve.

 

Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, was the first person to take notable initiatives towards wildlife conservation and biodiversity protection in 1934 when he declared the forests surrounding Periyar lake as the private game reserve which restricted the encroachment of tea plantations. The reserve was named Nellikkampatty Game Reserve. Periyar Lake is a reservoir, which now flows fenced by Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, and  was created in 1899 shortly after the erection of Mullaperiyar Dam in 1895 by the British. The reservoir and the lake together comprise the prime source of water for the locals in the region. Periyar was established as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950 and a Tiger Reserve in 1978.

 

The park may be referred to as – Periyar National Park, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, and Kumily (after the closest proper town of Kumily). Don’t get confused or alarmed. They all mean the same!

 

Flora

Cardamom, Coffee and Tea plantations dominate the agricultural land around the sanctuary. However, within the wildlife,  tropical deciduous forests, grasslands, and stands of eucalyptus take precedence. There are also hundreds of flowering plants. Most trees in the forests of Periyar national park are well-known and useful to humankind. These include but aren’t limited to teak, sandalwood, mangoes, banyans, tamarinds, bamboos, jacarandas, jamuns, and the only existing South Indian conifer, Nageia Wallichiana.

 

Fauna

There are approximately 35 mammal species residing in the park which includes tigers and elephants as the park also serves as a reserve for both the species. Other animals include but not limited to bisons, sloth bear, wild pig, sambars, jungle cat, Travancore flying squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, and Nilgiri marten, and Salim Ali’s fruit bat.

 

The park also has its share of reptiles and insects which includes a total of 45 species of reptiles (two turtles, 13 lizards, and 30 snakes) and 140 species of butterflies. King Cobra and  Malabar Pit Viper are two of the 30 species of snakes residing in the forests. Malabar tree nymph, lime butterfly and Atlas Moths are some of the 140 species of butterflies that live in the woods of Periyar.

 

There are around 250 bird species flocking the Periyar sky and tree branches, some of which are Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri thrush, Nilgiri flycatcher and Nilgiri wood pigeon, blue-winged parakeet, crimson-backed sunbird, rufous-bellied hawk-eagle,  spot-bellied eagle-owl, white-bellied blue flycatcher, black baza, and little spider hunter.

 

Periyar Lake is home to around 40 species of fish which include the Travancore loach, Channa Barb, Periyar Barb, and Periyar Trout.

 

If you are visiting the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and National park, you cannot miss exploring the spice gardens such as the Cardamom Hills, and the Tea Plantations. Most hotels can arrange a visit to these plantations for INR450 by auto rickshaw of INR750 by taxi (2-3 hours). One of the most recommended spice gardens for independent touring (without booking through any hotel) is the Abraham’s Spice Garden which has attracted visitors over 56 years with its Cardamom, Coffee, Vanilla, and Cocoa gardens and many more.  The tours are available between 07:00 A.M to 06:00 P.M and cost INR100. For more information, visit www.abrahamspice.com. You can also visit Connemera Tea Plantation (approx. 13km from Kumily) which offers field tours plus a chance to experience the tea making process for INR100 (08:00 A.M to 05:00 P.M).

 

For more information on Periyar National Park, please visit their website.



Opening hours

6:00 - 18:00
Last entry until 17:00

The best time to visit the Periyar National Park is from October till June.

How to get there

The nearest airports are Kochi or Cochin which is approx. 200 km and Madurai which is approx. 140 km from the park.

The nearest railhead is Kottayam which is approx. 120 km from the park. Kumily is the nearest proper town (approx. 4 km) and has frequent connectivity to the nearest towns of Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Madurai (Tamil Nadu).

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