Periyar Tiger Reserve is a reserved forest area located in Thekkady of Idukki & Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala, India. It is situated high on the southern Western Ghats on the cardamom and Pandalam hills along the border of Tamil Nadu state, India.
This reserved forest is spread across an area of 925 sq. kms out of which 350 sq. kms has been declared as Periyar National park in 1982. This park is also referred to as Periyar Wild life sanctuary. It is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Online bus tickets can be booked through the public and private bus operators.
Topography & Wild life
Periyar Tiger reserve lies in the middle of Cardamom Hills and is enclosed by the mountains in North and East, which are 1700 m high. In the west it increases to a 1200 m high flat terrain, which slopes down abruptly to a 100 m Valley of Pampa River, the deepest point of the reserve.
The wildlife sanctuary is surrounded by the Periyar Lake, which is 26 square km in area and the permanent water source for wild life in the sanctuary. The wild life animals present in this reserve area are Tiger, Elephants, Sambar, Bison, Leopards, Barking Deer, and Indian wild dogs (Dholes) etc. This sanctuary also houses 320 varieties of birds.
How to reach
Periyar tiger reserve is about 4 kms from Kumily, which is well connected by air, rail and road transport. The nearest airport is in Madurai at 140 km, Cochin International airport at 190 km and Thiruvananthapuram International airport is about 270 kms from Kumily.
The nearest railway stations are at Kottayam – 115 kms, Changanassery – 120 kms, Madurai – 135 kms and Ernakulam – 190 kms. There are direct buses to this place from Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Madurai, Munnar and Kottayam. Booking Bus tickets well in advance helps to avoid last minute hurry and to have a safe & comfortable journey.
When to visit
The best time to visit Periyar tiger reserve is from September to March when there is no rain. In this the March and April are the driest months in which we can expect the tigers and other wild life can be spotted near the lake. The monsoon is from June to September during which the forest looks at its best with lush green trees and shrubs.
Where to stay
Mostly the visitors or tourists stay in Thekkady, where Hotels ranging from low cost to luxurious rooms are available. There are also many resorts and tent or rest houses provided by the Forest department of the Government of Kerala, which can be booked.
Tips for the tourists
Being a tiger reserve, it is important for the tourists to get camera and binoculars to catch a glimpse of the wild life. The general needs like water bottle, first aid kit, warm clothing, rain coats and umbrellas during winter seasons are a must. Leech socks can be brought during monsoons to avoid insect bites. Hire a bus and travel to Thekkady, visit Periyar Tiger reserve and have exhilarating holidays at these amazing locations.