Located in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Periyar is one of the well known wildlife sanctuary of India. With an area of 777 sq. km., it is home to a variety of wildlife species including the majestic tiger and wild elephants. At the heart of the sanctuary, there is a scenic lake which is an ideal spot for birdwatching. The Periyar National Park became a part of the Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1972. Though, it is known as a tiger reserve but tourists came here to see the herds of Indian elephants.
Entry Fee :
Visitors can get entry permit from the Wildlife Information Centre in Thekkady. Rs 50 is charged for foreigners and is valid for five days. Extra charges are levied for boat trips and other jungle safaris.
Wildlife Attractions :
Flora in the Park - The vegetation of Park mainly comprises of tropical evergreen forest with marshy grasslands, which serves as habitat for many of the animal species.
Fauna in the Park - Besides elephant and tigers, there are plenty of other animals like Gaur, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Dog, bison, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langoor can be seen on a large number.
Avi-fauna in the Park - The sanctuary is also home to around 240 species of birds including Darters, Kingfishers, Hornbill, Cormorants.
Trips in the Sanctuary :
The sanctuary offers boat cruises on the Periyar Lake which is the best option to explore the wilderness of different species of wildlife. While boating, one can come across a rich variety of bird species creating a unique atmosphere with their twittering sound. Jeep and elephant safaris are good options to view the wild animals. Besides, one can also get permission for swimming and angling from the forest offices in Thekkady.
There are good accommodation facilities available both inside and outside the sanctuary. A number of resorts with all kinds of facilities provide accommodation to the wildlife enthusiasts who visit the sanctuary. Some of the best wildlife resorts in Periyar are : Hotel Spice Village, Taj Garden Retreat, Lake Palace Hotel etc. The scenic beauty of the sanctuary makes a stay near the sanctuary an forgettable experience.
Getting to the Sanctuary :
By Air - The nearest airport is at Madurai(140km), which is in Tamil Nadu.
By Rail - Kottyam is the nearest railway station and at a distance of 140 km from Periyar.
By Road - The nearest town Kumily is well connected to Kottayam, Madurai, Ernakulam and some other south Indian cities by both private and state bus services.