The Periyar Tiger Reserve, also known as Periyar National Park, is a well-known wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve located in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. It is spread across an area of approximately 925 square kilometers (357 square miles) and is situated in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta.
Established in 1978, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is named after the Periyar River, which flows through its heart. It is renowned for its rich biodiversity, scenic beauty, and the opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife, including the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers.
The sanctuary’s landscape is characterized by dense evergreen and deciduous forests, grasslands, and aquatic habitats. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The Periyar Lake, formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam, is the centerpiece of the reserve and provides a unique setting for wildlife sightings.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve is most famous for its population of tigers. However, it is also home to other mammals such as elephants, Indian bison (gaur), sambar deer, barking deer, wild boar, sloth bears, and leopard cats. The reserve is also known for its rich birdlife, with over 260 species of birds recorded, including the endangered Nilgiri wood pigeon and the vulnerable Great Hornbill.
One of the main attractions for visitors is the boat cruise on the Periyar Lake, which offers the opportunity to observe wildlife, especially elephants, as they come to the water’s edge to drink and bathe. Additionally, the reserve offers guided nature walks, bamboo rafting, and trekking trails, allowing visitors to explore the sanctuary’s diverse ecosystems.
Periyar Tiger Reserve is not only focused on conservation but also plays a significant role in the local economy and community development through eco-tourism initiatives. It is regarded as one of the best-managed wildlife reserves in India and has been recognized as a Project Tiger reserve, dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Royal Bengal Tigers.
Visitors to the Periyar Tiger Reserve can access facilities like a visitor center, interpretation center, and eco-tourism accommodations within the reserve. The best time to visit is during the drier months from October to February when wildlife sightings are more frequent.
Overall, the Periyar Tiger Reserve offers a unique and immersive wildlife experience, allowing visitors to witness the beauty of nature and contribute to the conservation of endangered species.
Periyar National Park / Periyar Tiger Reserve located in Thekkady in the district of Idukki, Kerala named after the Periyar river, is one of Kerala’s prestigious possessions on the High Ranges of the Western Ghats.
Raft, Trek And Spot Wildlife In The Periyar Tiger Reserve
The south Indian state of Kerala boasts of varied and extremely rich wildlife. Several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are there in this destination that ranks among the major tourist attractions of the state. Periyar Tiger Reserve is one such popular picnic spot in Kerala for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. With a wide range of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, it is among the hottest wildlife destinations in the country. Visitors not only can spot rare and unique animal species in the Periyar Tiger Reserve but they can also indulge in different activities like trekking and rafting here. Get more details about this tourist spot and the interesting activities that you can enjoy through our website www.ksu.in
With rich tea plantations and aromatic spice gardens, each traveler to Thekkady is greeted with an intense whiff of cardamom even before they reach the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve. The town of Thekkady is the gateway to this reserve which is filled with signboards to invite travelers to explore the farms. With numerous shades of green cover, Periyar Tiger Reserve has a wonderful ecosystem rich with exotic fauna, avian species, reptilian and insect life. Periyar is certainly a striking place to explore. Visitors can enjoy plenty of activities during their visit to this enchanting reserve with the help of tourist guides. Each visitor can enjoy trekking, guided tours and jungle safaris at this place.
Eco-Tourism Model For Conservation
The forest area of Periyar was not lively as of today a couple of decades back. Conservationists stepped in to save the park when they get to know about the debarking and smuggling of cinnamon and the depleted tiger population and came up with an eco-tourism model in 1998. Men of local communities were trained to be forest guards and tourist guards which made them aware of the importance of conserving natural resources. Even if most of them have never attended school, they have trained to be a part of this eco-tourism project. They have learned to talk in detail about the ideal time and place to see the grey-headed owl, the feeding patterns of tiger butterflies, or the frequented way of the closest tiger. Today, it is among the most thriving community conservation projects in India. The revenues derived from tourism are used for training, salaries, and the welfare of the families of villagers.
Ideal For Family-Friendly Activities
A boat ride through the lovely Periyar Lake can be both fun and exciting for all family holidaymakers to Thekkady. The boat ride is the best way to spot wildlife in this destination and watch the wild beauty of nature. Boats now limit the number of passengers that they carry after a fateful accident in 2009. Passengers are also instructed to get equipped with life jackets during boating. However, it is a very interesting activity especially if you enjoy it with kids. Carry binoculars so that you can easily introduce different animals and birds to kids during the calm ride. Periyar Tiger Reserve is also a great spot for hiking. In fact, it has a few easy trails for this activity suitable for children above 12 years. Remember to prepare for the leeches. Make kids aware that these creatures are not scary.
Although the Periyar Tiger Reserve is mainly to protect tigers, it is quite rare to spot of them during your trip to this destination. These big cats live in the core forest areas where tourists are not allowed to enter. However, their presence can be felt through bark scratches, pug marks and a healthy ecology.
Walking For Immersive Forest Experience
People who look for some rare forest experience can opt for a trip to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is an ideal place for them where they can walk, raft, trek, and camp in the forest. Besides, you will be able to get interacted with the tour guides and forest guards who preserve the forest. With their help and direction, city dwellers can easily explore the forest and enjoy its charm.
Usually, forest guides hand out packs of tobacco to visitors before going for a walk or trek. They asked you to rub tobacco on your feet and legs in order to give protection from the ubiquitous blood-sucking worms of the jungle. Different walking options are there for people of all ages, fitness levels and interests to explore the Periyar forest. The 3-hour nature walk is mind-blowing where the guides introduce you to the wilderness of the jungle by teaching them to recognize the blossom-headed parakeet and racket-tailed drongo or spot a tiger-butterfly.
If you wish to spend long hours while hiking in the forest, opt for the 5-hour Cloud Walk. It seems a bit harder but the walk takes you to the watchtower from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the wide-ranging terrain of the forest- the grassy marshland, evergreen trees, and arid land. The 15-km Border Trekking is recommended for more experienced trekkers. It is a day-long exhausting walk and climbs to a height of around 1300 m. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot a lion-tailed macaque or a rare Nilgiri Tahr on this trail.
Camping In Periyar Tiger Reserve
Camping in the Periyar Tiger Reserve is another exciting activity that you can enjoy. The Tiger Train is the most thrilling experience which provides an opportunity for visitors to camp in the forest for one or two nights. By opting for this, you will also get the chance to join the armed forest guards during their night watch. It shall be a fine way not only to spot a big cat but also to get an idea about the difficulties of protecting a forest. Even if you are a first-time camper in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, there is no need to worry. All arrangements are taken care of by the Forest Department including food, tents, and sleeping bags. Since most of the guards on these camps are ex-tiger poachers, they make your camping experience more thrilling by speaking about their encounters with the big cats.
Best Time To Visit Periyar Tiger Reserve
Since Periyar is open throughout the year, people can visit this destination anytime. However, this destination has cool pleasant weather without much rain from November to March ideal for exploring the reserve comfortably. Many people prefer to visit from April to October to avoid crowds. Besides, it is suitable to see more wildlife but beware of heat and humidity. Monsoons are also beautiful and peaceful in Periyar but rare to see wildlife.
How To Reach
Located in southeast Kerala, Periyar Tiger Reserve is near the Tamil Nadu border. Kochi and Madurai are the closest airports to reach this destination which are 190 km and 140 km away respectively. Kottayam is the nearest railway station to this reserve at a distance of 114 kilometers. Madurai railway station is around 135 kilometers away. Travelers can hire prepaid taxis from these airports or railway stations to reach the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Thekkady is also well connected by road and many bus services are available to this destination from all the major towns in Kerala and from some of the nearest towns in Tamil Nadu.
The Deputy Director, Periyar East Division, Thekkady P.O, Via, Kumily, Kerala – 685 536
Phone: +91 486 9222027, 9447979091