Set in Western Ghats in a huge green belt area of 777 sq km, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is as diverse as India herself. In the dense forests of these high ranges, that lie southern Kerala and borders Tamil Nadu, tigers, elephants, leopards, wild dogs, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langurs, macaques, sambhar, guar, wild boars, sloth bears and many other wild animals and birds roam freely. The sanctuary itself lies in a core area 350 sq kilometers inside the green belt.
The Wildlife Sanctuary actually comprises of Periyar National Park and a Tiger Reserve. The reserve is one of the 18 set for ‘Project Tiger’ in India. The Sanctuary cradles a vast lake created due to the Mullaperiyar dam. The lake and the meandering Periyar River are the two main sources of water for the sanctuary’s flora and fauna.
The only way to enter the sanctuary is through a gate at Thekkady, a few kilometers from Kumily. Kumily is the nearest town near the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border. It is well connected to Kottayam in Kerala and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
As you enter the area, you would notice that much of the area is covered by evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forests. The thick greens, sounds of gurgling rivulets, shrill cries of macaques and the chirping birds will have a guaranteed therapeutic effect on its visitor. A boat cruise in the vast Periyar lake with an occasional spotting of thirsty elephants is like an icing on the cake.
The KTDC operates excellent lodges (AranyaNivas, Lake Palace, and Periyar House) inside the sanctuary. Among the three, the Periyar House at Rs2000/- per night per couple falls in the budget category. For those who like to rough it out, try the rest houses deep inside the jungle.
There are also private resorts, including the Taj Garden retreat outside the sanctuary area. Best time to visit the sanctuary would be during September to May. The months of March and April constitute the driest part of the year, because of which the animals spend a lot of time near the lake in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. However the sanctuary is open through out the year.Periyar Tiger Reserve Timings and Entry Details
Timings: 6 am-6 pm
Periyar Tiger Reserve Park Entry Fee: Indians Rs 25; foreigners Rs 300; Camera (still) Rs 25; Video Rs 200; Vehicle entry fee Rs 50.
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