Located 140km from Kochi, Periyar is arguably South India’s best wildlife sanctuary. The park is spread over 777 sq. km. and is home to a huge variety of wildlife – bison, sambar, wild boar, langur, some very hard to spot tigers and over a thousand elephants. The take-away from here however, is the sight of wild elephants moving about in the open, while you take a boat safari in the  lake. Also Read - Kerala Woman Accidently Kills Son, Sister with Poisoned Ice Cream

You can choose to take a boat cruise, or rent your own boat according to your convenience. And although there are multiple safaris throughout the day with each one lasting for about 90 minutes – taking the early morning one makes for the best bet. For those interested in wildlife photography, this is the best place to get the shutter going. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Takes Dip Into Sea With Fishermen in Kerala | Watch Video, Photos Here

Apart from the elephants, a wandering family of deer are a common sight near the lake as well. Then there are herds of sambar, wild boar and gaur can also be spotted in adjacent grasslands. A variety of birds such as darters, egrets, cormorants and kingfishers can be spotted on dead tree trunks that stick out over the lake. During the boat safari, the chances of spotting the Indian otter are also high.

Periyar also offers many jeep and elephant safaris to take you around the jungle. There are several resorts here that you can stay at, for a complete experience. The best time to visit Periyar National Park is during the winter months between October and February. Interestingly, Periyar is one of the few wildlife sanctuaries that is open during monsoons as well, and while animal sightings can be rare, the boat safari experience is absolutely surreal.

There’s much else to see when in Periyar. Situated just 4km away, Kumily is a growing town where travellers can wander catching up on the know-how of the spice trade – the major occupation of this small town. The town also has some excellent hotels and resorts for accommodation. You could also venture out to explore Kerala’s beautiful Cardamom hills. Taking a jeep ride through the picturesque hills will stay with you for a long time.

The nearest domestic airport from Periyar is in Madurai about 140km away, and the nearest international airport is in Kochi about 146km away.