Set high in the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park in Kerala in south India is known for its wildlife population. Located on the banks of a lake created by the construction of Mullaperiyar dam, the park lies in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala. Periyar is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India.
The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. This sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants from close quarters.
In Thekkady, one can enjoy cruise rides on lake as well as elephant rides. Trekking is also arranged for a visit to the ancient Mangala Devi temple located inside the reserve. Jungle walks with the help of a local guide are also fun for nature lovers. One can also go for the famous Ayurveda massages and visit tea and cardamom plantations which dot the area.
An eco-shop near the entrance gate of Periyar Tiger Reserve, offers souvenirs, T-shirts, post cards, wildlife books, etc. for sale. There are no big bazaars as such in Thekkady, but one can find a few colourful stalls to buy knick-knacks. Tourists will find good quality spices like fenugreek, white and green pepper, rolls of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, coriander, cloves, etc. One can also enjoy munching on the traditional banana chips that are fried in fresh coconut oil.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotels are generally fully booked during winter (October-January) as the climate is cool and pleasant. A regular room with basic facilities would cost about Rs 600. A standard room in mid-range hotels costs about Rs 1,200 which offers 24 hour room service and laundry facilities. Apart from hotels, tourists can also avail of lovely cottages and home-stay rooms. However, probability of finding room service in homestays are minimal.
WHERE TO EAT
Keralite as well as continental cuisines are served at many restaurants in Thekkady. For authentic Kerala food and various vegetarian south India breakfast, tourists can go to various restaurants.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
September to March is the best time to visit Thekkady and watch nature at its resplendent best. Bird watchers can spot migratory birds post monsoon and during winter months. The Periyar National Park is open from 6 am to 6 pm.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THEKKADY
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Thekkady is as given below. The best time to visit Thekkady is also specified.