4.4 / 5

Periyar National Park

📍 Periyar Tiger Reserve, KeralaView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:October to June

⏰ Open Hours:6 AM to 7 PM

🎒 Things To Do:Boat cruises, wildlife spotting, nature walks, bird watching, bamboo rafting

💰 Entry Fees:INR 33 for Indians, INR 450 for Foreigners

🧳 Traveller Types:Nature Lovers, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Adventure Seekers, Photographers

🌟 Known For:Wildlife Sanctuary, Biodiversity, Elephants, Tigers, Artificial Lake

📍 Distances:114 km from Kottayam Railway Station, 145 km from Cochin International Airport, 4 km from Thekkady town center

🚣 Water-Sports:Bamboo rafting available at additional cost

📷 Photography:Allowed, but flash photography is prohibited to avoid disturbing the wildlife

🍽 Nearby Eateries:Ambadi, All Spice, French Restaurant and Bakery

🏨 Nearby Accommodations:Periyar House, Aranya Nivas, Lake Palace Hotel

🚸 Kid Friendly:Yes, but supervision is required

♿ Accessibility:Limited areas are wheelchair accessible

👮 Security:Tight security with forest guards and CCTV surveillance

🚫 Restrictions:Pets not allowed, Plastic carry bags are prohibited

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Periyar National Park: A Complete Guide To Kerala’s Wildlife Paradise

Periyar National Park is a gem of Kerala’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty. Located in the scenic hill station of Thekkady, this park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including the majestic elephants and tigers.

Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Periyar Lake, go on an adventurous trek through the dense forests, or witness the cultural heritage of the local tribes, Periyar National Park has something for everyone.

In this article, we will give you a complete guide to this wildlife paradise, covering its history, wildlife, safari options, best time to visit, how to reach, accommodation options, and other attractions.

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History of Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 19th century. It all started with the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam in 1895 by the British, which created an artificial lake in the valley of the Periyar river. The lake and its surrounding forests became a popular hunting ground for the British and the local kings.

In 1934, the then Maharaja of Travancore declared the area as a protected forest reserve and named it Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary. Later, in 1950, it was renamed as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. In 1978, the core zone of the sanctuary was declared as a national park and a part of Project Tiger, a conservation initiative by the Indian government.

In 1996, it was also included in Project Elephant, another conservation program for the protection of elephants. Over the years, Periyar National Park has also witnessed the active involvement of the local communities and NGOs in preserving its ecology and culture. Today, it is one of the most well-managed and visited national parks in India.

Wildlife of Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is a haven for wildlife lovers, as it boasts of a diverse and rich fauna. The park covers an area of 925 sq km, of which 305 sq km is the core zone. The park has a tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forest type, with patches of grasslands and plantations. The park is home to over 60 mammal species, 320 bird species, 45 reptile species, 30 fish species, and 160 butterfly species. Some of the rare and endangered species that inhabit the park are Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali’s fruit bat, etc.

The main attraction of Periyar National Park is its large population of elephants and tigers. According to the latest census (2019), there are about 1900 elephants and 49 tigers in the park. These majestic animals can be seen roaming freely in their natural habitat, especially near the lake and waterholes. Apart from these, some other common animals that can be spotted in the park are wild pigs, sambar, gaur, mouse deer, dole or barking deer, Indian wild dog, etc.

Safari Options in Periyar National Park

One of the best ways to explore Periyar National Park is by taking a safari tour. There are different types of safari options available in the park, such as jeep safari, elephant safari, boat cruise, bamboo rafting, nature walk, etc.

Each safari option offers a unique experience and opportunity to witness the wildlife and scenery of the park. Here are some details about each safari option:

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Jeep Safari:

This is a thrilling and adventurous way to explore the remote areas of the park. The jeep safari covers a distance of about 40 km and lasts for about 3 hours. The jeep can accommodate up to six people and costs Rs. 3500 per trip. The jeep safari operates from 6 am to 5 pm and can be booked online or at the entrance gate. Some of the places that are covered by the jeep safari are Gavi, Chellarkovil, Anakkara, etc.

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Elephant Safari:

This is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the beauty and charm of the park. The elephant safari allows you to ride on the back of an elephant and get a closer look at the wildlife and vegetation of the park. The elephant safari lasts for about 30 minutes and costs Rs. 400 per person. The elephant safari operates from 10 am to 5 pm and can be booked online or at the elephant junction.

Boat Cruise:

This is a relaxing and scenic way to enjoy the Periyar Lake and its surroundings. The boat cruise takes you around the lake and offers a chance to see the wildlife on the banks, such as elephants, deer, bison, etc. The boat cruise lasts for about 90 minutes and costs Rs. 255 per person for Indians and Rs. 2000 per person for foreigners. The boat cruise operates from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm and can be booked online or at the boat landing.

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Bamboo Rafting:

This is an eco-friendly and adventurous way to explore the park and its waterways. The bamboo rafting involves rafting on a bamboo raft along the Periyar river and hiking through the forest trails. The bamboo rafting is a full-day activity that starts from 8 am and ends at 5 pm. It costs Rs. 2500 per person for Indians and Rs. 3500 per person for foreigners. The bamboo rafting can be booked online or at the information center.

Nature Walk:

This is a guided walk through the nature trails of the park, where you can observe the flora and fauna of the park closely. The nature walk is a half-day activity that starts from 7 am and ends at 10:30 am. It costs Rs. 1000 per person for Indians and Rs. 1500 per person for foreigners. The nature walk can be booked online or at the information center.

You may also like to read: All You Need to Know for A Trip to Periyar Sanctuary in Kerala

Best Time to Visit Periyar National Park

The best time to visit Periyar National Park is from October to June, when the weather is pleasant and the wildlife is more active. During this period, you can also witness some of the festivals and events that take place in and around the park, such as:

Thekkady Carnival: This is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the art, music, dance, cuisine, and heritage of Thekkady and Kerala. It is held in December every year and attracts thousands of tourists and locals.

Elephant Festival: This is a religious festival that honors the elephants of the park and their mahouts. It is held in March every year and involves a procession of decorated elephants, cultural programs, competitions, and rituals.

Periyar Tiger Trail: This is a conservation initiative that involves trekking with former poachers who have been rehabilitated as guides and protectors of the park. It is held throughout the year and offers a unique opportunity to learn about the tigers and their habitat.

How to Reach Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is well-connected by air, rail, and road from different cities in India. Here are some of the ways to reach the park:

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By Air:

The nearest airport to Periyar National Park is Madurai Airport in Tamil Nadu, which is about 140 km away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Thekkady, which is about 4 hours away.

By Rail:

The nearest railway station to Periyar National Park is Kottayam Railway Station in Kerala, which is about 114 km away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Thekkady, which is about 3 hours away.

By Road:

The nearest bus station to Periyar National Park is Kumily Bus Station in Kerala, which is about 4 km away. From there, you can take an auto-rickshaw or a taxi to reach the park entrance. You can also drive your own vehicle to reach the park, as there are many routes available from different cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Accommodation Options near Periyar National Park

There are plenty of accommodation options near Periyar National Park, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts. Here are some of the best hotels, resorts, homestays, and campsites near the park, along with their ratings, prices, amenities, and location:

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(c) Spice Village / Booking.com

Spice Village: This is a 4-star resort that offers cottages inspired by tribal huts, surrounded by spice gardens and organic farms. It costs Rs. 10, 000 per night for two people. It offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, restaurant, bar, pool, spa, gym, etc. It is located at Kumily - Thekkady Road, Thekkady, about 1 km from the park entrance.

Greenwoods Resort: This is a 3-star resort that offers rooms and villas with balconies and views of the forest and hills. It costs Rs. 6000 per night for two people. It offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, restaurant, bar, pool, spa, gym, etc. It is located at Kumily - Thekkady Road, Thekkady, about 2 km from the park entrance.

Poetree Sarovar Portico: This is a 4-star resort that offers rooms with balconies and views of the mountains and valleys. It costs Rs. 6500 per night for two people. It offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, restaurant, garden, etc.

Periyar Woods: This is a budget stay option that offers rooms with basic facilities and friendly service. It costs Rs. 1500 per night for two people. It offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, restaurant, etc. It is located at Kumily - Thekkady Road, Thekkady, about 4 km from the park entrance.

Jungle Palace Homestay: This is a homestay that offers rooms with homely comfort and hospitality. It costs Rs. 1000 per night for two people. It offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, kitchen, etc. It is located at Ottakathalamedu Road, Thekkady, about 5 km from the park entrance.

Other Attractions near Periyar National Park

Periyar National Park is not the only attraction in Thekkady, as there are many other places of interest near the park that you can visit during your trip. Here are some of them:

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Periyar Tiger Trail:

This is an initiative by the Periyar Tiger Reserve that allows you to trek with former poachers who have been rehabilitated as guides and protectors of the park. You can choose from different trekking options ranging from one night to five nights, and experience the thrill of camping in the wild and spotting tigers and other animals.

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Kumily:

This is a small town near the park that is famous for its spice markets and plantations. You can buy some fresh and aromatic spices such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, etc., or take a spice tour to learn about their cultivation and processing.

Vandanmedu:

This is a village near the park that is known for its cardamom plantations and factories. You can see how cardamom is grown and processed, or buy some quality cardamom products from the local shops.

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Murikkady:

This is another village near the park that is known for its coffee, pepper, and tea plantations. You can enjoy the scenic views of the green hills and valleys, or taste some freshly brewed coffee or tea from the local cafes.

Mangala Devi Temple:

This is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Mangala Devi, located on a hilltop near the park. The temple is open only once a year during the Chithra Pournami festival in April or May, when thousands of devotees flock to the temple to seek blessings.

Periyar National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. It offers a variety of activities and attractions that cater to different tastes and budgets. You can book your trip to Periyar National Park online or contact us for more information.

You may also like to read: Weekend Getaway to Periyar: The enchanted land of South India

We at Tripoto are committed to providing you with the best travel guides and tips for your next adventure. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to explore Kerala’s wildlife paradise!

Periyar National Park Reviews

It was the ‘ PeriyarTiger Reserve’ that made our heart pound faster with excitement. There were ample options for us to explore but one program which we surely decided to go for was the ‘Clouds Walk’ program, which was a 3 hour trek in the dense jungle. Enrolling only for one program didn’t satisfy our appetite for adventure. Hence, we enrolled for the subsequent one as well, which was ‘Night Scouting’. The mere imagination of wandering in the jungle at night took us a moment to realize the magnitude of risk we were endeavoring. Being the month of August, the path was assumed to be slippery and even worse, being a victim of the uninvited attention of wild animals. To navigate for an animal and to stumble upon one while scouting in the dark are both completely different things. We infused courage into each other, and finally enrolled for the program. We nervously waited for the next move when two police guards and one forest army personnel made a promising entry. My thrill and fear made me very inquisitive to know about the possible risks of the program we’d enrolled for. The only relief factor was the 2 guns carried by the policemen escorting us. It imbibed some confidence in us to venture into this crazy stunt. I asked one of the guards if he’d used his gun before, and he very bluntly replied, “No… we actually don’t have the permission to fire on animals”! I was stunned! A guard smiled seeing our disappointment and assured us that nothing will happen to us. We were provided with a knee-length jacket and a pant, both made of polyester. Each person was to carry a torch for obvious reasons. We commenced our scouting and in a moment found ourselves in a complete absence of vision. We switched on our torches and were instructed to follow the footsteps of our accompanists. We started adjusting to this new habitat, while also constantly praying to get a glimpse of a wild breed from a safe distance. We stumbled upon few wild deer, which got terrified by our constant murmuring, or rather hissing. Suddenly, our guardian asked us to shut our mouths; else we would miss a potential glimpse of a rare one. That moment was terrifying! There was a battle amongst the rest of us as to who would spot the identity of the animal first. Creative thoughts coupled with fear and excitement even makes one think of a nugget to resemble a cannibal. What we spotted was a Rhinoceros from a safe distance. All the gleaming torch lights made us see this huge animal with shining eyes, leaving us stunned. Our expedition in the bush continued for a while. I felt some itching all over my body. I was shocked to see my hands and legs bleeding due to multiple leech attacks. We rested at a guest house nearby, busy cleaning our shoes and jackets. We moved ahead and saw an owl at a stone’s throw away distance. What a way to end the trip. For me, this journey had already become very fascinating. It was horribly silent at 1 a.m, while I sat in the cab peacefully every incident since the time we started flashed across my mind. I couldn’t believe what we’d had done. I smiled to myself. Mixed emotions of passion, compassion, fear and thrill got instilled in me. I patted Pravin and uttered, “Dude, it was worth a shot”.
We have experienced beaches, temples, culture etc. Now it was time to do something exciting. So we were there. We reached there around 7pm same day. Nothing can be done, so we went off to sleep. It was really cold out there. Things to do: Sanctuary, Coffee Plantations, State Border, Suicide point, Elephant Safari and lots of temples. Next day was the best. I started with jogging in the early morning. Then we hired a car to see all the places nearby. But first we went inside the forest to check the set up. We were here to do night walking in Jungle. But something went really wrong. In excitement I broke the soft tissue of my right leg and was not able to walk. I was really disappointed and it was paining so hard that I thought I will die soon. But our driver saved my life. He took us to some Ayurvedic doctor and guess what it really worked out! How was the treatment He put some hot oil on the area where it was paining. I was shouting like as if I was going to abuse (later on my friends told me). They were holding my both hands and legs. I was shouting, abusing but they didn’t leave me. Then after 1 hour it was all done. Doctor told me to go to hotel and sleep. Then I told my friends don’t worry everything will be fine but you guys don’t stop enjoying. Doctor came in the evening. He gave medicine and told me not to walk, you need a complete rest otherwise your upcoming would be hampered. I cancelled my ticket to Night Walking in Jungle. I was sleeping but then also I was feeling the pain and suddenly I was waking up again and again. It was a nightmare. 9th day I was able to walk but very slowly. Somehow after so much of effort it worked out. Now we were heading towards our next destination and more over New State- Tamil Nadu. It was a hill station. Only this was left and here we are – At Kodaikanal. I hate mountains but since it was my first visit to any hill station in South, I Went.
PeriyarNational Parkand Wildlife Sanctuarylies in the area of Idukkiand Pathanamthittain Kerala– God’s own country. It is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary spreading across a 777 sq km; encompasses a 29 sq km artificial lake – Periyar lake, existing since 1895. The Periyar Lake lies at the heart of the sanctuary. Periyar National Parkalso known as Thekkady, is the oldest among the 27 wildlife sanctuaries in India. Known for its magnificent Indian elephants, there are many more animals to look out for like Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog and Tiger. Good news for tiger aficionados is that there are now an estimated 50 tigers in the Periyar national Park which increases the chances to spot one (having luck on your side off course)! Be there on the right time!The best time to visit Periyar is in between the month of October to June. How to get there?By Air: One can reach here either by air with Cochinas the nearest international airport, which is around 140 km from here. Several international and domestic airlines connect the city of Kochito major cities in India and abroad. By Train: Kottayam(110 km) serves as the nearest rail head for Periyar wildlife sanctuary. Kottayam is well linked with various express as well as local trains across the country. By Road: Kumilyis the nearest town from Periyar which is well connected by road. Go by the rules!There are some expectations from the visitors otherwise Reserve rules which have to be followed by all means to have the best visit. They are simple and in the best interest of animals as well as tourists. Some of these are stated below.. Follow the gate timing strictly ie; 7am -6 pm Animal sightings are matter of chance. Be patient. Total silence and discipline enhances chances of animal sightings Traveling alone is prohibited especially in the Elephant Reserves Do not wears colorful clothes or perfumes. Khakis, browns and greens are best suited for forests Always carry drinking water Where to rest?Periyar National Park offers a variety of stay options as well.
Let God's own country woo you with its dense green cover. You can easily ditch the popular backwaters in Kerala for the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, a protected area that shares borders with Tamil Nadu. The forest is home to over 1965 flowering plants including 143 species of orchids here. There are also more than 60 species of mammals and over 265 species of birds including migrants. Its difficult to describe that feeling when you catch a glimpse of the majestic elephants walking around spice scented plantations. Things to do:Explore the many beautiful trails for treks and mountain walks; take a boat ride in the Periyar Lake or go bamboo rafting; sign up for a safari in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary; participate in the Jungle Night Patrol and go for a guided late night walk inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve; trek through a tribal village; visit the tribal heritage museum and check out artifacts related to ancient agricultural practices, marriage ceremonies, cultural events, rituals and ceremonies. How to get there: By air:Madurai airport is the nearest one, approximately 145km away. Cochin international airport is approximately 190km away By train:Kottayam and Dindugal are the most convenient railway stations to go to Periyar. Frequent buses are available from the station to the reserve. By road:From Kottayam (3.5 to 4 hrs by bus-110km). KSRTC has buses leaving from Kottayam Transport Bus Stand in every 20 minutes . Best time to visit:March and April are the driest time of the year, because of which the animals spend a lot of time near the lake in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Even the tiger may be spotted approaching the waters in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Where to stay: Periyar Woodsor Coffee Inn. For more options check here. For adventure lovers
I was so thrilled to be at Periyar Tiger Reserve. You need to get to this place as early as possible [I’m talking as early as 6-6.30 am :)] to buy tickets. If you’re going in some vacation time, don’t be surprised to find yourself waiting in never ending queue. They have option to book ticket online. But it’s a little expensive. https://onlinebooking.periyarfoundation.org/PTR/ConfirmOrder?Name=Boating-Online Stuck in queue ? Don’t worry. Our monkey friends will give you company ! :) There are many of them. There are jungle lodges present here. You could try one of them. Apart from the river safari, there are many activities like tiger trail and nature walk. Check out the below website for more details. http://www.periyartigerreserve.org/ecotourism_activities.php At Periyar Tiger Reserve, we get to see animals on either sides of the river. Chances of spotting animals are really high in the morning slot. Variety of birds, deer, gaur, elephants can be spotted. You’re lucky if you can spot a tiger ! :) Thekkady is also famous for spice gardens. What you’re seeing in this pic is Cocoa. There would be a guided tour of the spice garden. The guide tells you about variety of spices, their health benefits and also gives some for you to taste as well ! Each of these spice gardens will have their own Ayurveda shops from where you can shop.
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