Periyar Tiger Trail
For up to 5 persons, an adventurous 1 night 2 days or 2 nights 3 days, camping and trekking program with once hardy poachers, now the protection force. Vegetarian meals, accommodation in dome tents and field toilets. Check what to wear and carry. The trails are 20 to 35 km. Offered at 7 pm to 4 am.
A 1 hour walk from the Tiger Reserve Gate, the 2 person cottage at Kokkara is available from 3 pm to 9 am. Meals are included. The highlight is walking through the forest at prime time, as the day closes, increasing your chances of spotting wildlife, including the elusive tiger.
Bullock Cart Discoveries
For up to 7 persons, experience the bird-life of sleepy village of Gudalur behind the hills of the Periyar tiger Reserve, in a bullock-cart guided by former sandal-wood smugglers. Observe how village culture is intrinsically shaped by farming. Crops include tamarind, onions, mangoes, sunflower, jasmine and vegetables. Offered at 6 am (pick-up) to about 2 pm.
Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundation
Periyar Tiger Reserve (not operational)
Leech socks are needed on walks during the monsoon.
Please re-check timings and prices locally, as they can vary season to season.
Complete silence and forest-discipline improves your chances of spotting wild life. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited. Avoid colourful clothes and perfumes. Carry your drinking water and medications. For long activities, check what is required of you.
When to go
We were in Kumily off-season and it still had a steady stream of visitors, but it was not crowded, just a we like it. Tourist season is from October through March. April and May are warm, June to August can be rainy and windy, with leeches, but ideal to see the water-falls ! Good, uncrowded months with fair weather are April and September.
Locally you can hire auto-rickshaws, taxis and jeeps, however if you are staying in the vicinity of the Kumily Bus Stand, you can walk.
Prices will vary depending on the hotel, activities and meals you choose. A decently full mid-class holiday should cost about Rs.3000 per person per day.
Kumily, the town of the Periyar Tiger Reserve is accessible only by road. A taxi from Trivandrum costs Rs.4500 one way. One can also reach from Kochi and Madurai. All three cities have airports and railway stations, with Madurai and Kottayam being the nearest. Kochi and Trivandrum are about a 7 hour drive, while Madurai and Kottayam take about 4 hours.