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Periyar National Park

periyar wildlife sanctuary indiaThis 780 sq. km sanctuary in the Idukki district of Kerala is near the border of Tamilnadu. It is setup in the mountains of the Western Ghats of South India. It was declared as a Periyar Tiger Reserve in the year 1978. A dam has been constructed on the Periyar river leading to the submersion of a vast forest area that was once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Kerala. This has also formed a 55 sq. km lake from which juts out the stumps of the trees reminding the visitors of their existence.

The sanctuary is spread on the undulating hills of the western ghats surrounding this lake. Sighting of wildlife is done here from boats gliding slowly through the serene lake. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is often called by the name of Thekkady also. Though it is a Tiger Reserve, tourists come here to view the elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the lake. In the lap of the mountains, the sanctuary's environ is like a canvas of many shades. The fresh air of the moist deciduous forest gives one a chance to experience the peace and serenity. The Periyar protected area lies in middle of a mountainous area of the Cardamom Hills. In western park, it is expanded in a 1200 meter high plateau, where as in north and east front it is bounded by mountain ridges over 1700 meter altitude. In year 1991, Periyar by brought under Project Elephant and later in year 2001 it was reorganized as Periyar East and Periyar West.

Pilgrimage in Periyar

Famous Sabarimala temple lies in buffer zone of Periyar National Park. Sabarimala is one of the most popular pilgrimage destination of South India. It is annually visited by more than 4 million devotees. After Hajj in Mecca. Sabrimala temple is reported to be the second largest pilgrimage site.
Area : 777 sq. km total area and core zone is of 350 sq. km.

Best time to visit : From December to May months.

Prominent Wildlife : About 65 different kinds of mammal species are found in Peiryar national park. Among them some prominent species are Elephant, Tiger, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Dog (Dholes), Porcupine, Lion- tailed Macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur, etc. About 320 species of birds are in Periyar in which darters, kingfishers, great Malabar Hornbill, cormorants, drangos are prominent ones. One can also find 45 different species of reptiles also in reserve in which monitor lizard, King cobra and pythons are frequently seen.

Climate : The climate during summer (from April to June) and during monsoon (from July to August) is warm. Winter ranges from October to March which is cool and pleasant.

Clothing : In the summers cotton dresses are very comfortable, and for the winters cottons and light woolens would be sufficient. Good quality long range camera, binoculars, sun hat and sun glasses are advisable to carry. At the same time visitors should avoid shiny or sharp colored outfits and try to put green or khakis colored clothing.

How to get there : The National Park is 4 km from the nearest town, Kumily. The nearest railhead is 114 km, at Kottayam. The nearest airport is Kochi, 190 km and Madurai, only 145 km from the Park.

Where to stay : There are number of decent hotels in Periyar National Park. Among super deluxe hotels in Periyar : Hotel Spice Village, Lake Palace Hotel, Hotel Taj Garden Retreat, Jungle Village are prominent ones. Among good quality hotels, Aranya Niwas, Muthoot Cardamom Contry hotel, Shalimar Gardens are counted. Similarly in category of Economy hotels in Periyar, Silver Crest, Camellia haven Tree House, Michale Inn Idukki, hotel Ambadi, trisangu Haven are best ones.

For Additional Information: Field Director Project Tiger, Kanjikuzhi, Kottayam, Kerala, India.

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