Open Time: 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Night Safari after 8:00 PM
Adult - INR 33,
Child - INR 5,
Adult - INR 450,
Child - INR 155
The Periyar National Park in Thekkady, Kerala, is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world and the best-protected reserve area that one can lay eyes on in India. Famous for its gorgeousness, greenery and stillness, the park is the dwelling place of abundant significant species, including the royal tigers and majestic elephants apart from other reptiles, fishes and birds. This National Park is an amazing coming together of nature, adventure and beauty. A place which allows you the peace and serenity you so desire, an opportunity to be one with nature and just a normal sighting of a Tiger or two, Periyar National Park is full of beautiful sights and sounds.
The Periyar National Park is home to many threatened and endangered species like elephants and tigers. One can easily spot white tigers, Indian elephants, wild pigs, flying squirrels, fruit bats, sloth bears and jungle cats here. More than 266 species of birds, including migratory ones, also live here. Top birds to spot here are Malabar grey hornbill, white-bellied blue flycatcher, Sunbird, great hornbill, black-necked stork and Nilgiri wood pigeon. 45 species of reptiles, including lizards, snakes and turtles; 40 species of fishes and more than 160 butterfly species are found here. The floral beauty of the place is equally enchanting. Top flora of this park comprises of teak, mangoes, rosewood, tamarind, bamboos, sacred fig, sandalwood, jacarandas, Indian conifer and others. Plants of medicinal importance and coffee, cardamom and tea plantations can also be found here.
Without any second opinion, the best way to see the sights and spot the wildlife like elephants and wild boars at the park is to take a safari at Periyar National park. One can choose from an elephant safari or a jeep safari or opt for a boat cruise at the lake. All three options are equally enjoyable and pleasurable.
1. Boat cruise at the Periyar Lake: Spotting beautiful and healthy deer near the water body is ubiquitous. Unfortunately, this facility is not available throughout the year as heavy rainfalls cause these services to be shut down temporarily.
The timings for the boat cruise are 7:25 AM, 9:15 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:30 PM and 4:00 PM. Each cruise lasts for about 30 minutes.
2. Jeep Safari: Jeep safaris are ideal for individuals or small groups. Photographers especially prefer this option to click the ferocious and majestic animals in all their beauty and grandeur.
The full day safari starts in the early morning hours, while the last trip starts by three in the evening.
The timings for the night safari are 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM.
The Periyar National Park has many prominent attractions in it, such as the Mangala Devi temple, Periyar Lake and Cardamom hills amongst others.
1. Mangala Devi Temple: This ancient temple is located inside the national park and is open to the general public only once in a year.
2. Pullumedu: This famous spot for pilgrims overlooks the auspicious Lord Iyyappan temple of Sabari Mala. People visit Pullumedu especially during January. A glittering light in the sky, which appears during this time, is considered to be a deity in spiritual form by devotees.
3. Periyar Lake: One of the most famous attractions in the park, this lake is known for river rafting, boat cruise, boat rides and bird watching.
4. Hill Region: The northern and eastern borders of the Periyar National Park are surrounded by mountains. These mountains are a great spot for trekking; Kurisamala to Kumily and Kumily to Pandikuzhi being the most famous routes.
5. Cardamom hills: These hills with cardamom plantations are undoubtedly the most exotic spot in the park and are famous for the guided trips that take place here via jeeps.
6. Forest Regions: The forest areas in the park are full of thick tropical evergreen trees and are a great area for forest trekking.
The construction of the Mullaperiyar dam in the 12th century led to the formation of the Periyar lake reserve. This artificial water body helped numerous species of plants and animals to thrive here naturally; observing which the Maharaja of Travancore, Balarama Varma, declared the area to be a private game reserve to avoid encroachment of tea plantations in the area. After the political integration of India in 1950, the sanctuary was declared as a wildlife reserve. In 1978, the park was declared as a tiger reserve and in 1982; it gained recognition as a national park.
Park-centred eco-tourism is the hallmark of the Periyar National Park. These programmes are conducted by locals and include a broad range of activities. You can take part in the Nature Walk, and Green Walk, which is a trekking programme that offers fantastic opportunities to watch birds and butterflies amongst other wildlife; or the Clouds Walk, which is guided trek where you can have a look at grasslands, evergreen forests and the expanses of land. Other options also include the Jungle Patrol, Border hiking, Bamboo Rafting, Periyar Tiger Trail, Bamboo Grove, Jungle Inn, Jungle camp and Bullock Cart discoveries.
The Periyar National Park is open on all days from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Guided nature walks take place from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM to 05:00 PM.
The timings for Border hiking and bamboo rafting are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The entrance fee to the Periyar National Park is as follows:
a) Indians: INR 33
b) Foreigners: INR 450
a) Indians: INR 5
b) Foreigners: INR 155
The other applicable fees are as follows:
1. Boat Safari: INR 150 for people above 11 years of age and INR 50 for the rest
2. Tiger Trail Trek: INR 5,500 for one night and INR 7,500 for two nights
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The best time to visit the Periyar National Park is in the winter season, in November to February. The weather is delightful at this point. The additional perks of visiting the national park in this season are that you can also spot some migratory birds and flowering plants will be in full bloom. Rafting and boat cruise also become more exciting due to the recent rains.
If you are travelling by air, the nearest airports to the park are Madurai and Kochi, which are at a distance of 136 kilometres and 190 kilometres from Thekkady respectively. Both private and government buses are easily available to Thekkady from various states and cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Salem, Trichy and others. The nearest railway station is located in Kottayam, 114 kilometres away from Thekkady. Once at the airport/railway station, you can easily hire a cab to reach Thekkady or the park directly.
If you wish to stay inside the Periyar National Park, you will find a forest guesthouse. This guesthouse is operated by KTDC, and prior booking is required. In the peak seasons, it is rare to get accommodation here due to the high demand. You can also stay at nearby hotels in Thekkady. Hotel Sandra Palace, Periyar Woods, Elephant Route Resort and Hotel Tigers Roare are some good options.
There is an additional cost of INR 38 for the use of a still camera and INR 300 for the use of a video camera.
3 months ago by Rohit Shroff
Periyar is an amazing place to be if you love greenery. Take the morning boat ride to experience an amazing serene ride in the middle of the jungle. You will be spotting lots of animals on both sides of the river. You can also take the night trek wherein you walk in the middle of jungle late at night along with forrest officials.
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