Synonymous with elephants, misty hills and plantations, Thekkady in Idukki District captures the essence of all that is wild and wonderful. The most prestigious region on the high ranges of the Western Ghats, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is located on the Cardamom Hills of Thekkady. Sprawled majestically across 777 sq km, Periyar Sanctuary, declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the Project Tiger Scheme, attracts travellers from all over.
An environmental hotspot, Periyar Sanctuary is noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. Encompassing a 26 sq km artificial lake, the rich jungles of Periyar is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. The lake which serves as a watering hole for the animals during summer, harbours within itself a unique aquatic ecosystem. A cruise along it is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the Reserve. Exciting trekking trails and other adventure activities like tracking the tiger, jungle patrolling etc. await the tourists at this enchanting Sanctuary.
Ecotourism Activities
      Evergreen, grassland and moist deciduous forests are found here with various species of flora in each type of forestland. The Periyar Reserve shelters over 1800 flowering plants including 171 grass species and 143 species of orchids. The only South Indian conifer, Podocarpus wallichiana grows here. A host of ecotourism activities have been developed for nature lovers in this unique spot.
Nature Walk 
(7 am to 10.30 am, 2 pm to 5 pm)
This involves trekking through select nature trails accompanied by trained tribal trackers cum guides. A three-hour interpretative programme, it takes one through interspersed evergreen and moist deciduous forests, providing incredible opportunities for close observation of birds, butterflies and wildlife.
Tiger Trail
This is a protection-oriented trekking and camping activity with reformed poachers as tourist guides. The most significant aspect of this package is the focus on prevention and detection of illicit activities within the forest. There are two programmes organised twice a week that visitors can choose from.
a) One night and two days; max. 5 persons in a group; reporting time: 9 am.
b) Two nights and three days; max. 5 persons in a group; reporting time: 9 am.
Border Hiking 
(8 am to 5 pm)
A conservation-oriented, hard trek along the boundary of the Tiger Reserve gives you a glimpse of the rich flora and fauna. Two guides and an armed forest guard accompany trekkers on this full-day programme that accommodates minimum 2 persons to maximum 10 persons in two groups each.
Bamboo Grove
Typical tribal huts, tents and tree houses made exclusively of natural materials and located in a vast bamboo grove in the middle of Anavachal, functions as eco-lodges for visitors. There is also a thatched seminar hall where nature lovers can avail of experiential learning and nature sensitization camps conducted by the forest department.
Bamboo Rafting 
(8 am to 5 pm)
The programme involves dawn to dusk trekking and rafting across some of the most luxuriant forest tracts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Package involves two hours of trekking, one and a half hours of rafting and then, after a lunch break, a journey back in the same manner. An armed guard and four guides accompany a maximum of 10 persons for this full-day programme.
Jungle Camp
Apart from camping in tents located on the banks of Periyar River at Vallakkadavu inside the Reserve, the package includes optional activities like visits to the Vanchivayal tribal colony and the historical Mullaperiyar Dam, trekking in the forests, tea factory and spice garden visits, vehicle safari, rafting, boating in the Periyar Lake, boating/angling at Vallakkadavu etc. Two to maximum thirty persons can partake in this camp.
Jungle Patrol 
(7 pm to 10 pm, 10 pm to 1 am, 1 am to 4 pm)
Visitors will be accompanied by two watchers and armed forest guards in this night patrolling programme which also helps the forest department in protecting the Reserve. Only upto 24 persons - ie, 4 persons each in two groups on three time slots - will be allowed per day.

Night Camping
(4 pm to 7 am)

Trek for an hour from the forest check post and camp at the jungle inn at Kokkara. Visitors can watch the jungle come alive with avian splendour and at night, experience its silence. They'll also be treated to the enchanting sight of wild animals roaming in the nearby grasslands.

Bullock Cart Discoveries
(6 am and 2.30 pm)

Visit to the farmlands of a tiny hamlet beyond the mountains of Periyar where guides enlighten tourists on the different traditional ways of farming. An optional coracle ride is also included in the package. This three-hour package will have minimum 2 persons and maximum 9 persons.

Tribal Heritage
(8 am to 12 am, 2 pm to 4 pm)

Visit to the tribal heritage museum inside the Mannan settlement that showcases various attractions of the tribal culture. The tour also involves a trek through the tribal hamlet within the periphery of the Reserve, accompanied by a tribal guide.
In and Around
Peermedu, 39 km from Periyar is a scenic hill town covered with aromatic spice gardens including coffee and vanilla as well as tea, rubber and various other crops.
Accommodation
Thekkady has a wide range of options including a stay atop the watchtower to stays at motels and luxury resorts like the Muthoot Cardamom County, Shalimar Spice Garden, Jungle Village etc. There are also a few retreats set right inside the Reserve - Bamboo Grove Lodge, Taj Garden Retreat and the Spice Village. Tented accommodation is also available at Vallakkadavu, run by the eco-development committee of the Reserve.
Location: Situated on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Periyar Tiger Reserve is about 4 km from Kumily town.
Altitude: 900 to 2,019 m above sea level
Timing: 6 am to 6 pm
Distance
Air: The entry point to the Reserve is Thekkady, which is accessible by road from the airports of Madurai (145 km),
Kochi (190 km) and Thiruvananthapuram (272 km).
Rail: The nearest railhead is Kottayam (114 km).
Road: Thekkady is just 5 km from Kumily on NH 220. Kumily's KSRTC Bus Stand has regular connections with all the major cities in Kerala. Thekkady is on SH 19, connecting Munnar to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
For enquiries and bookings, contact:
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady Ph: 04869-222027
Periyar Ecotourism Centre Ph: 04869 - 224571
District Tourist Promotion Council, Idukki Ph: 04869-222620

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