Periyar Tiger Reserve

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India >> Kerala >> Cochin & Ernakulam >> Attractions >> Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve

History

Periyar, in Kerala, is the best-known wildlife sanctuary in south India. Though billed as a tiger reserve, Periyar is really famous for its wild elephants, 100-year-old artificial lake and its setting in the beautiful thickly forested Western ghats. This is not your best shot at spotting the Bengal Tiger considering there are less than 40 of them that inhabit an area of 777sq.km but there’s plenty of other game like the Nilgiri langoor, Nilgiri tahr, bison, deer, antelope and about 700 elephants to make the trip worthwhile.

The Asian elephant is diminutive compared to its larger African cousin but the thrill of spotting a herd of them lumbering through the dense shola forest or wading into a lake is going to be no less than seeing the African elephant in the Masai Mara grasslands. There are more than 700 of these large grey animals that have for a long time been a symbol of Indian exotica. Over a 100 species of butterfly and at least 240 species of birds inhabit the area.

Around the park are some interesting aromatic spice gardens. Many have good guides who’ll tell you about the medicinal value of each spice and maybe startle you with how much of the research is millennia old.

Best time to visit

The tourist season is from September to May and particularly the Christmas - New Year holidays. From February onwards it starts getting warmer and though this could be distinctly uncomfortable, it has its benefits. The animals are easiest to spot now as elephant and chital (spotted deer) alike flock to the waterholes. Avoid weekends when the park can get quite full with people looking for a daylong getaway.

Trivia

Periyar National Park is blessed with a variety of flora and fauna which makes it a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiast. But the playful elephants of this park – 800 in number, will undeniably grab all your attention. It is indeed a paradise of elephants!

Timing

Visitors are allowed entry into the Tiger Reserve from 6:00 am in the morning till 6:00 pm in the evening.

Entry permits to visit Periyar are available at the Wildlife Information Centre (near the boat jetty) in Thekkady. For foreigners, the permit costs Rs 50, and it’s valid for five days. Charges for guided tours of the sanctuary and for boat trips, are extra.


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