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Fast Facts
Location : Thekkady district
Area Covered : 777 sq kms
Best Time To Visit : October to April
Access : Kumily 4 kms, nearest and by bus

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Introducing Periyar wildlife sanctuary Kerala
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India. The sanctuary is located in the panoramic ranges of the Western Ghats, in the state of Kerala which has been dubbed as 'God's Own Country'. The sanctuary is among the few (one of the total sixteen) Tiger Reserves in the country.

Life was for the first time thrust into this sanctuary in the year 1895. With the construction of a dam in the same year the forest land received protection from the ruling Maharaja. Spread over vast land area, the next milestone was reached in the year 1978, when the sanctuary was approved as a tiger reserve and included in the list of Project Tiger Reserve. Periyar India is a great tourist destination that spreads across, in the Thekkady region, encompassing great resources and the beauty of it all.

Description
Periyar Kerala is located among the low lying Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats. The centre of attraction here is the artificial lake, Periyar Lake, on which it stands situated. The lake stretches out for good 5,500 hectares. The sanctuary is spread over 777 sq kms, out of which 360 sq kms are covered by the forests. The lake fringes are formed of marshes and grasslands. The grasslands provide for the cover of the wild animals in the sanctuary. The beautiful lake also sees a number of animals, that come to bathe and quench their thirst. The forest, wherever it is dense, has a canopy formed by the huge deciduous trees. The place is calm and serene, except for the silence broken by the tourist. Even that gets lost and mingled with the nature.

Flora and Fauna
Flora : The forest land is covered with deciduous, semi evergreen and evergreen vegetation. These huge trees conform to the dense forest vegetation. The grasslands are typically Savannah. A total of 171 species of grass and 143 species of orchids are present in the sanctuary.

Fauna : Amongst animal species the most figured out are the elephants. Elephant herds can be often seen here, having a good time at the lake. The other inhabitants include Gaur, Wild Boars, Sambar Deer, Bison, Barking Deer, Wild Dogs, Lion Tailed Macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, Bonnet Langur and Tigers. The bird species include Hornbills, Storks, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Cormorants and Darters. The reptiles that roam in and around the marshes include Cobras, Vipers, Kraits among the snakes and Monitor Lizards. The lake also provides breeding place for many aquatic species including fishes and frogs.

Activities you can take part in
Boat Cruises : The boat cruises in the Periyar Lake are quite amusing. The boat cruises are ideal choices to explore the region around. However, there may not be enough chances for wildlife encounters, except spotting an elephant herd, but the cruise is still a wonderful activity.

Camping : Relaxing in the lap of mother nature amidst the lush forests alongwith hearing the echoing sounds of the roaring tigers or a barking deer, can tempt any nature lover. If you want to experience the same, come for Camping in Periyar National Park. Periyar National Park offers excellent facilities for camping and it will fully thrill you. Camping in Periyar National Park gives you a very good chance of wildlife spotting as well as enjoying the amazing beauty of the surroundings.

Periyar Wildlife : What is unique about camping in Periyar National Park Thekkady is that it is not confined to any season or any adventure activity. While you are camping out on the observation tower, be sure to carry your own bedding and food. Also carry dull clothes, some warm and waterproof clothing, sturdy and comfortable shoes and mosquito repellent. Binoculars are available on hire but it is better to take your own along. Cameras and camcorders are allowed but you have to pay extra charges for carrying them inside the park.

Elephant Safari : Elephant Safari is a good option to view the animal world. In Periyar National Park the forest department offers Elephant Safari accompanied by trained mahout at reasonable price. In Elephant safari you can discover the wildlife as well as the pug marks. If you want to experience some more fun, encourage the mahout, probably he would take you off the beaten path to more rewarding locations.

A journey on the back of pachyderm will take you close to the herds of playful wild elephants, bathing and swimming in the Periyar lake. If you are lucky enough, you can glimpse many of nature's wonders such as the tiger in all its frightening beauty, a frightened and gasping sambar, closely followed by a pack of wild dogs, cormorants drying their wings by the lake, freshwater tortoises sunning on stumps jutting out of the water and a number of other animals like Leopard, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Nilgiri Langur, Sambar, Bonnet macaque, Gaur, Wild Boar etc.

Early morning and dusk are the best times for Elephant Safari as there are good chances of viewing wildlife. Usually in the afternoons the wild animals tend to disappear into the shade of the thick forests of this wildlife sanctuary. Don't forget to carry a camera, as capturing the wildlife in Periyar is a delight and you may keep them as souvenirs for lifetime.

Tea plantations near Kumily, KeralaOther Attractions
Cardamom Hills : The Cardamom Hills lying in the vicinity offer great trekking routes which are filled with excitement and thrill.

Kumily : The place is a known plantation site in the state. The place is located some 5 kms from the sanctuary and features some of the best spice gardens of Kerala. The town also provides a range of accommodation facilities.

Periyar Hotels
Most of the accommodation facilities available are in the Kumily region. There are deluxe and standard resorts and hotels that cater to the needs of the tourists. Some deluxe providers include Taj Garden Retreat, Spice Village, Spice Village Garden. The standard resorts include Cardamom County, Aranya Nivas (KTDC), Periyar House (KTDC).

How to Reach
To access Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary by air one can reach up to Kochi or Madurai. Kochi lies in the same state (Kerala) and is about 200 kms from the sanctuary. Madurai lies a little closer about 140 kms and falls in the Tamil Nadu State. The nearest railhead is the one at Kottayam, which is about 114 kms away. The nearest town to Periyar is Kumily, 4 kms from the park. A number of state owned transport buses and private buses ply to the region.
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