Thekkady in Kerala State, India’s largest wildlife sanctuary is a dream destination for any tourist visiting India. The 120 years old ‘Surki’ dam built across Peryiar, Poorna in Vedic parlance, is a major tourist attraction. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 Sq.Kms, surrounded by an artificial lake over an area of 25 Sq.Kms.
The Country’s sole Tiger reserve, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna is the ultimate reservoir of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture.Thekkady is placed at an altitude of 700m above the sea level. Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, Thekkady is a perfect retreat for anyone who loves adventure, fun, wildlife and nature. In the biggest wildlife sanctuary, you can sight Asian elephants, bison, sambar deer, boars, tigers, leopards, wild squirrels, lion tailed monkeys etc.
Ferry boats are arranged by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and you can enjoy the wildlife and the surrounding nature while having a ride through the river.Elephant rides are availabe at reasonable price. With these rides, you can dwell deep into the forests and enjoy the thrilling experience of sighting wildlife very near.Thekkady is also blessed with several luxury hotels, resorts and homestays. So, you will not find any difficulty in accommodation.
How to Reach
- Thekkady does not have an airport of its own and the Madurai airport located at a distance of 136 kilometres from Thekkady is the nearest domestic airport. From Madurai, you can hire a cab to get to Thekkady.
The nearest international airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 190 kilometres away. This airport is well-connected with all major cities in India and abroad. The best way to get to Thekkady from Cochin is by hiring a cab.
- The nearest railway station to Thekkady is in Kottayam, located 114 kilometres away. The railway station in Kottayam is well-connected to major cities across India.You can hire a cab from Kottayam to get to Thekkady, or even board a government or private run bus.
- The most inexpensive way to get to Thekkady from nearby cities like Cochin, Trivandrum and Kottayam are the government or private run buses. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses are available at regular intervals from Kottayam, Cochin and Trivandrum to Thekkady.
Tourist Attractions in Thekkady
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves – the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq.km, of which 360 sq.km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Entry timing: 0600 – 1800 hrs.
The lake of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary makes an important site to visit in Thekkady. This splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. A wonderful palace located in the heart of the Periyar Lake attracts a lot of visitors. The greatest attraction of Periyar Lake however is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Periyar is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters form the safety of a boat on the lake.
The Periyar Lake attracts grey heron, ibis, the great Malabar hornbill and grey hornbill. The other birds include kingfishers, ospreys and kites as well as orioles, hill mynas, racket tailed drongos, parakeets, including the unusual blue winged parakeet and flycatchers
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The park displays a wide variety of wildlife including animals like the Lion-Tailed Macaque, Ceylon Frog Moth, Great Indian Hornbill and the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, to name a few. In addition to the above, the Park is renowned for housing over a 100 species of Butterflies and 400 species of Moths. Furthermore, the Park encompasses numerous species of mammals, avifauna, snakes, amphibians and lizards.
This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre ans spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily
Washed in fresh spice-scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Another picturesque spectrum of nature’s flora, fauna and gurgling streams is Pandikuzhi.Sandwiched between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border, it makes an important excursion point for every tourists visiting Thekkady. A considerable number of visitors come to this place every year. Being an ideal picnic, trekking, and photographic spot, it is also the favourite day and weekend destination for the localities as well.
Peeremede is a lovely hill station, an ideal retreat in the Western Ghats and a choice break for tourists en route to the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Sprawling gardens of tea, coffee,cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus lying side by side with natural grasslands, pine forests and waterfalls make this an ideal summer resort. The summer palace of Rajas of erstwhile Travancore is today an important monument here.
Peeremede and its surroundings are suitable for trekking, cycling and horse riding. Kuttikanam a place for adventure tourism and trekking is just 3 km from Peeremede.
Another attraction here is Thrissanku Hills four km away. The rolling hills, the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this a choice spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.
The sleepy wind-stricken village of verdant landscape and cascading waterfalls. This village offers a bird’s eye view of the extensive coconut groves of Kamabam and the palins of Theni in neihbouring Tamil Nadu.Chellarkovil is a beautiful village in Kumily of Idukki district. It has cascading waterfalls set in a breathtaking landscape.
The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.
The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.
Both a pilgrim destination and trekiking track. The view of Idukki Arch Dam from here is sure to enthrall you. The State Forest Department conducts trekking expeditions exploring the wilds.
Managala Devi temple
The temple dedicated to Kannaki is situated on the top of a hill in Periyar Tiger Reserve. You have to cover 12kms of rough forest road to reach here. The temple opens only once in a year for the public during the annual chithrapournami festival.
From the top of a cliff here, enjoy the panoramic view of forests and plantations seen as and endless carpet of greenery. It is a very beautiful place just five Kilometer away from Peermade and ten Kilometer away from Vandiperiyar.It looks like a vast stretch of rook spotted with lush green grass.The word parunth in the local language means Eagle and para means rock.It is called Parunthumpara or eagle rock because we can see a large area around like an eagle could see from height.
A trekker’s paradise and the highest peak in Thekkady. Literally means the ‘mountain of the cross’, this hill offers a panoramic view of surroundings including a glimpse of Periyar Lake, Kumily town and vast areas of nehbouring Tamil Nadu state. 3 km from Vazhikkadavu is this renowned Christian pilgrim centre where hundreds of devotees from far and near converge during the holy week and after, to climb the hill in faith, carrying small wooden crosses. The peaceful Monastry at the top of the hill, the silence of the hills, the cool mountain air and the lush green landscape are all soothing to the soul. On the eastern side of the hill is Muruganmala housing a rock cut temple dedicated to Murugan (son of Lord Shiva).
The winding journey to this hill along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here.
This vantage view point is located at a distance of 5km from Thekkady. Breathtaking views of the spice and tea plantations, the mist clad mountains and verdant valleys could be enjoyed at Murikkady. The area is famous for cardamom plantations, tea plantations and pepper cultivation. The salubrious climate here is seasoned with the tantalizing fragrance of exotic spices.