Periyar Wildlife Tour

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Periyar Wildlife Tour

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Indian Elephant
About Periyar....
Situated within the confines of the Western Ghats in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is one of the most captivating wildlife parks in the world. In 1895, the British undertook water resource management plans for the area and started work on a dam and an artificial lake under the auspices of Col. J. Pennycuick. The picturesque lake in the heart of the sanctuary was originally 26 sq km but now spans an area of 55 sq km. This perennial source of water, which initially led to the submersion of large tracts of forestland, slowly attracted wild animals. It eventually resulted in the adjoining forests being granted protection by the Maharaja of Travancore. Post-1975 Periyar finds itself in the enviable position of being a national park as well as a protected tiger reserve.
Periyar (also known as Thekkady) is a park where one can witness playful pachyderms, whose population is currently around 800. The population of tigers is also increasing appreciably. The terrain ranges from hilly to flat grassland areas at the edges of the lakes. The vegetation is of moist deciduous type.

Elephantine Abode
Periyar is a veritable paradise of elephants. Herds of playful wild elephants have made Periyar Lake their favorite haunt for frolicking in the water. Scores of them can be witnessed bathing and swimming here. The Indian female elephants do not posses tusks like their African relatives. They are also not as swarthy as their African counterparts. Other inhabitants of Periyar include the leopard, wild dog, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur (a primate), bonnet macaque, sambhar, porcupines, squirrels, gaur (Indian bison), wild boar and sloth bear. There are approximately 40 tigers in the area as per the latest reports. The tigers, along with the Nilgiri tahrs (a kind of a wild goat), are elusive creatures. However, an early morning visit, with luck on your side, could yield results.
Amidst the rocky hinges along the lake, monitor lizards may be spotted. Trekkers have also sighted pythons, king cobras and flying lizards. Some 260 species of birds are found at Periyar. These include darters, cormorants, ibises, gray herons, mynas, flycatchers, orioles, wood pigeons, kingfishers, kites, ospreys, thrushes, and an appreciable number of blue-winged parakeets.

The temperature during summers (April–June) ranges from 21°C to 24°C. During the monsoon (July–August), it ranges from 19°C to 21°C. Winter season lasts from October to March and is cool and pleasant.

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Tourist Gazing at a elephant
Outside World
The nearest town is Kumily (4 km) where communication (post, telegraph, phone and fax) and medical (chemists, hospitals) facilities are available. Internet/ e-mail facilities are available at Kottayam (117 km) from the park.

Getting there
The park is well connected by bus service from the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram (271 km), as well as the cities of Cochin (200 km), Kottayam (117 km), and Madurai (140 km). The nearest major rail junction is Kottayam. The nearest national airports are Cochin (200 km) and Madurai (140 km).

Where to Stay
Forest rest houses—Periyar House, Aranya Niwas, etc.—situated in the park’s tourist complex area offer good accommodation facilities. The Lake Palace at Eddapaliyam, which was once the royal residence of the Maharaja of Travancore, and Spice Village are the two other better options for accommodation in the area. Apart from these, there are many other rest houses where accommodation is available to suit every budget.

Travel Tips
During summers, light cotton garments are recommended while for the winters, cottons and light woolens would be suitable. Those also planning a trekking expedition must be cautious against snakes in their vicinity. For more information on the park, tourists may contact: Field Director, Project Tiger, Kanjikuzhi, Kottayam, Kerala, India.

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