Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, in God’s Own Country, Kerala, is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, also know as the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady in Kerala, is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India. The picturesque Periyar Lake at the heart of the sanctuary is one major attraction of the region. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though it’s a Tiger Reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants moving freely all around with their complete family of adult and kid elephants. Famous for its pachyderm population (which is around 800 in number), Periyar Wildlife Reserve is probably one of the few places, where one can observe the elephants in their natural habitats.
Sightseeing at Periyar, Thekkady
The Flora :
The forests are tropical, a mixture of deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen ‘sholas’, the last occurring in the moist valleys and characterized by tall trees and a closed canopy. The forests alternate with extensive patches of grasslands.
The Fauna :
The fauna population of Periyar includes - elephants, bisons, antelopes, sambars, wild boars and if one is lucky, even tigers. Periyar is the best bet in India for observing and photographing elephants at close quarters. Besides, the birdlife comprises of darters, cormorants, kingfishers, great hornbills (the great Malabar hornbill) and racket-tailed drongoes.
The Reptiles :
The reptilian population boasts of monitor lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore, especially in the cooler months. Pythons, king cobras, flying lizards, flying squirrels, flying snakes and to top it all, flying frogs are the other inhabitants of this amazing sanctuary.
Park Trips :
Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the Periyar Lake offers an excellent boating spot for tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water's edge