Periyar National Park which is also a Periyar Tiger Reserve located in the high ranges of the Western Ghats in South Indian state of Kerala popularly called as God’s Own Country. Periyar is India’s one of the oldest natural reserves. It was established in 1895 and confirmed as a tiger reserve in 1978. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is having a beautiful lake in the middle of the park. It was made when Periyar Dam was built in 1895 this lake roams around the curves of the forested mountains, giving a permanent water supply to the wildlife of Periyar Reserve. Periyar is a tiger reserve under Project Tiger Scheme, though the people visit this spot the Indian elephants taking the boat ride through Lake Periyar. It is one of the finest national parks in India for bird watching, viewing Indian Elephants, Wildlife photography and tiger tracking. Periyar is a paradise for Indian Elephants.
Indian Elephant is a major attraction of Periyar Tiger Reserve. The other prominent animals seen in the park are Guar, Wild Boar, Sambhar, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Wild Dog or Dole and tiger quite rare to spot however there are about 40 tigers in the sanctuary. Four primate’s species are also found in the tiger reserve as lion-tailed macaque, Common Langur, the Nilgiri Langur and Bonnet Macaque. Periyar is a home of the indefinable Nilgiri Tahr, which is very rare to see.
Periyar also has very rich birdlife which includes Darters, Kingfishers, Cormorants, racket tailed Drongoes and the great Hornbill of Malabar. In reptiles, the main species are Monitor Lizards which is seen lying around in the sun light in the park on the some rocks by the shores of the lake. The trekkers normally see a Python and also King Cobra sometime in Periyar Sanctuary. About 100 butterfly species and approximately 240 types of birds inhabit in the park. Periyar is bordered by the perfumed spice gardens. The spice gardens may be intensely discovered with an assistance of local guide who can explain the medicinal worth of every spice found here.
Lake Periyar attracts many birds as grey heron, the great Malabar hornbill, ibis and grey hornbill. Few more birds also are seen here as kingfishers, kites, ospreys, orioles, racket tailed drogues, hill mynas, parakeets, the strange bird with blue wings parakeet and flycatchers.
Kumily is located only 05 KMS away from Periyar Tiger Reserve and is a bustling town here tourism industry is rapidly spreading like the spice business which is the main trade of Kumily. Kumily has excellent boarding and lodging facilities.
Both Periyar and Kumily are very convenient places from where the tourists can comfortably discover the stunning Cardamom hills of Kerala. You may visit these hills along with guide through the jeeps or cars.
Boat cruises at Periyar are finest way to see the wildlife of the Sanctuary. Now, Lake Periyar offers a nice boating place for visitors. However, it is not possible to view many wild animals through the boat but you may see the herds of Indian Elephants, Wild Boar along with Sambhar near the edge of water. The upper deck of the boat is best place to view the wildlife. The morning boat ride is recommended for good sighting.
The best time to visit Periyar National Park is from October to June. Avoid the park just after monsoon as the animals don’t come near to the lake to drink the water as the water holes in the park are sufficient to fulfill their requirements.
Air: Kochi or Cochin airport is located 200 KMS from the park and Madurai airport in Tamilnadu is 140 KMS far from the sanctuary.
Train: Kottayam is the closest railhead to Periyar just 114 KMS away.
Road: Kumarakom 110 KMS, Munnar 113 KMS, Kodaikanal 160 KMS, Trivandrum 272 KMS, Alleppey 140 KMS