Thekkady / Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary


Hill Station | Wildlife | Backwaters

Photo Credit: Flickr

About Thekkady

Country: India | State: Kerala

Ideal Trip Duration: Half Day to Full Day

Nearest City to Thekkady: Kochi (156 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Thekkady: October to May

Peak Season: December to January & May to June

At a distance of 4 km from Kumily, 54 km from Idukki, 82 km from Munnar, 111 km from Kottayam, 136 km from Madurai, 143 km from Kochi, and 211 km from Trivandrum, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Thekkady in the Idukki district of Kerala. Located on Kerala - Tamilnadu border, it is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India, and also a well-known summer getaway in Kerala.

Thekkady is one of the most famous sanctuaries near Kochi, and also among the most scenic Kerala Backwater destinations. In 1899, the Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma has declared the forests around Periyar Lake as a private game reserve to stop the invasion of tea plantations. Further, in 1934, the lake reserve was converted into a game sanctuary, the Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary, which covered an area of about 500 sq. km. It was established as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950 and named after the Periyar River. The sanctuary is spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is a thick evergreen forest. It was declared as Tiger Reserve in 1978. Thekkady can be visited along with Munnar tour packages.

The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. There are a few watch towers inside Periyar Tiger Reserve which are excellent for viewing wildlife. Thekkady is famous for Asian Elephants, Tigers, Gaurs, Sambars, Lion-tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs, Wild Boars, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Wild Dogs, Sloth Bears, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Civet, Nilgiri Tahr, etc. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can watch wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat from the lake as part of Thekkady tour packages. The main attraction of the sanctuary is a group of wild elephants that come to play in the lake.

The sanctuary contains 265 species of birds including migratory. Malabar grey hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, White-bellied Treepie, many species of drongos, woodpeckers, flycatchers, babblers, spectacular Malabar trogon, etc can be seen near the boat landing. The sanctuary is also home to a wide variety of reptiles. The Periyar Lake and streams have several species of fish including the masheer, the famous and endangered game fish of India.

The park offers elephant rides, jeep safari, boating in the lake, tiger trails, and forest treks. All cruises, treks start from boathouse in Thekkady. Contact Eco Tourism Center in Kumily for more information on tourism programs and booking (Ph. 04869-224572).

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady, Kerala also attracts a lot of pilgrims every year who come here to visit the Sabarimala Temple. Murikkady, Chellar Kovil, Anakkara, Mangala Devi Temple, Suruli Falls, and Pullumedu are the popular places to visit in Thekkady.

Madurai (148 km) and Kochi (135 km) are the nearest airports from Thekkady. Kottayam (111 km) is the nearest railhead from Thekkady. Kumily is connected by bus with major towns of Kerala & Tamil Nadu. Thekkady can be reached by public/private vehicle from Kumily. Vagamon can also be visited along with Thekkady

The ideal time to visit Thekkady is between Sep-May while the peak season is from Feb to May. It usually takes half a day to 1 day to visit this sanctuary.

Jeep Safari: 6 AM - 3.30 PM

Jeep Safari: Rs. 5000 per Jeep for Indians, Rs. 7000 for Person

Boating Cost: Rs. 225 for Person

Boating Timings: 7.30 AM, 9.30 AM, 11.15 AM, 1.45 PM, 3.30 PM more

Other Info
Internet Availability: Internet Not Available
STD Code: 0486
Languages Spoken: Malayalam, Tamil , Hindi & English
Major Festivals: Details Not Available
Entry Fee & Safari Charges are subject to change by the management without any prior notice.

How to Reach Thekkady

By Air

Nearest Airport: Madurai - Madurai Airport (140 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Kottayam Railway Station (100 Kms)
Alappuzha Railway Station (130 Kms)
Ernakulam Jn (South) Railway Station (156 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Kumily Bus Station (4 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Thekkady

#1 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

Boat Cruise is the best mode in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to watch the wildlife from a close distance. Boating in Periyar Lake is arranged by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) and is one of the most popular things to do in Thekkady. The lake was formed by Mullaperiyar Dam constructed in 1895. The land surrounding the lake is commonly frequented by wildlife.

Elephants are the most common wildlife you can see on the shores of the reservoir while boating in the lake as part of Thekkady holiday packages. Apart from Elephants, the sight of Wild Boar and Sambar Deer is also possible. The upper deck in the boat is best for wildlife viewing. The tickets for boating is issued at Thekkady Boating Point which is 4.5 Km from Kumily Bus Stand. The boats are mostly crowded and better to come early and allocate a good amount of buffer time for boating. ..... more

#2 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

Elephant rides are famous in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The elephant rides through the spice gardens are arranged by Elephant Junction. This park is situated 4 Km away from Kumily Bus Stand. It offers a rare opportunity to experience the safari on an Elephant through a Spice Plantation where the gentle breeze refresh ones, with the spice scented air.

Elephant Junction is a place where one can actually interact with the elephants getting indulged into activities such as bathing elephant, elephant ride and enjoying getting around with playful elephants. Elephant safaris are equipped with a howdah on the back of the elephant on which two tourists sit, with an umbrella over the riders head. Elephant trainers will be at side, walking along with the elephant.

Package Cost:

30 minutes elephant safari: Rs.350 per person
60 minutes elephant safari: Rs.750 per person
90 minutes elephant safari: Rs. 1500 per person

Elephant Safari Timings: 6 AM to 5 PM. more

#3 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

The Bamboo Rafting is an interest programme with the mix of rafting and trekking.

The programme starts at 8 AM from the boat jetty. After a couple of hours rafting, tourists are taken for trekking into the forest. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake. Snacks and Lunch will be provided on the way and trekking will be finished by 3 PM. The rafting is continued in the return path and whole programme will be completed by 5 PM.

The programme costs Rs. 2000 per person for full day and Rs.1500 per person for half day. An armed guard and 4 guides will accompany a maximum of 10 tourists. Tea, snacks and packed lunch will be served enroute. more

#4 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

Several trekking programs are offered in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Short trekking programs are available that cover 4-5 Km and completed in 3 hrs. This is a good option to watch birds, butterflies and some wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests and grasslands. It costs Rs. 300 per person and a group can have a maximum of 4 persons.

A 12 Km trek (one way) to the ruined Mangaladevi temple in middle of the Periyar Sanctuary is a great option to experience beauty of the park in depth. It is recommended for experience trekkers.

Border Hiking is a conservation oriented hard trek taking up a full day. The trekking starts at 8 AM and ends in the evening. The route passes through undulating terrains. Maximum of 10 tourists can take the programme in two different groups. The trekkers will go with two guides and an armed forest guard.

Tourists can also participate in jungle patrol, which is a night trek programme intended to conserve ..... more

#5 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

The tribal heritage programme is intended to provide a glimpse of tribal life to the visitors. It mainly involves a visit to tribal museum and trekking through the tribal hamlet situated within the periphery of Periyar Tiger Reserve accompanied by a tribal guide. Five tribal communities live within the sanctuary. Mannans are among the oldest indigenous group of people to inhabit Periyar Tiger Reserve.

A two hour programme is conducted, where the visitors are taken to a tribal hamlet. The tour also includes a visit to the tribal heritage museum. The tribal heritage museum was built inside the Mannan settlement featuring various types of artifacts related to their ancient agricultural practices, marriage ceremonies, cultural events, dress code, rituals and death ceremonies. The museum has several objects like traditional hunting weapons, armors, cooking vessels, paintings, etc.

Program Timings: 8 AM, 10 AM and 2 PM. more

#6 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

At a distance of 13 km from Thekkady, Connemara Tea Factory is located at Vandiperiyar, Kerala. It is one of the top tea factories in Kerala and among the popular places to visit in Kerala as part of Thekkady - Munnar Tour Packages.

Connemara Tea Factory was built in the year 1940 and one of the oldest one in Kerala. The estate is covered with rolling hills of tea dotted with tall trees covered in Pepper vines. This beautiful place draws domestic tourists along with others who have travelled all the way from Britain, Russia, France and United States of America. The tea factory offers a one hour guided tea garden cum factory tour for tourists. It is an educative, informative and entertainment program. Visiting a Tea Factory and understand the process of making tea was a lifetime experience.

The program starts with an Audio Visual Presentation which is having everything you need to know about Tea. After that, you will be taken to visit the Tea Factory. The process of Tea making ..... more

#7 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

At a distance of 1 km from Thekkady Bus Stand, Kadathanadan Kalari Centre is a cultural center situated in Kumily. It is one of the top places to witness the intriguing martial arts form as part of the Thekkady - Munnar tour packages.

Kadathanadan Kalari Centre is famous for performing Kalaripayattu martial arts and representing Kerala's unique culture. A team of seven well-trained men conducts regular Kalaripayattu performances in a designed gallery here. The gallery is built in such a manner that one will get to watch various cultural and other sporting functions from a safe distance. Visitors will be delighted to watch this life-saving art, which is the oldest fighting system in existence.

Along with Kalaripayattu, Kadathanadan Kalari Center is also popular for Kathakali performances. Kathakali is the classical dance of Kerala and is used to tell stories from the Indian epics. Interestingly, this dance style is a blend ..... more

#8 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

At a distance of 1 km from Kumily Bus Stand, Jungle Night Patrol is a regular night patrolling program in the fringes of the Eco development zone of the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady. It is one of the top thrilling things to do in Thekkady.

Jungle Night Patrol is a trekking activity which begins at two points in the Periyar National Park- Entrance Gate of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and from the Bamboo Grooves. The activity is performed under the supervision of an armed guard and two professional guides. The thrilling activity is surely going to give you an adrenaline rush and a memory for a lifetime.

Jungle Night Patrol is a unique and adventurous activity offered in Thekkady. It provides participants with an opportunity to explore the forested areas of the Periyar Tiger Reserve at night, and allows you to witness the activities of various wildlife species that are active during the night, such as ..... more

#9 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

Jungle Safari is a fascinating program which includes Jeep Safari, Jungle Trek, Rafting and Night Camping.

The 40 Km scenic drive program starts at 5.30 AM through the jungle by Jeep. The trail passes through dense forest where truly man meets nature in all its majesty and glory. After crossing Periyar Tiger Reserve by jeep early morning, breakfast will be served at Gavi's forest lodge, followed by a jungle trekking for three hours. Lunch is offered here and you can have canoeing in the Gavi Lake. The visitors are taken to the camping area in the Jeep from the Gavi Lake. The accommodation is provided in tents and dinner is offered here with camp fire. Next day morning after the breakfast, visitors are taken back to Thekkady. The Jeep will arrive at the hotel for picking up the guest at 5.30 AM.

Jungle Safari Day Package is also available. The visitors are taken back to Thekkady after evening tea by 4.30 PM.

Tariff: Rs. 2200 per person.

Day Package: Rs.1000 per ..... more

#10 of 27 Places to Visit in Thekkady

Periyar Tiger Trial is a unique programme which has high chances of spotting tigers. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is also called as Periyar Tiger Reserve and it has rich tiger population with about 40 Tigers. The tiger trail provides tourists with an opportunity to explore Thekkady's wildlife deep inside the forest. One may get a chance to encounter many indigenous Birds and mammals like Nilgiri Langoos, Sambar deer, Wild Boar, Indian Goat, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Elephants etc.

There are two programs - 1N/2D and 2N/3D. It includes 25-30 Km of trekking through the dense forest covering the most beautiful parts of the sanctuary. Tourists will trek along the trail during the day and camp in pitched tents at night in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. Vegetarian food is prepared and served en route. This programme is offered only for physically fit tourists. Each group will have 5 tourists, ..... more