A Perfect Travel Guide to Periyar National Park in Thekkady, Kerala
One of the popular tourist places of Kerala, Periyar National Park offers tourists the opportunity to get close to nature and have a blissful experience. Kerala is known as God's Own Country for a reason. The abundance of nature and wildlife makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the country. While there are countless destinations to explore, one of the notable ones is the Periyar National Park in Thekkady.
Keep reading this guide to know more about this national park.
About Periyar National Park
Spread across more than 900 square kilometres, Periyar National Park, also known as Periyar Tiger Reserve, is a dense forest nestled in the town of Thekkady in Kerala. This park is most famous for Asian elephants, wild boars, tigers, and more.
Besides the wildlife, the park also houses a lake known as the Periyar Lake. Although created by accident during the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam, the surreal and calm lake with submerged trees and wildlife all around makes it a great tourist attraction.
While there are many national parks in Kerala, this one is surely worth visiting on your trip to Kerala.
How to Reach Periyar National Park?
The closest airport is Madurai Airport which is about 150+ kilometres away. The Kochi International Airport isn't far away too. You can opt for either of these airports and then drive down to the park, which will take between 3-5 hours.
If you plan to reach there by train, you can opt for either the Kottayam Railway Station or the Thiruvalla Railway Station- both these stations are about 100 KMs away from the Periyar National Park.
Apart from taking a hike through the dense forests, the park is known for a few attractions or activities. Here are 3 things you must try.
Once you are done hiking through the thick forest cover, you'll reach Periyar Lake. Here, you can opt for Bamboo Rafting which includes a guided tour through the lake. You'll need to buy the ticket for Bamboo Rafting at the park entrance. If you're lucky, you can spot wild animals in their natural habitat during the ride. Note that the rafting starts a little later in the day when the sun is out, so don't forget to carry a hat and sunscreen lotion.
The next thing to do here is the Elephant Ride organized by the forest department. The 30-minute ride on an elephant through the forest will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
A unique activity that you should definitely not miss is the Elephant Shower. The elephant lies down, and you can scrub it while a Mahout (elephant handler) will spray water on it from a distance. Once you’re done, you can sit on the elephant as it sprays water on itself and you. Get ready for a refreshing splash. Make sure you carry an extra set of clothes if you want to participate in this activity.
Best Time to Visit Periyar National Park
The best time would depend on what you want to do here. If you want to spot wild animals, summer is the best time as animals come out to the lake to quench their thirst, and you have a higher chance of encountering them in their natural habitat. However, it can get quite hot, and you’re recommended to carry a hat, suitable clothing, and sunscreen.
If you’re interested in spotting migratory birds, winter is the best time. Also, it’s easier to trek through the forests in the winters with the weather being kinder. And yes, the flowers are in full bloom during the winters making it all the more worthwhile.
While the park is open during the monsoons, some activities, such as Safari, may be restricted if the rainfall is heavier than usual. If visiting during the monsoons, ensure you carry insect repellants and a raincoat.
The perfect spot for you to stay here is the Club Mahindra Thekkady. Situated within walking distance of the Periyar National Park, the resort in Thekkady itself offers bountiful treasures of nature around. While it’s as close as you can get to nature, the resort also offers amenities like a swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games, a restaurant, etc., making for a fun and comfortable stay for you and your family.
From boat rides and bamboo rafting to elephant showers and rides, Periyar National Park is one of the few national parks in India that has successfully retained its rich flora and fauna. So, pack your bags and plan a trip to this wildlife lover’s paradise in Kerala.