Periyar National Park in Kerala is where the Royal Bengal tigers, Indian Elephants, and many other ferocious yet fascinating creatures find their home. As far as you can see, there’s nature’s bounty greeting guests with open arms. There is a lot to see and observe for nature lovers, all of which can be covered in a day but for a well-planned tour, there are plenty of things you must know.
This guide helps you plan your Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary tour by listing sanctuary’s key attractions, best time to visit, timings, charges, and other essential information.
Flora, fauna, and Avifauna
Regarded among the top national parks of India, Periyar National Park covers an area of 925 sq. km. This enormous area acts as a habitat to many endangered and endemic species of flora, mammals, reptiles, fishes, amphibians, and birds. It is located in the Cardamom Hill range that encompasses rivers like Periyar and different regions that are home to different kinds of species.
Flora – Expect to see trees of tamarind, rosewood, sandalwood, and Jamun; along with other species. Alongside these, there are agricultural plantation of coffee, tea, and cardamom.
Animals spotted – Also known as Periyar Tiger Reserve, this is a great place to spot Bengal tigers. You might spot Indian elephants, Nilgiri langoors, wild pigs, and Nilgiri Tahrs as well.
Birds spotted – Periyar National Park is a treasure for bird-lovers too. Malabar grey hornbill, blue-winged parakeet, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and Sri Lanka frogmouth are a few among the birds that inhabit the national park.
Activities in and around Periyar National Park
When in Periyar National Park, there are number of activities to indulge in, along with jungle safari which is among the best things to do in Kerala.
- Clouds Walk – It is a 3 to 4 hour guided walk taking participants to vantage points of the park. Right from the vantage point one can enjoy a 360 degree view of the grasslands.
- Jungle Patrol – Patrolling the Periyar Tiger Reserve at night with the guards is quite thrilling. Since the activity is about roaming in ecodevelopment zone, visitors are expected to be disciplined.
- Periyar Tiger Trail – It is a trekking and camping programme for 2 night and 3 nights. The trail covers an area of 20 to 35 km.
- Bamboo Rafting – Rafting and hiking programme takes one through some of the most verdant areas of Periyar Tiger Reserve. The tour is guided by two professional guides and panoramic views on the way are a visual treat.
- Jungle camp – This is a tented accommodation programme featuring film shows and trekking. Located on the banks of Periyar River, the programme gives you an opportunity to know more about local Urali tribe. Also, you’ll be served food prepared by them.
Other than the ones mentioned above, Bullock Cart Discoveries and Border Hiking are also popular activities in Periyar National Reserve.
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Places to visit in and around Periyar National Park
Owing to several species residing in its precincts, Periyar National Park is an attraction in itself. Yet there’s a lot left for sightseeing. Some of the best places to see in and around are listed below:
- Periyar Lake – A famous landmark of the national park, this lake is spread across an area of 26 sq. km. and is among the most charming lakes of Kerala. It was formed post the construction of Mullaperiyar Dam, and is a perfect place to spot various wildlife species that come here to quench their thirst.
- Abraham’s Spice Garden – Even though the whole Periyar National Park is carpeted with greenery, a tour through the Abraham’s Spice Garden is unmissable. It is hosted by knowledgeable guides, who tell you about the uses of different plants.
- Connemara Tea Factory – Tea-lovers cannot have enough of this place. The building was built back in 1940s and the tour educates about the history of tea plantation and other medicinal uses of the leaves.
Those who seek to get an insight to local culture, the tribal villages are perfect place to meet the locals and see how they live. Also, since Periyar is just 10 km away from Thekkady, one must visit the top tourist attractions of Thekkady when coming to Periyar.
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Places to stay in and around Periyar National Park
Since Periyar Tiger Reserve and National Park is among top tourist attractions of Kerala, you can find plenty of stay options right here. There are hotels, tree houses, homestays, and resorts for travelers with different budgets. You can find a room for as low as INR 1,100 per night and as pricey as INR 12,000 per night.
Mid-budget suggestions – Hotel Ambadi Idukki, Periyar Meadows Leisure Hotel Kumily, and Bougainvilla Homestay
Luxury stay suggestions – Rangerwood Nature Castle and Cardamom County
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Best time to visit Periyar National Park
September to June is considered the best time to visit Periyar National Park. Monsoon season lasts from September to early October and brings rain showers that bestow the national park with verdant vegetation. The panorama gets greener and the weather stays pleasant.
Summer season starts from March and ends in June. It is the best time to spot Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, and other animals, as the animals come outside in search of water in summers.
How to reach Periyar National Park
Periyar Tiger Reserve and National Park is an easy-to-reach tourist destination of Kerala.
- By Road – Kumily is the nearest town and there are various state-run and privately-owned bus services that ply between Kumily and other neighboring towns such as Kottayam and Ernakulam.
- By Train – The nearest railway station to Periyar Forest is located in Kottayam, at a distance of 97 km. This is one of the major railheads of Kerala, and is well connected to different cities in the stat, and outside.
- By Air – Cochin International Airport, and Madurai Airport are two of the closest airports from Periyar National Park; located at the distance of 150 km and 159 km respectively. One can opt for direct cabs, or board state run buses to reach Periyar National Park.
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Periyar National Park timings and charges
Periyar National Park has different timings for different activities. Each of them are mentioned below:
Entry timings – 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Border Hike and Bamboo Rafting – 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Guided nature walks – 7:00 am to 10:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Boat safari – 7:30 am to 9:00 am, 9:30 am to 11:00 am, 11:15 am- 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm to 3:15 pm and 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Similarly, there are different fee for different activities.
Entry fee – Indians – INR 155 for adults and INR 5 for a child | Foreigners – INR 450 for adults and INR 33 for a child
Boat safari – INR 150 for adults and INR 50 for children aged below 11 years
Periyar tiger trail – INR 5500 for 1 night, 2 days and INR 7500 for 2 nights, 3 days
Please also note, extra fee is charged for cameras.
Tips to keep in mind before visiting the national park
Periyar Tiger Reserve and National Park is similar to any other national park you’ll visit. The safety tips remain the same – one should be disciplined and stay alert during the tour. Here is a list of a few other things that you should keep in mind while visiting the Tiger Reserve:
- Wear earthy tones such as brown and greens to avoid attention of wild animals
- Talk in whispering tones when game viewing inside the park
- Do not get off the jeep in the middle of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary safari
- Don’t feed the wild animals anything
- It’s always a good idea to reserve your seat in advance through Periyar Tiger Reserve online booking
- Carry extra batteries for your camera
- Apply/carry mosquito repellent lotion when going for the safari/jungle camp
Now that you know everything about Periyar Forest, it’s time to look for Kerala tour packages that offer tours to the national park.
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