This district is a medley of marvels. The wavy ghat regions, inhabited by a variety of flora and fauna are of bewitching beauty. The wildlife sanctuary spanning over a vast area near a huge dam forming a weir between hills, benevolently accommodates a number of wildlife species including the “ National Animal”, the mighty tigers, different types of reptiles and a large number of fascinating birds. The “National Bird” of India, the peacock is among the peaks of attraction.Eravikulam is known for its pedigree breed of mountaingoats.There are summer resorts of subtle beauty and cascades and waterfalls adding glitz to the glamour. The highest South Indian peak Anamalai is situated here.
This area around the Idukki and Cheruthoni dams, near Painavu is perched at an altitude of 3917 feet above sea level. It affords breathtaking views of the surrounding areas and on a clear day one can even see certain parts of faraway Kochi.Cheruthoni is accessible only by jeep. Boats are rented out for a two hour cruise between Cheruthoni and Kulamavu by the Kerala State Electricity Board, which looks after the dams.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
A game reserve comparable, though smaller to Periyar is the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, just above the Idukki Arch dam. This comprises 70sq.km of forest land between the Periyar and Cheruthoni situated 40km from Thodupuzha.There is a scenic lake around the sanctuary. The wildlife here is similar to that at Thekkady.
Idukki Arch Dam
Built across the Kuravan and Kurathi Hills the huge dam, 550ft. tall and 650ft. wide , facilitating a regular supply of water has the credit of being the first arch dam of Asia and second of the world.
Gracing a generous area of about 77sq.km, from about 450to 748m above the sea level the wildlife sanctuary which is situated near the dam is home to a number of common and rare land creatures and fascinating birds. Three dams, Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu contribute to form a 33sq.km expanse of water
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady
It is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries of the country and is also India’s southernmost tiger reserve. The sanctuary sprawls over an area of 777sq.km. near a vast and attractive lake. The 26sq.km. artificial lake was built by the British in 1895 to provide water to the temple town of Madurai in Tamil Nadu.The sanctuary was created in 1934, by the old Travancore State Government. It was designate as a part of “Project Tiger” in 1973.The sanctuary is well known for viewing all aspects of elephantine life. Besides tiger and elephants, the it is a haven for bison, sambar, wild boar, spotted deer, leopard, Malabar flying squirrel, stripe necked mongoose, black Nilgiri langurs, and Nilgiri tahr etc.There is also a rich variety of reptiles and amphibian. The sanctuary has over 265species of birds, which includes the migrant birds. The park area is also full of floral wealth, with over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species, 143 species of orchids and the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallichianus.Picturesque Periyar National Park is also known for its scenic beauty and bracing climate. A boat cruise on the serene waters of the lake is an excellent way to watch the wildlife and pristine beauty of the park. The best time to visit the park is from September to May, but the summer months are appropriate to view the wildlife. Other activities here include trekking, elephant riding angling etc.
About 4km from Thekkady, on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary, this place is known much as a plantation town, thanks to the fertility of its vast landscape. It is also a sought- after shopping centre and obviously spice trade is rampant. This is also the bus terminal for the Periyar region.
Mangala Devi Temple
Encapsulates in thick forests this ancient temple a top a peak, 1337m above the sea level is a Revelation of the traditional style of the grand architecture of Kerala.It is situated about 15km from Thekkady.The access to the temple remains cut off on all other days than the day of Chithra Pournami Festival, when there is a heavy rush of devotees. The peak also offers a scintillating view of the inclines of the Eastern Ghats and hamlets of the contiguous State “Tamil Nadu”.
This is a popular place of plantations located 18km from Thekkady.The periyar river courses along beautifully through the centre of the town facilitating a high yield from the tea, coffee and pepper plantations of the region. The place, in which a number of tea factories thrive, is obviously an important trade centre. Rows of sparklingly beautiful rose, exciting orchids and anthuria are displayed in the government agricultural farm here.
The name Vadanmedu is familiar among the cardamom traders as it is one of the world’s largest auction centres.The place is surfeited with cardamom plantations whose enchanting fragrance greets every bypasser.It is 25km from Kumily.
This stupendous hill town with the nourishment of the Periyar river is about 43km from Thekkady.Typical of a ghat section, the region blanketed by rich greenery, punctuated with scenic hills welcomes the visitors with its exotic range of flora and fauna and natural meadows and lawns. The famous pilgrim spot, Sree Ayyapa Temple at Sabarimala where thousands of devotees throng and the Makarajyothi illuminations are sights to revere from here.
The lovely little hill station and the famous plantation town is located on the way to Thekkady.It was the summer resort of erstwhile Travancore Rajas and is set amidst the rubber, tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations interspersed with waterfalls and open grass lands. The summer residence of the Travancore Rajas has been converted into a guest house by the Department of Tourism. It also offers delightful trekking trails.
This is the place for adventurers and trekkers, and also those who love to be lost in the serene solitude. It is green everywhere on the picturesque hills and the cardamom plantations fill the air with their sweet scent.
The charming hill 4km from Peermede is named after Peer Mohammed, the Sufi saint and is a paradise for trekkers and picnickers. There is also the Mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the erstwhile royal family and the residence of the Diwan.
Grampi, otherwise known as “Parunthupara”, meaning “Eagle Rock” is about 5km
from Peermade and 10km from Vandiperiyar.The high peaks here renders a panoramic view of the remarkable landscape lying below and hence the name “Eagle Rock”. The road to Grampi passes by extensive plantations of coffee, tea and cardamom.
About 17km on the east of Peermede and 28km on the west of Thekkady, Pattumala meaning “Silk Mountain” with its soft and gentle landscape is an entertaining region of soaring peaks and beautiful little streams. This is a place of proliferating tea plantations. The Velankanni Matha Church, built out of granite stone, makes it a popular pilgrim centre. The flower garden nearby with its flashy colours and placid flowers, ornate orchids and anthurium is an irresistible invitation to the tourist.
Munnar (literally means three rivers), the beautiful hill station nestled amidst Western Ghats, is set at the confluence of tnree mountain streams. It was the summer resort of British in South India and still retains an aura of old world elegance. The beautiful landscape is dotted with lakes, reservoirs, lush forests and several tea estates. The pepper, rubber and cardamom plantations lend a distinct aroma to the cool and bracing climate of the hill resort.Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi which rises over 2695m and is an ideal spot for trekking.
Top station is an attraction of Munnar.This hill top is 32km south east of Munnar and 1700metres above sea level. From top station, we get a panoramic view of Kambam in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.Top Station is along the Munnar- Kodaikanal road.
Through there is a short cut, it is not accessible even by jeep. During the time of the British rule, for transportation of tea and manpower, they had constructed a rope way as well as mini local rail line. This was later destroyed by natural calamities but the remains are still left.
The mention of the name Maryoor which is 40km of Munnar sends the scent of sandal in the air. This is the only place in Kerala where there is a natural growth of Sandalwood trees. The place cherishes the subtle fragrance. The forest department runs a sandalwood factory. There are also wonderful caves whose walls are adorned with painting and sculptures relating to the “New Stoneage Civilization”The children’s park
And a huge banyan tree is among the salient features.Thoovanam Waterfalls and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park are close by.
Eravikulam – Rajamali Wildlife Sanctuary
The famous sanctuary near Munnar is accessible by road, just 4km from the Munnar – Udmalapet road. It is 135km from Kochi and is situated at the crest of Anamalai range. It has the largest population of Nilgiri Tahr existing in the world now. Other key fauna include sambar, barking deer, gaur , giant Malabar squirrel, tiger , panther , nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque , wolf , pigeon, black bird and jungle frow etc.A rich and varied type of flora can also be seenhere. The rare species popularly known as “ Neela Kuriniji” grows here. The Neealkuruinji is a plant that blooms once in 12yrs.At that time the hillside will bluish in colour.
At an elevation of 1700m. above sea level, this place is 13km away from Munnar.It is also the seat of the Indo-Swiss Diary Project where the green meadows, the exotic cattle and the rose garden attract a lot of tourists. DTPC Munnar provides boating facilities on the Mattupetty Dam. Speed launch, slow speed boat and motor boats are available on hire.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
A thorny scrub jungle present nowhere else makes this Sanctuary unique. There is a wide range of animals and a good number of birds in this sanctuary. Animals include elephant, gaur, sambar, porcupine, lion tailed monkey etc.Birds like jungle fowl, and spotted dove, Kerala laughing thrush etc are seen here. The sanctuary is situated on either side of the Marayoor- Udumalpet road and is hence accessible by road.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
This bird sanctuary in Devikulam Taluk lies on the northern bank of the Periyar river. The area of the sanctuary is 25sq km formed between the branches of the River Periyar.The presence of more than 200varities of birds in this area attracted the world renowned Ornithologist Dr.Salim Ali whose efforts are also believed to be used in the formation of this sanctuary. Important birds found here include large falcon, gray jungle fowl, white breasted water hen, hornbill etc.The vegetation in this area consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen moist deciduous forests and plantation of teak, rosewood, and mahagony etc.Further more than 28 varieties of animals and nine varieties of reptiles have accepted this area as their natural habitat.