- Category: Thekkady
Thekkady 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 26 sq.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.
- Category: Thekkady
Periyar Tiger Trail
It is an adventurous trekking and camping programme in dense forest. It is offered in two packages, one- night and two-night stays, depending upon the preference and the budget of the tourist. Trekking in the Thekkady Tiger Trail is in reality participation in forest patrols within Periyar Sanctuary and National Park. Trekking with tourists during peak season is normally limited to two occasions a week. Each trekking is unique in the sense those different paths are chosen randomly. The physical condition of the trekking tourist determines to some degree the difficulty of the path chosen. As the terrain is undulating, every trekking program demands that each participant is in good physical condition. From the beginning, the trekking follows an easy footpath, but then the team enters terrain and vegetation of varying difficulty to penetrate, in an untouched landscape without tracks. There are no facilities within the Sanctuary, so everything needed has to be carried along. Under the scheme, a maximum number of five tourists will be accompanied by five guides and one armed forest guard.
The guides are very knowledgeable on every corner and crack of Thekkady forest, and on wildlife behaviour. During the night, the guests are put up in temporary erected tents right in the interior. Guests feel at the lap of Mother Nature and can have a close-up view of wildlife and observe their behaviour. Considering the vulnerability of biodiversity the number of slots has been limited although much publicity has been given to the project recently and its popularity is considerably increasing, the number of trekking is limited to not more than a couple of tour per week. This is typical of ecotourism. An ecotourism project is never meant to be expanding with increasing popularity - then it ceases to be a true ecotourism project, Which entails a minimum of damage and disturbance of the environment. One very important result of the project so far, is that the former poachers have been converted to devoted trackers with a genuine interest in conserving the Sanctuary. Some trackers have reported that the number of wild animals is already increasing. One national award for ecotourism was given to this project by The Ministry of Tourism for excellence in environmental concern in January 2000.
A full day nature trail package is offered to nature lovers to enjoy the panoramic beauty of Periyar Lake and undulating surroundings. A maximum of ten tourists can be accommodated in one slot. They will be accompanied by five guides and one armed guard. Only one slot will be allotted per day. Under this package the guests can enjoy two-hour long trekking, one and half hours long rafting upwards, and then after lunch break the party returns in the same manner. During the trail the party can have a feeling of pristine forest, see even large mammals, birds and indigenous people fishing in the lake. The guests will be helped to identify flora and fauna.
Day Trekking Programme
Trekking programme, conducted by EDC, an Eco-development Committee (involving Tribal trekkers cum Guides), formed by 20 selected youths from the nearby tribal hamlets, offers a possibility to know the richness of an ideal tropical evergreen forest within a short span of time. The trekking duration is 3 hours. Five guests will be accommodated in one slot and they will be accompanied by one tribal youth. Born and brought up right in the lap of forests, the guides are well familiar with the forest life. The guest will be taken through selected nature trails. The programme is also ideal for bird enthusiasts as it starts early morning.
A well furnished hut-like building right inside the forest, near by a vast expanse of wetland, is open to the tourists for night-stay. Two tourists will be accommodated and one guide will accompany them. During the stay in the inn they can have a close watch of the movement of wildlife and if it is a full moon day their experience in the jungle will be unforgettable. The guests will complete short duration trekking to and from their destination. The accompanying guide will serve light food during the stay in the inn.
Learning Program in Bamboo Grove
Typical tribal like huts and tents erected right in a vast bamboo grove in the middle of Anavachal vayal are offered to serious nature lovers for their experiential learning programme. In addition to the huts and tents, a seminar hall also exists for conducting sensitization programs. These programs include interactive lectures by topic specific faculties/ professionals, simple food, accommodation in the tent etc.
Under this programme tribal life and culture of 50 years ago has beenrecreated in an exhibition centre right in the tribal hamlet. It is a 2-hour program and includes an exhibition and interpretation of the heritage and a nature trail in the hamlet. The guest can get acquainted with their traditional life, such as medicinal herbs, weapons, musical instrument, household articles etc.
This programme involves a close interaction with the nature in the midst of a typical evergreen forest in Gavi, about 40 Kms. from Thekkady. The full programme is conducted by the eco-development committees of Meenar, Gavi and Kochupanpa. The package includes vehicle safari from Thekkady to Gavi and trekking in the forest. Animal sighting is common and abundant. Night-stay is also facilitated for a limited number of tourists. Rowing, bird watching, outdoor camping in the forest, tree-top stay and night safari are also arranged on request.
- Category: Thekkady
Kumily located around 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, ancient temple situated in the dense forests in peak, nearly 1337 meters above the sea level is a Revelation of the traditional style of the grand Kerala architecture. 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”.Vandiperiyar a popular place of plantations located 18 kilometers away 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.
- Category: Thekkady
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 by passer. It is 25km from Kumily. Pullumedu is a 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.
- Category: Thekkady
Peerumade is a 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. Peeru Hills 4 kilometers away from Peerumade 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.
- Category: Thekkady
Kuttikanam, this is the place for adventurers and trekkers, and also those who love to be lost in the serene solitude. It is absolute green everywhere on the picturesque hills and the cardamom plantations fill the air with their sweet scent. Grampi, otherwise known as “Parunthupara”, meaning “Eagle Rock” is about 5km from Peermade and 10km from Vandiperiyar. The high peaks here render 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. Pattumala, about 17 kilometers 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.