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.
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.