Spice plantations, herds of elephants and long chains of hills – these are the images that spring to your mind when you hear the word Thekkday. One of the best wildlife reserves in India, Thekkady attracts tens of thousands of nature lovers every month.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Thekkady is part of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary spread over 777 square kilometers. The Periyar sanctuary is famous for its ever green forests and herds of elephants, bison and deer. In 1978, the government of India declared the Periyar forests as a Tiger Reserve. Boating in the artificial lake formed by the construction of the Mullapperiyar Dam across Periyar River is one of the most popular tourist activities in Thekkady. A boat ride in Thekkady is also an opportunity to observe elephants, tigers and deer from close quarters as they come to drink water and play in the lake.
The Periyar forests have many different varieties of flowering plants. The reserve is also home to over 60 species of mammals including Asian elephants, tigers, Indian bison, leopards, barking deer, lion tailed macaque and Nilgiri Tahr. There are some watch towers inside the Tiger Reserve. For reservations call on 322028
Entry timing: 6 am to 6 pm.
From Kurisumala, you will get a panoramic view of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Kumily town. The place also offers trekking opportunities.
Kumily (4 km from Thekkady)
Kumily is a town lying on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is famous for its spice plantations and is a major spice trade center in Idukki district. There are several hotels and resorts offering affordable accommodation here.
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady)
The aroma of spices fills your nostrils as you enter Murikkady. This scenic place has pepper, coffee and cardamom plantations.
Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily)
Pandikuzhi is another picturesque place near Thekkady. It is extremely close to the Tamil Nadu border and has many gurgling streams. The place also offers enough opportunities for trekking.
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady)
This is an ancient temple lying in the midst of dense forests at the top of a hill 1337 meters above sea level. Pilgrims can only access the temple on the Chithra Pournami festival day. From the top of the hill, you will get lovely views of the eastern slopes of the Ghats. Before you can visit the area, you need to obtain permission from the Wildlife department of Thekkady.
Chellarkovil (15 km from Kumily)
Chellarkovil is a quaint village famous for its cascading waterfalls. You get mesmerizing views of the plains from here. The famous coconut groves of Cumbum are close to the village.
Vandiperiyar (18 km from Thekkady)
Vandiperiyar is an important trade center in Idukki district and houses many tea factories. Major attractions include the Flower Garden and the Government Agriculture farm.
Things to do in Thekkady
The District Tourism Information Office arranges plantation tours. Pepper, tea, coffee and cardamom plantations are covered. You will also get to visit tribal settlements and tea factories.
The Forest Department arranges elephant rides through the jungle. Each ride lasts 30 minutes.
Boat cruises on the Periyar Lake
A visit to Thekkady is incomplete without a ride in the Periyar Lake. Boat rides are offered at the following hours: 7.00, 9.30, 11.30, 2.00 and 4.00
Getting to Thekkady
Thekkady is about 65 kilometers from Idukki town. Munnar is 106 kilometers and Kumarakom is 128 kilometers away from Thekkady. The nearest railway station is the Kottayam Railway station (110km). The nearest airport is Madurai Airport (140 km)
Field Director (Project Tiger)
Office of the Field Director
H. Mount, Kottayam
Kerala, India – 686 006
Tel: +91 481 2311740
Deputy Director (Periyar East)
Periyar Tiger Reserve
Kerala, India – 685 536
Tel: +91 4869 222027