One of the largest and most visited wildlife sanctuaries in India, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Kerala occupies an area of 777 sq km of lush green tropical forest of the Cardamom Hills region of the Western Ghats. Whilst Periyar is the name of the sanctuary, most visitors tend to stay close by in Kumily and Thekkady.
Centred on a vast artificial lake created by the British in 1895 to supply water to the drier parts of neighbouring Tamil Nadu state, Periyar Sanctuary evolved from a favoured hunting ground of the Travancore royal family who were keen to hold back some land from the encroachment of tea plantations. It was then declared a forest reserve. It expanded then as a wildlife reserve in 1933 and once again when finally declared a Project Tiger reserve in 1979.
Periyar offers a different yet comfortable way of spotting animals via boat rides on the lake, which the wildlife areas encircle.
In addition to the very elusive tiger, Periyar hosts a population of elephant, sambar deer, wild boar, gaur, striped-necked mongoose, bison, antelope, monkeys and langur. Birdlife such as the Malabar grey hornbill, purple-headed parakeet, grey jungle fowl and tree pie can be seen.
The best time to visit is from December to April, when the dry weather draws animals from the forest to drink at the lakeside.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Periyar NP, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to India
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