What to See
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Located close to the spice plantations, this sanctuary is one of the best places to watch the wild up close. Stretching to almost 777 sq kms, the park is divided into evergreen, grassland and moist deciduous forests. While herds of elephants are easily visible, it is truly a matter of chance that you spot a tiger or leopard. While a range of options are available to enable you to explore the jungle, one of the best ways to catch a glimpse of the animals is on a bamboo raft on the Periyar Lake. This artificial lake was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was constructed. Till date the tree stumps from the submerged land are seen jutting out of the water. 2-hour long cruises can be arranged on this lake and this could be your best bet to view the animals that arrive at the lake to drink water. Book the boats in advance and carry your binoculars. Another exciting way to discover the jungles is by joining one of the trekking groups, which is accompanied by a trained tribal guide. These Nature Walks last for about 2-3 hours and is an exciting opportunity to watch animals and birds closely. Among all programmes that let you explore the wild, the Periyar Tiger Trail is one of the best. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is managed by a team of poachers-turned-protectors! This team has complete information about the jungle and the programmes last for about 2-3 days. This walk is perfect to watch the Nilgiri langur, elephants, Giant Squirrel and, if luck has it, a tiger or two! The Border Hiking lasts for 1 day and common sightings include gaurs, sloth bears and herds of elephants. A particularly exciting trip would be to be part of the Night Jungle Patrol. Manned by guards and protectors, this lets you discover an entirely different world of the nocturnal creatures. Also located within the jungle are Observation Towers to let you look around the jungle..
Open from: 7.00 am-6.00 pm; Night patrol - between 7.00 pm-4.00 am
Plantation Tours: Tours to the nearby tea gardens and spice plantations are recommended must-dos. These tours can be organized by the Kerala Tourism Information Centre and take you through the cultivation and processing of tea and other spices. Murikkady, 5 kms from Thekkady is one of the well-known cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations. Also visit Vandanmedu, located 25 kms from Kumily, which is one of the largest auction centres for candamom.
Kumily: Located 4 kms from Thekkady, this plantation town is located on the outskirts of the Sanctuary. This is the main town and an important centre for spice trade.
Mangala Devi Temple: Almost 15 kms from Thekkady, this ancient temple is dedicated to Mangaladevi and is well-hidden in the dense forests. Built in traditional Kerala-style, you can only visit it on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak also offers splendid views of the Eastern Ghats.
Tribal Tour: Take a tour through the village where Mannans, one of the oldest inhabiting com¬munities. Also take out time to visit the Tribal Heritage Museum, which has on display fishing gear, hunting traps, medicinal plants, vessels, furniture, models, paintings and cereals.
Open from: 9.00 am-5.00 pm
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