Periyar Tiger Reserve: The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spreads across the entire district are the picturesque plantations and hill towns that nestle beautiful trails for treks and mountain walks.It is one of the oldest tiger reserves in the country and the forests of Periyar is embellished by the presence of endangered species including White Tigers.
The land of Periyar river and the Periyar National park, is a must visit when in Kerala. The National Park that spreads across 300 square miles, is known for rich forests and wildlife and if lucky, we can also spot tigers and State bird of Kerala, the Great Hornbill. Thekkady is also popular for its spice plantations run by local families where spice tours are conducted.
Thekkady is an amalgamation of spice plantations, preserved forest area, tribal culture and heritage. Get to learn more about the medicinal values of the spices that Kerala is popular for. Not just in food or tea, these natural elements serve several medical and preservative purposes which are interesting to know. See the plants and way they are grown and the varieties of each – whether Black or White cardamom, varieties of turmeric, basil and more.
Thekkady is also acclaimed for the rich wildlife it consists. The Periyar National Park offers several Eco- Tourism activities like treks, bamboo rafting and boating activities where you can explore the serene beauty of the Lake and forests and also get to see Gaurs / Indian Bisons, Leopards, Elephants, Sambar Deers, and if lucky, the Tigers too. Thekkady is a perfect place for bird-watchers with Great Indian Hornbill, Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, White bellied treepies, Laughing thrush and more to look for.
Focusing on Responsible Tourism, Thekkady too has inculcated programs to support its early settlers or the Tribes of Thekkady with programs like Tribal Heritage Dance shows. The five ethnic communities – Mannans, Payaliyas, Uralis, Mala-arayas and the Malampandarams are now an intergral part of Eco- Tourism programs in Thekkady.
Highlights: Periyar National Park activities – Bamboo rafting, treks; boating at Periyar Lake; Spice Plantation; Tribal Dance Show