The “God’s Own Country”, Kerala is filled with the bounty of nature that hides under its green carpet an astonishing variety in its flora and fauna. Going by the statistics nearly 905 of the vertebrate fauna is found in the forests of Kerala. The state has a long list of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Let us have a glance of one of these wildlife sanctuaries spread in the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala- the Periyar wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is known by various names as the Idukki wildlife sanctuary and sometimes by the name Thekkady wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is famous for the elephants and the tiger.
The sanctuary is spread in an expanse of 925 sq kms. It is located on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the Cardamom and the Pandalam hills on South Western Ghats region. Nearly 75% of the geographical area of the sanctuary is filled by the tall tropical trees that make the rainforest here.
A wide variety of fauna are found in this sanctuary that includes the mammals, amphibians, the reptiles and avian species. The exciting wild here are the lion tailed macaque monkey, the Nilgiri Thar and the Langur, the Malabar flying squirrel and the Giant flying squirrel, elephant, turtle, leopard, herons, variety of snakes etc. the animals can be viewed with the help of binoculars from the watch tower or through motor launches.
Not just the fauna but a good diversity can be seen in the flora as well. The wildlife sanctuary bears many therapeutic and herbal plants that find mention in the Ayurvedic texts. There are about 350 species of medicinal plants are identified in this sanctuary. All in all some 2000 varieties of flowering plants are found here and 170 fern species along with some gymnosperms.
he area is also a popular trekking and camping location. The trekking is offered by the team which includes usually 5 guides and 2 forest officials and it lasts for about 3 days. It is also the home of one of the oldest tribal community of India the Mannans that live in these forests.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit this sanctuary is from October to April.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is located at Madurai in Tamil nadu at a distance of 140 kms and the other one is Cochin airport at 200 kms from here.
The train reaches the nearest up to Kottayam which is at 140 kms from the place.
By extensive network of roadways connects Periyar from almost all the main cities of South India. One can visit Periyar from Alleppey and Kumarakom is a much convenient way.
There is plenty for your amusement and doing here in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Have a wonderful trip.