By Tushar: 23-Dec-23 Kerala consistently captivates its visitors with a myriad of natural wonders, showcasing its diverse tourist attractions. The state's tourism is well-distributed across various districts and cities, and one notable destination is Thekkady in the Idukki district, home to the esteemed Periyar National Park. Situated 140 kilometres from Kochi, Periyar stands out as arguably the finest wildlife sanctuary in South India.
Renowned for its extensive range of wildlife, including bison, sambar, wild boar, langur, elusive tigers, and over a thousand elephants, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala is celebrated for its lush greenery, stunning landscapes, and tranquillity. The park boasts a rich variety of significant species, creating a harmonious blend of nature, beauty, and adventure. Recognized as one of the best-protected reserve areas in India, Thekkady's Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a serene environment for the regular sighting of tigers.
The national park is enriched by the flowing rivers Pamba and Periyar, providing abundant water sources. A remarkable experience awaits visitors as they embark on a boat safari in the lake, offering the unique opportunity to witness wild elephants freely roaming in the open.Boat Safari at Periyar Lake - The Star Attraction of Thekkady:
Periyar is home to one of Kerala's most renowned lakes, commonly known as Periyar Lake or Thekkady Lake due to its location within the Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary. Administered by the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department, the lake attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Notably, Periyar Lake was artificially formed in 1895 through the damming of Kerala's longest river, Periyar or Mullaperiyar.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve offers 1.5-hour boating trips on the lake situated near the sanctuary. It's common to encounter herds of elephants or groups of sambar deer in the vicinity. The grasslands bordering the shores often host sightings of Gaur and wild boars, while avian fauna such as darters, egrets, and kingfishers rest on protruding dead tree trunks. The Periyar Boat Safari organized by the Forest Department or Kerala Tourism Department Corporation, provides an excellent chance to witness the playful antics of the Smooth Indian Otter.
Boat Safari Timings - 1. Morning: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 11:15 am 2. Afternoon: 01:45 pm, 03:30 pm
These boat rides are not to be taken for granted, as they have limited availability and fixed timings. It is advisable to secure tickets in advance from the boat jetty near the Wildlife Information Centre. The combination of scenic beauty and the promising opportunity to spot wildlife makes the boat ride on Periyar Lake a thrilling adventure akin to a 'cruise wrapped up in adventure.
Opting for an afternoon ride presents the optimal opportunity for spotting a greater variety of wildlife. However, it's important to note that heavy rainfall can lead to temporary service shutdowns, so it's advisable to avoid the monsoon season when planning a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The ideal time for Periyar boating is from March to April, as this period coincides with the heightened presence of wildlife along the lakeshore during the summer months. To make the most of your trip, plan accordingly, and ensure you include Periyar Lake boating—a must-do activity for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.