Updated: 24-Apr-23 The Periyar National Park records the maximum footfall of the tourists visiting Thekkady in Kerala. It has gained popularity due to the dense population of mammals, reptiles and birds, along with a wide expanse of forests enclosing moist deciduous trees, tropical and semi evergreen trees and grasslands. The Periyar Tiger Reserve is one other point in the whole country where the community based tourism programs were initiated in the 1990s, which include trekking, camping, nature education, day programs, etc.
It's very normal to hold high expectations about spotting a lot of wild animals, especially tigers while you come for a wildlife venture at the Periyar National Park or the tiger reserve. But giving your overflowing expectation a halt is the best advice to follow.
Boat cruise at Periyar Lake
Start early in the morning for the cruise expedition at the Periyar Lake, as the chances to spot wildlife are high at that time. However, nobody can provide you with complete assurance. The river cruise offers glimpses of some of the main attractions like Indian bison (Guar), elephants and sambar, all of which are spotted along the lake fringes. There is the turtle shop and the pugmarks store at the boat landing. The turtle shop stocks a range of products that reflect different facets of the periodical reserve - forest honey collected by the tribals, designer t-shirts, jackets, caps, watches and other curios. The pugmark trial helps you in guiding you about how and from where to begin your nature quest. The initiative is a self-guided nature trail to provide fascinating and informative interpretation of nature.
If you are interested in an electrifying combination of trekking and navigation then bamboo rafting is just for you. This expedition begins with a 4 km trek from the boat landing. It continues through a route of pristine habitats that offer incredible glimpses of the unity, diversity and interdependence of all life forms in the forest. You can see tribal communities fishing in the periodic lake granted exclusive privilege of fishing only in certain designated areas of the lake. Bamboo rafting across the Periyar Lake is an unforgettable experience, surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats. You’ll get to hear the sound of various birds along with your own breath and the rippling sounds of the oar.
For the wildlife enthusiasts, keen to experience the slice of adventure and wilderness, can opt for diverse community based ecotourism packages. There are trek programs like the nature walk, green walk and border hiking. These programs are thoughtfully designed to offer an unforgettable experience of the wilderness in the pristine purity and grandeur. These walking trails will serve the dream-come-true experience with the glory and grandeur of the wilderness. The border hiking is nearly a 23 kms trek that traverses through diverse forest habitats. Every step in the forest holds hidden surprises.
This was the first eco-tourism initiative in 1998. The 7 km trail sets its path through the vegetation of turmeric, wild pepper and green chilli. Spotting a tiger in the trail is a matter of sheer luck. However, there is enough evidence scattered throughout the jungle to mark their charismatic presence. You can notice the pugmarks on the barks of the trees, or the leftovers from their recent hunting. The tiger trail wraps up its way to the picturesque tiger trail campsite located at an elevation on the banks of Periyar Lake.
In the evening your exhausted souls will be delighted to witness the spectacular traditional tribal art forms, performed by the tribal community members. The dancers are dressed in traditional tribal costumes and ornaments, and beautifully paint their faces from natural pigments. The singing and dance performances are a prayer to their God.
The Periyar National Park expedition should be a must-go place in the bucket list of nature lovers. There are so many things to do for adventure and thrill enthusiasts, it’ll be a spellbinding experience for them.