Updated: 11-July-23 A visit to Periyar National Park predominantly involves the all-day safari along with other activities like border hiking, bamboo rafting, tiger trails, and so on. The national park is an ideal example of the peaceful co-existence of indigenous tribes and exotic wildlife which primarily involves tigers, elephants, bison, Nilgiri langurs, etc. and of course the enticing species of flora. Six indigenous tribal communities reside in the periphery of the Periyar Tiger Reserve - Paliyans, Mannas, Mala Pandarams, Malayarayans, Ulladans and Uralis. The unique opportunity to get acquainted with the tribal communities is a one-of-a-kind experience you must have on your visit to Periyar National Park. To get a close insight into the tribal lifestyle choose to be an audience of the Tribal Heritage Program, which is a significant part of the eco-tourism activities by the Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department.
It is a two-hour program that involves a visit to tribal hamlets, the Tribal Heritage Museum and a scope of interacting with the tribal communities, and the tourists are guided through the program by the volunteers from the tribal communities. Peep into some basic information before planning your way to meet the tribes.
Tribal Heritage Museum: In order to get the true taste of the ancient days of these tribal communities, do visit the Tribal Heritage Museum. The museum is set up by the authorities of the tourism department in the Mannan Settlements to uphold the culture and artefacts of the tribals. The rich collections of the museum also picturises the lifestyle of the early tribal communities. The fishing gear, hunting equipment, agricultural artefacts and other specimens related to their cultural events and rituals, household utensils, bamboo furniture, musical instruments and traditional costumes are all showcased in the museum.
Tribal Hamlets: A visit to the tribal hamlets involves traversing through the green woods to reach the tribal settlements. These indigenous folks reside in the gray-thatched abodes, just like their ancestors have survived for centuries. The walking trail to the indigenous settlements provides the opportunity to explore the villages of the tribals bordering the Periyar National Park and also acknowledges how they live blissfully and in harmony despite facing daily challenges. The entire tribal heritage walk is accompanied by nature’s charisma which involves birds chirping in the background, meandering brooks, the thick forests enveloping the paths, and so on.
Engagement of the Aboriginal Communities in the Program: The Mannan community is the most ancient inhabitants, whose means of sustenance were previously limited to cultivation and fishing. All credit to the notable evolution of tourism, that these native inhabitants were able to surpass their occupational boundaries. Many individuals from the tribes have taken the job of tour guides and are also involved in several aspects of tourism.
Also, enjoy the Tribal dance performance in the evening which is a show for an hour’s duration. The dance performance represents the rich cultural heritage of the communities. The performance begins with the introduction of the performing members and information about the costumes and the musical instruments. The Periyar Tiger Reserve is indeed the perfect combo package of the forest, wildlife and indigenous interaction. While the Safari Booking in Periyar gives a good time to wildlife and nature lovers, on the other hand, the Tribal Heritage Program is a true medium to get familiarised with the natives of Periyar.