Updated: 27-Oct-23 Periyar national park located in the Western Ghats of India's southern state of Kerala, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a testament to the lush beauty of nature and the extraordinary diversity of wildlife that inhabit it. Spread over an area of 925 square kilometers, this sanctuary is a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Periyar is not just a sanctuary; it's a magnificent tapestry of ecosystems where nature and wildlife unite in harmonious coexistence.
1. The Jewel of Kerala's Biodiversity: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity, making it a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts. It's home to several iconic and endangered species, including the Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, and Nilgiri tahr. The sanctuary's conservation efforts have been instrumental in protecting these magnificent creatures.
2. The Elephants of Periyar: The Indian elephant is perhaps the most iconic resident of Periyar. The sanctuary is home to one of the largest populations of these gentle giants in India. Visitors can witness herds of elephants bathing, playing, and foraging in the pristine waters of the Periyar Lake, providing an awe-inspiring spectacle.
3. Avian Wonderland: Periyar is a paradise for birdwatchers. Over 320 species of birds have been recorded here, making it a birdwatcher's dream come true. The sight and sound of colorful avian species like the Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and great Indian hornbill are sure to enchant any nature enthusiast.
4. Lush Flora: Periyar's landscape is predominantly tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests, which are a treat to the eyes. The sanctuary boasts a rich variety of flora, including rare and endemic species. You'll find towering trees like teak, rosewood, and sandalwood, along with an array of flowering plants, ferns, and orchids. The monsoon season transforms the sanctuary into a lush, green paradise.
5. Periyar Lake: The centerpiece of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the Periyar Lake. This large artificial lake was created by the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam. It provides a lifeline to the park's inhabitants, including elephants, tigers, and countless other species. Visitors can take boat safaris on the lake, offering a unique vantage point for wildlife viewing and a serene escape into the heart of the sanctuary.
6. Conservation Efforts: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary has been at the forefront of conservation efforts in India. The park's tiger conservation program, initiated in the early 1970s, has helped stabilize the tiger population. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary has also been proactive in engaging local communities in conservation initiatives, making it a model for sustainable wildlife conservation.
7. Visiting Periyar: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is easily accessible from major cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The best time to visit is from October to April when the weather is pleasant and wildlife sightings are at their peak.
Visitors can explore the sanctuary through guided nature walks, boat safaris, and trekking. Bamboo rafting on the Periyar Lake offers a unique experience of navigating through the lush greenery and getting a glimpse of wildlife along the banks.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and the tireless efforts of conservationists to protect it. A visit to Periyar is an opportunity to connect with the wild, to experience the enchantment of dense forests, serene lakes, and incredible wildlife. It's a sanctuary where nature and wildlife unite in a harmonious dance, and it leaves visitors with a profound appreciation for the natural world and a sense of responsibility for its preservation. Periyar is a living example of how humans and wildlife can coexist, providing hope for a more sustainable and harmonious future.