Periyar National Park was established in the year
1950 and is named after the Periyar river. It is
spread over 250 sq.km. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady surrounding the
picturesque Periyar lake, near the Tamil Nadu border in Kerala, was designated a
part of Project Tiger in 1973 and is one of the Project Tiger Reserves in India.
Periyar national park is famous for its scenic beauty. It is covered with dense
evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with grass
lands on the upper slopes. Periyar is probably one of the few places, where one
can observe the elephants in their natural surroundings. It is very much known
for the tusk less elephants. The animals found in the park are elephant, gaur,
sambar, bison, barking deer, Nilgiri languor, pig, tiger, panther, leopard,
sloth, bear, jungle cat, small Indian civet and Malabar squirrel macaque.
Reasons to visit
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Along the river Periyar, in Kerala, this is a popular wild life sanctuary
spreading over an area of about 780 square kilometers. Set in the high ranges of
high Western Ghats, the lush green forest of Periyar center round a beautiful
lake. Jungle safaris in Periyar are done by boat only. So, noisy traffic and
dust absent in Periyar. In the tranquil surroundings, the forest comes alive in
the sonata of crickets, frogs and birds. A multitude of wild birds and animals
that inhabit in the dense jungles of are the main tourist attractions in
Periyar. Commonly spotted wild animals in Periyar include: Elephants, Gaur, Wild
Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer and Dole or Indian Wild Dog. Lion-tailed
macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, ordinary Langur and Bonnet Macaque are also found
in the forest of Periyar. Huge number of elephants inhabit in Periyar. Herds of
elephants often spotted playing with mud and water in the lake at the heart of
the jungle are also the tourist attractions in Periyar. Tigers add to the
tourist attractions in Periyar. Periyar is actually both of a National Park and
a Tiger reserve. Periyar is also home to a plethora of birds and reptiles.
Avifauna consists of Cormorants, Darters, Kingfishers, great Malabar Hornbill
and racket-tailed Drongos. Monitor Lizards, Python and Cobra are found among the
reptiles.The population of tigers at Periyar Tiger Reserve,
Kerala is on the rise and they are found in all types of habitats even if the
density is much less in the evergreen forests. Though Periyar is titled a Tiger
Reserve, spotting one is difficult here, because of the thick vegetation.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is prime elephant country and you can witness herds
of playful elephants roaming freely or bathing and swimming at the Periyar Lake.
Other animals commonly spotted at Periyar include Gaur (Indian bison), Sambar,
Leopard, Wild Dog, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, etc.
Elusive species like Nilgiri tahrs (a kind of a wild goat) also form an integral
part of the attractions in Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. The Sanctuary at
Periyar is also home to several species of birds like Cormorants, Darters,
Kingfishers, great Malabar Hornbill and racket-tailed Drongos.
A Variety of Monitor Lizards, Python and Cobra and other reptiles are found here.
The perfect way to explore Periyar Tiger Reserve is through motorboat
cruises on the lake or from watchtowers. One can even enjoy a ride on the
elephant back and watch the enchanting wildlife from close quarters.