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 Periyar National Park

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.