Periyar National Park lies nestled in the Western Ghats, falling in the Idukki district of Kerala. The lake that constitutes a major portion of the park came into existence after a dam was constructed on the Periyar River in the year 1895. The reservoir, measuring 55 sq km in area, led to the immersion of some of the prime forest area. At the same time, it resulted in the establishment of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary of Kerala. The beauty of the sanctuary is at its best in winters, however one can have better animal sightings in summers.
Periyar Wildlife Park of Kerala is one of the protected areas covered
under the 'Project Tiger'. The park has a significant population of
tigers. However, the terrain of the area is such that it is difficult to
get a glimpse of the majestic animal. Periyar National Park of India
stretches over an area of 777 sq km (core area being 350 sq km) and
remains open to the visitors only between the months of October and
April. The altitude of the park varies from 914 to 1830 m above the sea
level. Even today, a number of tribal sects, namely Manans and Ooralis,
live inside the premises of Periyar Tiger Reserve of India.
Western Ghat Hills, constituting a major portion of the park, are
thickly wooded and stand dotted with water bodies, huge grasslands and a
thick forest cover. A number of deeper valleys inside Periyar National
Park of Kerala contain tropical evergreen forests, which are full of
wild vegetation. Some of the level areas forming the park comprise of
marshy grasslands near the edges of the lake and other water bodies.
Apart from Periyar River, the water needs of the Periyar Wildlife Park
of India are met by Azhutha and Mullayar Rivers. There are also patches
of semi-evergreen forest across the boundaries of the park.
Tigers form the main attraction of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary of
India. The best place to spot a tiger is the area around the lake. One
can also watch Elephants, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Sambar, Nilgiri
Tahr, Sloth Bears, Otters, Gaur, etc. Then, there are the magnificent
Nilgiri Langurs, Common Langurs, Lion Tailed Macaques, Bonnet Macaques,
Porcupines, Malabar Squirrels, Wild Boars, etc.
The reptile population of Periyar Tiger Reserve of India comprises of
Python, King Cobra, Dark Monitor Lizard, Flying Lizard, Flying Frog,
Flying Snake and a number of other snake species.
Periyar National Park serves as a haven for more than 200 species of
birds. The most commonly seen birds at the park include Darters,
Cormorants, Ospreys, Kingfishers, Racket Tailed Drongos, Fish Owls,
Kites, Great Hornbills, Gray Hornbills, Hill Mynahs, Grey Herons, White
Egrets and Orioles.
How to Reach Periyar National Park
By Air: Kottayam and Madurai airports are the nearest to
By Rail: You can easily catch a train from Kottayam and Madurai
By Road: Buses and taxis are easily available from Periyar to
Kottayam and Madurai.