Thekkady, is one of India's most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries, where you can watch wildlife at close range. The vegetation, the flora and fauna and the birds of Thekkady are uniquely rich, vast and varied that it does not bear semblance to any other wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Even a casual visitor to this place will not fail to observe the special ecological pattern of Thekkady.
Thekkady - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. In the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. With the animals of the wild and the simple mountain people. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life. Thekkady is on the border with state of Tamil Nadu , in fact just 5 kilometers from the border town of Kumily which is very well connected by bus to both Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Notable among the denizens of Periyar are the tigers, the majestic Asiatic wild elephants and the distinctive Nilgiri langur. Other animals include the wild boar, wild dog, bison, bear and leopards. Amongst the avifauna, the most profuse are herons, egrets, darters, kingfishers and the great Malabar grey hornbill. A cruise through the waters of Periyar lake around which the wild -life sanctuary is situated, offers a soul - stirring pleasant experience.
Places to Visit in and around Thekkady
Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar remains the large herds of wild elephants that come down to the lake's edge.
The sanctuary watch towers
There are three watch towers for observing wild life - at Edappalayam and Manakkavala and Thannikudi. Reservations can be made at the Forest information Counter, Thekkady. Tel. : +91-486-322028.
Kumily (4 km from Thekkady)
This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is an important shopping centre and spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region is in Kumily.
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady)
Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi ( 5 km from Kumily)
This picturesque place is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu State border is a popular picnic spot. Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
Mangala Devi Temple ( 15 km from Thekkady)
This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 M above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the other side of the ghats and the vast plains of Tamil Nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at Thekkady. Tel. : 91-486-322027.
Chellarkovil ( 15 km from Kumily)
This sleepy little village with its spectacular view of the plains (and cascading waterfalls during the monsoons) is a feast for your eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Kambam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Vandiperiyar ( 18 km from Thekkady)
The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.
Vandanmedu ( 25 km from Kumily)
This is one of the world's largest auction centres for Cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantaions of Vandanmedu is a pleasent experience.
Pullumedu ( 43 km from Thekkady, 26 km from Periyar)
The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar river, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed from a jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Joythi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Tel.+ 91-486-322027 or The Range Officer, Vallakkadavu Tel. :+ 91-486-352515.
IN AND AROUND PEERMEDE
A place for adventure tourism and trekking, or even langourous, tranquil break. This picturesque plantation town washed in the fragrance of cardamom is surrounded by lush-green, gentle hills.
Thrissanku Hills ( 4 km from Peermedue, 1/2 km from Kuttikanam)
The rolling hills the lovely landscape and the gentle breeze make this an ideal spot for long walks. The hills offer a breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset.
Peeru Hills ( 4 km from Peermede; 1 km from Kuttikanam)
This idyllic hill station is a favourite haunt of trekkers and picnic teams. The hill is named after Peer Mohammed. the Muslim sufi saint, who spent his last days here. The masoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the royal family and the residence of the Diwan situated nearby are all worth a visit.
Grampi : ( 5 km from Peermede ; 10 km from Vandiperiyar)
Grampi is also known as Parunthupara (eagle rock) because of the panoramic view from its high peaks. Rocky plains, lush hillsides, forests trekking trails and picturesque views lend charm to this destination. The road to Grampi is flanked by unending stretches of cardamom, tea and coffee plantations.
Pattumala ( 17 km east of Peermede; 28 km west of Thekkady)
Lofty peaks little streams and ever expanding tea plantations are the attractions of this place. Pattumala (which literally means hill draped in silk) is home to the two most famous tea plantations in Kerala - Harrision Malayalam and A V Thomas & Co. The Velamkanni Matha Church, built entirely of granite, at the top of the hill is a famous pilgrim centre. The flower garden nearby is a facinating riot of colours of roses, orchids and anthurium.
Vagamon ( 25 km from Peermede)
Grass covered hills, velvet lawns and the cool mountain air make Vagamon a perfect holiday retreat. A curious blend of religious mysticism and European legacies, this hillside village is haven of tranquility. The chain of three hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala is a mark of religious harmony. The dairy farm managed by the Kurisumala monks is worth a visit.
Sahyadri Ayurvedic Centre
A well established Ayurvedic Hospital Sahyadri, managed by the Peermede Development Society in Pallikunnu,is well known for its curative and rejuvenating treatment packages. The centre has well appointed treatment and accomodation facilities, a unit for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines and a well maintained raw drugs museum where more than 200 varieties of rare and endangered herbs are preserved. More than 400 herbs used for medicines are grown in the hospital's own herbal-garden spread over 35 acres. For permission to visit the herb garden , contact The Director - Peermede Development Society, Peermede, Idukki Tel. : +91-486-332097, 332247 Fax : +91-486-332096