Periyar / Thekkady Tour
|Location||Idukki district, Kerala|
|Main Attractions||Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Lake, Spice plantation and tea gardens|
|Languages Spoken||Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English|
|Best Time To Visit||September to May|
Periyar, best known for its Wildlife, is a must - see for all visitors to Kerala. One can view the animals in their natural surroundings while cruising on the lake. Periyar River is the second longest river in the state of Kerala with a length of 244 km. During its journey to Arabian Sea at Cochin the river is augmented with minor tributaries like Muthayar, Perunthuaiar, Chinnar, Cheruthony, Katappanayar and Edamalayar.
Also known as Thekkady, Periyar is nestled in the high ranges of the Western Ghats in Kerala. Its pristine natural beauty and attractions will surely leave you enchanted. It is also famous for its tea, coffee and spice plantations.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady is located on the banks of the Periyar Lake - an artificial lake about 4 km from Kumili in Idukki district, central Kerala. It is clothed in dense evergreen and moist deciduous forest. In this thick green roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques, nilgiri langurs, wild boar, spotted deer, lion-tailed Macaque monkey, Malabar squirrel and the 'flying foxes' (bats).
This sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarter. In Periyar Tiger Reserve 49 species of mammals, 265 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, 35 species of fishes and 160 species of butterflies are identified. Herds of elephant, sambar, gaur and wild pigs wander down to the lake side. Among the usual species found at Periyar are the flying lizard and the flying snake. With wings of orange and yellow, the flying lizard is seen as it glides from one tree to the other.
The loud calls of hornbills are distinctive amid the jungle. The great Malabar hornbill and grey hornbills are seldom seen flapping their ponderous way between trees. The park is the nucleus of the Tiger Reserve. Its main prey is Sambar. The other prey animals of the tiger are the Indian bison and the wild boar. Cattle in the fringe area also form an important prey base.
Boat Cruise in the Periyar Lake is the best way to see the wildlife in the park. Herds of elephants come often to the lake for water. Hence the lake becomes a prime site for animal watching. The tourists get immense pleasure to view the wildlife while on a boat. One can see some rare species of bird that frequently visit Periyar, these include the Ceylon frog-mouth, and rose billed roller, Osprey and Ratchet - tailed Durango.
One can enjoy a bewildering boat ride on the Pamba River, which flows on the Western side of the reserve. Get into one of those motor boats and take a stroll during the day and one can see the Malabar giant squirrel, Nilgiri Langurs and the great Indian elephants.
Spice Plantation and Tea Garden
Visit the sprawling spice gardens and tea gardens in Periyar amidst the Eucalyptus trees. While on spice tour in Periyar, wake up for the first time to the call of fragrances. Spice tour of Periyar is the best way to explore the land known for its different aroma of spices. One can find people letting out all kind of yell just to reciprocate the echo getting reflected from surrounding hills. Visitors can see clusters of black pepper plants grown at home by the villagers residing by the road. Stretches of cardamom plantation are found for several kms. Cinnamon and clove vegetations present a dotting the landscape.
The tea plantations are a brilliant shade of green and are terraced on the hillsides, as if you could bounce from plant to plant. It's really a breathtaking sight.
Kathakali Dance Show
Kathakali is one of the main dance forms of India. It is generally displayed in the form of ballet or dance-drama. Ideally, Kathakali insinuates the depiction of a story in the manner of a play. This form of ballet has originated from a feud between two royal families. Whereas one of them showcased the dance-drama in Sanskrit, circling the life of Lord Krishna (Krishnattam), the other ruler depicted the life of Lord Rama through his ballet (Ramattam).
Thus Kathakali is supposed to be the fusion of both the styles along with poetic transcriptions in Sanskrit blend with Malayalam. The performance is actually the dramatized presentation of a play.
Conventionally, Kathakali is performed solely by male dancers, who make use of detailed and extremely stylized make-up and attires to portray epic characters from the Ramrayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. Most Kathakali characters wear towering headgear, billowing skirts and abundant ornaments. Conventionally the dance was performed in the temple grounds and kept going throughout the night. Usually, two vocalists sing the story complementing the Chenda (drum), cymbals and a gong, which the dancers recite through well defined actions and mudras or hand gestures, without being vocal at all.
How To Reach
By Air: The nearest airports from Munnar are Madurai (140 km) and Cohin (200 km).
By Rail: Located at a distance of 177 km from Periyar, Kattayam is the nearest railway station from Munnar.
By Road: Periyar is well connected to the main cities of Kerala by road.
There is no dearth of accommodation options in Periyar. A variety of hotels ranging from traditional to modern, all types of hotels are available here.
Scan the bustling bazaars of Periyar for its famous handicrafts such as traditional jewellery and silk saris.