October 2008
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Thekkady in Kerala, India – Home to the Periyar elephant sanctuary

State: Kerala
City: Kumily (near Thekkady)
Airports: Nearest airport at Madurai
Distance from Madurai: 140 Km/90 Miles
Railway Junctions: Kottayam
Local Language: Malayalam
Best time to visit: September-March

Thekkady (Idukki District) is the place closest to the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in Kerala state, India, close to the Kerala -Tamil Nadu border town Kumily, located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semievergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs. It is most famous for a lake, and for its wild elephants, and is overall a great place to visit.

Map to Thekkady from MapmyIndia:

Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of the famous Wildlife Sanctuaries in India, spread across 777 Sq. Kms out of which 360 Sq. Kms is thick forest, is one of the best places for viewing wild elephants. There is a 26 Sq. Km. artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river. A boat cruise on the lake is a great way to watch the wildlife.

Things to do and places to see:

Periyar National Park: National Park is open from morning 0600 hrs to 1800 hrs daily. Boating is the only way to view the wildlife in Periyar National Park.

Boating Timing: From 07:00 hrs to 11:00 hrs
From 14:00 hrs. to 16:00hrs.

In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph herds of wild elephants at close quarters.

Trekking is another wonderful way to view the wildlife from close quarters. Early morning trekking to the jungles is possible, and it is most beneficial if if you carry your trekking boots and gear. 4 days trekking into the Periyar jungles with overnight tent camping is also possible.
If you are a one day tourist all you can do is, take the sight seeing trip by boat offered by the forest department and probably squeeze in a hurried walk in the forest accompanied by a forest guide.

Kurisumala: This place offers a great panoramic view of Kumily town and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kumily: This plantation town (4 km from Thekkady), is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. An important shopping centre ans spice trade centre, the main bus station and most of the medium range accommodation in the Periyar region are in Kumily

Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily): This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. 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 oeak 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 eastern slopes of the Ghats and some hill villages of Tamil nadu. Permission to visit the area can be abtained from the Wildlife Wadren, Thekkady; don’t try to visit without getting permission.

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 Garden have a delightful array of roses, orchids and anthuria.

Ramakalmedu (40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar): Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hills top also offers a Panoramic view of picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the Eastern slop of the western ghats.

Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady): Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.

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.

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.

How to reach:
The nearest airport is Cochin, which is 192 kms [5 hrs drive] away.
Nearest Rail head is Kottayam which is approx. 120 kms away.
Thekkady is well connected by road.

Places to stay in Thekkady:
Highrange Residency
Michaels Inn
Taj Garden Retreat
Hotel Tree Top
Hotel Revathy Internation
Cardamom County
Carmelia Heaven
Silver Crest
Peryiar House
Arnya Niwas (site)
Lake Palace (site)
Hotel Ambaday
Spice village
Green Berg Holidays
Periyar Villa
Eletaria Resort
Thrisangu, Kuttikkanam – Near Thekkady
Hotel Mount Sinai
The Wilder Nest
Hotel Sithara International
Woodlands Prime Castle
Hotel Ambady
Hotel Regent Tower
Kumily Gate

External articles on Thekkady:
1. Blog on a trip to Thekkady (link)
2. Blog with a couple of photos (link)
3. Beautiful photo on Flickr of bird eyeing Papaya (link)
4. Blog article on trip to Thekkady (link)
5. Travelpod article + Photos (link)
6. Article on Ghumakkar.com on Thekkady (link)
7. Walk in Thekkady (link)
8. Visit to Thekkady and Munnar with photos (link)

Photos of Thekkady on Flickr (click on the link):
Periyar wildlife sanctuary, Tree stump emerging from lake in Periyar, Photo of Darter or Snake Bird, On the lake in Periyar Sanctuary, Buffaloes coming to drink in Periyar, Elephants near the water in Periyar sanctuary, Beautiful sunset through forest in Thekkady, Boat Station,Thekkady

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