Periyar National ParkPeriyar National Park, officially called as Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and often called as PNP, is one of the important protected areas located in Idukki district and Pathanamthitta district in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. The Periyar National Park is long-familiar as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve.
The Periyar National Park sprawls over an area of 925 sq.km., (357.14 sq mi). During the year 1982, out of the total area of the national park, about 350 sq.km., (135.13 sq mi) of the core zone was announced as the Periyar National Park. Occasionally dubbed as the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the national park is situated high in the Cardamom Hills (2,800 sq.km., of hilly terrain) and Pandalam Hills of the southern Western Ghats mountain ranges along the boundary line with the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Did you know?
India is home to 70% of Tigers in the world and there are 47 tiger reserves in India, regulated by Project Tiger which is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority
The Periyar National Park (9°28'N 77°10'E) is just 4 km away from the largest Grama Panchayat of Kerala, Kumily, 110 km from the temple town of Madurai, 100 km from the land of lakes, Kottayam and 120 km from the port city of Cochin. Being one of the most frequented national parks in the country, the Periyar National Park is nothing short of a motleyed treasure trove of exuberant flora and not-widely-found fauna.
History of Periyar Tiger Reserve
It all started during the year 1934, when the Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma considered serious measures towards conserving wildlife and biodiversity in the southwestern state of Kerala.
The Maharaja of Travancore declared the woodlands around the Periyar lake as a private game reserve (areas of land earmarked for the preservation and careful management of the environment and of wild animals) to contain the trespass of tea plantations. It was officially launched as Nellikkampatty Game Reserve. Subsequently, it was amalgamated as a wildlife sanctuary during the year 1950.
Flora in Periyar National Park
Today, the national park is comprised of tropical evergreen and dampish deciduous woods, the land where grass or grass like vegetation is the dominant form of flora, march of tree of the genus Eucalyptus and the watercourse system primarily formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with this physical environment. Furthermore, the national park is the home of hundreds of flowering plant (angiosperm) taxonomic category, including about 140 varieties of orchidaceous plants and 171 species of grass.
The woodlands in the reserve contain tamarind tree, sandalwoods, teak (Tectona grandis), sacred fig (Ficus religiosa), terminalias, Brazilian rosewood, mangoes, banyan tree, peacock flower, genus Plumeria, kino tree (Pterocarpus marsupium), rosewood tree, bamboos, and the only South Indian coniferous tree, Nageia wallichiana. The medicinal Gloriosa superba (gloriosa lily) grows in the national park in abundance. The indigenous plant life of the Periyar National Park include Syzygium periyarensis and Habenaria periyarensis (orchidaceous plant). The wildlife facility is environed by agrarian areas, particularly coffee and tea plantations and cardamom and so on.
Fauna in Periyar National ParkMammals
About 35 species of mammals await to receive people who visit the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. The fiercest of these mammals, beyond any doubt, is the Tiger. It has to be told that the wildlife facility welcomes considerable share of visitors who step into the park only to have a glimpse at the royal creature! About, 40 Bengal tigers were numbered across the park (24 Bengal tigers in 2008).
The increase in the number of tigers in the facility is absolutely commendable. After all, tigers in Periyar (also known as Thekkady) remain the key attraction! Apart from being an important tiger reserve, the Periyar National Park is also a notable reserve for the largest land-dwelling animal on planet, elephant. Periyar is the home of close to 1,000 elephants.
Some of the other mammals of the park include sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) , wild boar, Indian giant squirrel aka Malabar giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), Travancore flying squirrel aka small flying squirrel (Petinomys fuscocapillus), jungle cat (Felis chaus), sloth bear aka labiated bear/Stickney bear, gaur aka Indian bison, Nilgiri tahr aka Nilgiri ibex (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), lion-tailed macaque aka wanderoo (Macaca silenus), Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii), Salim Ali's fruit bat - a rare megabat species (Latidens salimalii), stripe-necked mongoose (Herpestes vitticollis), and Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) - the only species of marten cat found in all of southern India.
Including migratory birds, more than 250 species of birds are found in the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of the most popular indigenous birds include the Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) - large pigeon found in the dampish deciduous woods, blue-winged parakeet aka Malabar parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Nilgiri flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudatus), crimson-backed sunbird aka small sunbird (Leptocoma minima), and white-bellied blue flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) - a small passerine bird.
Other birds of the park include the black baza (Aviceda leuphotes) - a small sized raptor, spot-bellied eagle-owl aka forest eagle-owl (Bubo nipalensis), Nilgiri thrush (Zoothera dauma) aka scaly thrush, little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra), rufous-bellied hawk-eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii), red-backed sea-eagle aka brahminy kite (Haliastur indus), great hornbill aka great pied hornbill/great Indian hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Ceylon frogmouth aka Sri Lanka frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Indian darter aka Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), and black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus).
The reptile population of the Periyar National Park is also commendable with around 45 species counted. Among these, a majority of reptiles are snakes. Other reptiles include lizards and tutles. The wide ranging snakes found in the park include king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), rock viper aka Malabar pit viper (Trimeresurus malabaricus) and striped coral snake aka black coral snake (Calliophis nigriscens).
Amphibians (cold-blooded vertebrates typically living on land but breeding in water) in the Periyar National Park include Malabar flying frog aka Malabar gliding frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus), Asian common toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), fungoid frog aka Malabar Hills frog (Hylarana malabarica) and Malabar frog (Clinotarsus curtipes) - a bicolored frog.
A perfect stop for butterfly lovers as the Periyar National Park has about 160 varieties of butterflies and moths. Some of the notable butterfly types include common lime butterfly aka Papilio demoleus (Papilio demoleus), Malabar tree nymph (Idea malabarica) - a large butterfly variety and Tranvancore Evening Brown (Parantirrhoea marshalli) - indigenous to the Western Ghats mountain ranges.
The park is the home to about 40 different species of fish. Out of these fishes, four fish types are indigenous to the Western Ghats mountain ranges. Some of the popular species of fish found here include Periyar trout (Hypselobarbus periyarensis) - indigenous to Periyar Lake, Periyar latia (Crossocheilus periyarensis), channa barb (Puntius ophicephalus) and Travancore loach aka Peninsular hilltrout - endemic to Periyar River and Periyar Lake.
Things to Do in Periyar National Park
At Periyar National Park, visitors can enjoy a wide range of means to enchant the wilderness. The handiness of Jeep Safari, elephant safari, and most fascinating boat cruises on Periyar Lake will make the overall experience a rewarding one! Get to know more about the boat cruise below:
One of the best ways to explore the true beauty and wilderness of the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, boat cruises through the Periyar Lake is nothing short of howling experience.
Spotting the wild animals, say a majestic parade of elephants or a herd of sambar deer or a sounder of wild boars along the edge of the lake is genuinely a memorable experience.
Boat Cruise Tip:
In order to maximize the probabilities of spotting wild animals during the cruise, it is best that visitors can book the morning slots.
Boat Cruise Timings:
Duration: 2-hours Cruise
0730 hours to 0930 hours
0930 hours to 1130 hours
1145 hours to 1345 hours
1345 hours to 1530 hours
Boat cruise tickets can be booked at Kerala tourism office or at the dedicated boat cruise ticket counters at the park
Rs. 40 per adult
Rs. 25 for Digital / Still Camera
Rs. 200 for Camcorder
Preferable Seating Option:
Upper Deck Seats
Other Things to do Options at Periyar National Park:Guided Nature Walks (Duration: 3 hours)
Slots: 0700 hours to 1000 hours and 1400 hours to 1700 hours
Border Hike and Bamboo Rafting Trip
Slot: 0800 hours to 1700 hours
Periyar Tiger Trail Treks
Fee: Rs. 5,500 (for one night) & Rs. 7,500 (for two nights)
Elephant Safari (Duration: 30 minutes)
Starts at 6:00 AM
Tidbits - Periyar National Park and Wildlife SanctuaryBest Time to Visit:
October to June
0600 hours to 1900 hours (All days of the week)
Tickets are sold only after 6:30 AM
Mandatory to leave the wildlife facility by 5:30 PM
Rs. 33 per head (for Indians) & Rs. 5 (for children)
Rs. 450 per head (for foreign nationals) & Rs. 155 (for children)
Rs. 38 (for still camera)
Rs. 300 (for video camera)
How to Reach?
Air - Nearest Airports
Cochin International Airport (IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCI) - 160 km
Madurai Airport (IATA: IXM, ICAO: VOMD) - 205 km
Trivandrum International Airport (IATA: TRV, ICAO: VOTV) - 265 km
Calicut International Airport (IATA: CCJ, ICAO: VOCL) - 315 km
Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA, ICAO: VOMM) - 570 km
Rail - Nearest Railway Stations
Kottayam Railway Station (KTYM) - 114 km
Changanassery Railway Station (CGY) - 114 km
Ernakulam Junction Railway Station (ERS) - 160 km
Madurai Junction Railway Station (MDU) - 195 km
Theni Railway Station (TENI) - 60 km
Road - Nearest Bus Stand
Kumily - the nearest place from Periyar National Park that is well served by regular buses from Kottayam, Cochin and Madurai (Tamil Nadu)
Popular Hotels near Periyar National Park
KTDC Periyar House, Thekkady
KTDC Aranya Nivas, Thekkady
Hotel Tigers Roare', Near Entrance Gate, Thekkady
Periyar Nest Resorts, Rosappukandam, Thekkady
The Elephant Court, Thekkady
Sterling Holidays Woods n Spice, Thekkady
Spice Village, Kumily - Thekkady Road
Jungle Park Resorts, Lake Road
Cardamom County, Thekkady Road
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