Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary located close to the border of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is the largest wildlife sanctuaries of India set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats. The Periyar Widlife Reserve is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, surrounded by an artificial lake over an area of 25 Sq.Kms. The 120 years old 'Surki' dam built across Peryiar, Poorna in Vedic parlance, is a major tourist attraction.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. As per research 46 tigers are said to abound in this reserve today. Apart from elephants, the other animals to be seen in this reserve are Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog and very rarely, a Tiger.

There are 62 species of mammals which include apart from the tiger such endangered species as the Nilgiri Langur, Lion Tailed Macaque, Slender Loris, Nilgiri Tahr, Mouse Deer, small Travancore flying squirrel, brown palm civet and elephant. The wide variety of habitats in Periyar supports a rich bird life of over 314 species, of which a third are winter migrants that stay here from September through March. Birds like the Oriental Darter and Great Cormorant nest on the tree stumps standing in the lake. Several Western Ghat endemic species such as Blue Winged Parakeet, Wayanad Laughing Thrush, Rufous Babbler, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, and Small Sunbird are found here. The endangered great pied hornbill has a sizeable population in Periyar.

There are 43 species of reptiles including the monitor lizard, fresh water tortoise and several poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Over 16 amphibian species have been recorded in Periyar which include the Malabar Tree Frog and the ubiquitous Rana Curtipes found in the lake vicinity.

The fish fauna include 38 species of which the Mahseer, Tor khudri is famous as a game fish. The three species Lepidopygopsis Typus, Crossocheilis Periyarensis, Puntius Micropogan Periyarensis are endemic to Periyar.

The best time to visit animals is during the months of March, April and May. Periyar, Thekkady offers facilities for Trekking, elephant riding and boating. Boating through the Placid Lake provides a rare opportunity to watch wild animals at close quarters. Boat cruises on the lake are the best way to explore the park. There are boat services, which will take you around the lake. You can also indulge in trekking and elephant rides in the sanctuary. Periyar National Park and the tiger reserve also rated as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India for wildlife photography.