Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, is an example of nature’s bounty with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 925 km2. In this astounding location of Kerala, the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is considered as the most protected area for the elephants and the tigers. One of the most renowned national parks in South India, the Periyar National Park is set high at the Western Ghat ranges. is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though its a Tiger Reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the Periyar lake. Apart from Elephants, the other animals to be seen in the Periyar sanctuary are Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dole or Indian Wild Dog and very rarely, a Tiger.
The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. This sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants from close quarters. This lake is created with the construction of a dam in 1895. This lake strolls around the forested hills. For the local wildlife it is a lasting source of water. Though it is known across the region as a Tiger Reserve but visitors arrive here to see the playfulness of the Indian elephants while taking bath in the Periyar Lake.
The temperature varies depending upon the altitude and it ranges between 15 °Celsius in December and January and 31 °Celsius in April and May. During the monsoon (July-August), it ranges from 19°C to 21°C. Annual precipitation is between 2000 and 3000 mm, about two thirds occurring during the southwest monsoon between June to September. The best season to visit Periyar wildlife sanctuary is from the months of October and June, Elephants in search of water come out during summer months of March to June and hence, for best wildlife viewing.
The park is made up of tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests, grasslands, stands of eucalyptus, and lake and river ecosystems. The research followed 49 species of mammals, 246 species of birds, 28 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 22 species of fishes and 112 species of butterflies. In the central part of the park, Moist-deciduous forests and Woody grasslands abound. The floral attractions of the park are approximately 2000 species, The tall trees of the forest rise upto a height of 130 to 140 feet! Primates of Four species can be obtained in this park such as Common Langur, lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur and Bonnet Macaque. The medicinal gloriosa lily grows in the park. The endemic flora includes Habenaria periyarensis and Syzygium periyarensis.
Set amidst Cardamom and Pandalam hills of western ghats in Kerala, Periyar National Park is home to some of the most exotic fauna in the world. There are 35 species of mammals recorded in the park, including many threatened species. It is an important tiger and elephant reserve. The most ferocious of these, undoubtedly is the Tiger. Many tourists visit Periyar just in order to get a glimpse of the Tiger that according to estimates number between 35 and 50. It is valuable for Indian elephant and also for a few of white tigers found here. Other mammals include the gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali’s fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten. About 266 species of birds can be seen in the park, including Nilgiri wood pigeon, Blue-winged parakeet, Crimson-backed sunbird, Brahminy kite, white-bellied blue catcher, Malabar grey hornbill, Sri Lanka frogmouth, Rufous-bellied hawk eagle, Black baza and Spot-bellied eagle owl. A four-day survey was conducted on December 1–4, 2016, organised under the aegis of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) and found the presence of 13 new bird and 16 butterfly species that were undetected earlier. are about 40 species of fish in the local lakes and rivers include the Periyar latia, Periyar barb, Periyar trout, Channa barb and Travancore loach.
How To Reach :
By Air : Kochi (Cochin)(200-kms) or Madurai(140-kms) in Tamil Nadu is the nearest airports from Periyar.
By Train : Kottayam is the nearest railway station from Periyar National Park which is only 114 Kms. away. Other nearest railway stations are Changanassery (120 Kms.), Madurai: (135 Kms.) and Ernakulam (190 Kms ) etc.
By Road : Periyar National Park is well connected to Major Cities and Places by road network. There are a number of government and privately operated vehicles that go to Periyar National Park at frequent intervals.
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