Periyar literally means ‘big river’ and is the name of the largest river in Kerala. This is the most important river for Kerala with respect to water supply, hydroelectric energy and support to the natural ecology around it. The river originates in the Western Ghats on the state border of Tamil

Nadu to the east and most of its water flows westward into Kerala.

The Periyar Tiger Reserve and the Periyar National Park, both are located in Thekkady, in the Cardamom Hills, which lie collectively in the Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts of Kerala. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary includes the Tiger and Elephant reserves and has an area of almost 357 sq miles or 925 sq kilometers. The region is one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, in the Western Ghats and is home to a high concentration of endangered and endemic species of plants, mammals, reptiles and insects. The Periyar region is famous for being the origin of the Periyar and the sacred Pembu Rivers and is at an average height of 1000 meters from the lea level. The highest point in Periyar is the Kottamalai Peak at 2019 meters from the sea level. This region is famous for its untouched evergreen forests and protected wildlife and these same forests are known for various spices that grow here in the wild. The Sanctuary and the National Park is now gaining momentum as the eco-tourism and nature trekking destinations in south India.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

  • March – May is Summer and a time of dry tropical heat. Average temperature ranges from 170 C to 310 C, which is good for outdoor sightseeing to the nearby spice plantations.
  • June – September is the Monsoon when it rains a 3000 mm as an average. The rains are heavy with high humidity and the temperatures are quite cool.
  • October – February is Winter and the temperatures are pleasant, between 100 C to 210 C.

The winter (November – February) is the best time to visit Periyar and neighboring destinations; although summer is an option for many.

Attractions of Periyar

The Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

This national park and sanctuary is the central attraction in Thekkady. The sanctuary is a vast area of forests and hills around the artificial Periyar Lake that is spread in an area of over 50 sq km, which counts to around 3.5 percent of the protected area. The major attractions are the wildlife safaris, nature treks in the national park and Elephant and Tiger reserves in the sanctuary. It is popular among the birdwatchers, flora enthusiasts, adventurers and nature lovers in general. The Periyar region is a one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world that is home to many indigenous species that do not exist anywhere else. Boat rides in the Periyar Lake is major activity for tourists in the Sanctuary, another variation of the boat ride is the wooden rafting on the same lake is available for guests that are more adventurous, and these rides are the best way to explore the national park.


It is the town just outside the Periyar national park and is a major spice market since over a hundred years. The town is home to many resorts that are comfortable camps for tourists, complete with all the modern facilities.


This is also a major spice destination in the Cardamom hills with many spice gardens for tourists to visit. Another attraction here is the Sabarimala temple close to here.


This town is only 5 km off Thekkady and has several coffee and spice plantations.

Get In

By Air

Nearest airport is the Madurai international airport in the state of Tamil Nadu at a distance of 114 kilometers from Thekkady. The Cochin (Calicut) international airport is at 185 km and the Thiruvanathapuram international airport at 257 kilometers. There is no airport or landing strip in Thekkady or Periayar region and the region is only accessible by road.

By Railway

The nearest railway station is at a distance of 114 kilometers in the town of Kottayam and is connected to all the major cities in Kerala by regular trains.

By Road

The roadways connect the Thekkady and Periyar areas to most of the major cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Bus services of the state of Kerala connect this region to the rest of the state with good service.

Get Around

The area of Thekkudy and the Periyar national park do not have the conventional transport systems and rickshaws, taxis and buses are not available. While the town of Thekkudy is small and walking around is easy and that the National park is best explored with the boat and raft rides or the safaris and nature walks or all of these options, it is better to hire a vehicle with a driver in one of the big cities along the way, for convenience.

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