Take a trip to Thekkady

Of the many scenic spots in God’s Own Country (Kerala, in case you hail from some other planet!), Thekkady is, perhaps, one of the most enchanting and mesmerizing. Nestled among lush forests in the Idukki district, bordering Tamil Nadu, it is a wild life sanctuary, located at a distance of 185 km from Cochin Internaitonal Airport.

Renowned for its dense evergreen and semi-evergreen deciduous forests and savanna grass lands, it is home to herds of elephants, sambar deer, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs, among many others. However, more than anything, Thekkady is prime elephant country, and large herds are often sighted at lake fringes.  

Best time to visit

The sanctuary is open throughout the year, but the best season to visit is from September to March. You might do well to avoid the monsoon season.

Places to see

There is so much to see in Thekkady that it would be best for you to draw up a plan before reaching here. Here’s a list of the Can’t-Miss spots:

Periyar National Park

This fascinating sanctuary is one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world, and the best-protected reserve of India. Spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve way back in 1978. One of the major attractions is the 24 sq km-artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across Periyar River.

Renowned for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, Periyar National Park attracts visitors from all over the world. Boat cruises, jeep safaris, elephant safaris, nature walks, trekking and hiking are just some of the activities that await you.

Vandanmedu

Vandanmedu is one of the world’s largest cardamom auction centres. It is about 28 km from Thekkady. You can browse through the place, breathing in the heady aroma of cardamom. Other than cardamom, there are tea, coffee, pepper and vanilla plantations as well, all of which are a sight to behold. Whichever way you look, you can see lush greenery.

Mangala Devi Temple

This ancient temple is situated at a distance of just 15 km from Thekkady. It is located deep in the dense woods at the top of a peak that is 1337 m above sea level.  It is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture.  Once you reach here, you can have a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. You can also sight some hill villages of Tamil Nadu.  You will, however, need permission from the Wildlife Warden of Thekkady to visit the area.

Pullumedu

This is a hill town about 43 km from Thekkady and 26 km from Periyar. The journey to Pullumedu itself is mesmerizing; you will be going along the Periyar River, and on the way, you will come across stunning views of rolling hills draped in lush greenery.  Rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of the place.

An added attraction of Pullumedu is that you get to sight the renowned Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illumination at the shrine. You will need permission from the Wildlife Preservation Officer of Thekkady to visit Pullumedu as it is part of the restricted forest zone.

Pandikuzhi

Pandikuzhi is a picturesque town, less than 10 km from Thekkady. Cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border, it is an idyllic picnic spot, with exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams. You can also go trekking and take great pictures.

The unending chains of hills, the spice-scented plantations, the packs of pachyderms, the invigorating air of the surroundings — Thekkady is a perfect amalgam of nature and adventure. Go, experience it for yourself.

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