Thekkady is king of jungles. The drumming calls of Nilgiri langur, probably a coded message to the denizens of the forest to be alert and careful, will greet the visitors who enter the forests. Moving further, barking deers, a characteristic alarm signal to the inmate species, may shake the visitors. Amongst Thekkady’s worthy inhabitants, there is an exclusive charm in watching the majestic tuskers and the bright-eyed tigers in their exclusive kingdom. It is meaningless to think of returning without a sweet brush with animals. That is fun.
It is mandatory to have a guide. Most of the guides are poachers turned. The poachers were roped in as protectors as part of eco-tourism and rehabilitation. The sprawling Periyar Tiger Reserve, in an area of 777 sq km, is rated as one of the 18 hot spots in the world in bio-diversity. Its tropical rain forests present world’s most ancient and complex environments. Home to elephants, tigers, leopards, deers, gaurs, antelopes, variety of reptiles and birds of numerous species. The location is ideal and adaptive. Amidst mountain ranges, valleys, lakes and rivers – superb dramatic settings. The largest sanctuary in the State, it is in the south end of Western Ghats with splendid cardamom hills, in an altitude upto 6000 ft. The boathouse is the starting point. Just 2 km from the entry gate. Eco-tourism centre is near the boathouse. Booking is to be made here for guide, treks, boat rides and other activities.
350 sq km core area is declared as National Park. The Pamba river flows through the west side.
The sanctuary’s forests fall in three categories – evergreen, grassland and moist deciduous. Each forest is the haven of specific species. The plant species include teak, rosewood, bamboo and orchids.