Thekkady (Idukki district, Kerala, India) is the location of the Periyar National Park. Kumily (Idukki district) is the nearest town center to Thekkady.
Thekkady is enchanting as the road winds through tranquill countryside, rich plantations & thick jungles. The sanctuary, 60 km from Idukki, 190 km from Cochin and 114 km away from Kottayam is open throughout the year, but the best season for a visit is from September to March. The sanctuary is centered around the large (24 sq km) artificial lake formed by a dam across the Periyar river. It is one of the famous holiday destinations in India.
Kumily is 4 km away from Thekkady. Madurai to Kumily is around 120 km (approx 4 hours in state transport bus which are available at Madurai ). One can stay at Kumily as it offers good hotels, shopping market & restaurants.
Thekkady, better known as Tiger Reserve has a rich diversity of vertebrates. The diverse forest types, vayals, marshes, and a large aquatic habitat together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, and 38 species of fish.
The invertebrate fauna of Periyar is not well documented, though the predominant invertebrate orders are Protozoa, Annelida, Arthropoda and Mollusca. 160 butterfly species have been listed.
Among the 62 species of mammals, many are rare, endemic and endangered. Periyar is prime elephant country and large herds are often sighted at the lake fringes. There is an estimated population of 900-1000 animals which is likely to overlap with the population in the adjoining forest areas.
A much disproportionate sex ratio of the elephant is found in Periyar and adult tuskers are far too few. Gaur, among the largest of bovines, occurs in all types of habitats. Gaur have staged a remarkable comeback after their near demise due to a rinderpest outbreak in the 70s.
Sambar, the largest deer in India, are extensively distributed and constitute the principal prey base of tiger and wild dog. Wild pig has wide distribution throughout the park. Sometimes, these animals invade agricultural lands often leading to man-wildlife conflicts. Small relict populations of the highly endangered Nilgiri Tahr are found in the high altitude grasslands of Mangaladevi. Four of the five primate species found in the Western Ghats are well represented in Periyar. While the Nilgiri Langur enjoys a wide distribution in the moist forests, the highly endangered Lion Tailed Macaque are confined to the dense evergreen canopies. Malabar Giant Squirrel is common in the area. Though the presence of the endangered species, Small Travancore Flying Squirrel, is recorded from Periyar, the Large Flying Squirrel is more frequently seen.
Salim Ali’s fruit bat reported from Periyar adjoining the High Wavys. It is an endemic and endangered species, considered to be among the rarest of bats.
The Tiger is found in all types of habitats though their density is much less in the evergreen forests. Though sighting one is difficult because of the thick vegetation, evidences like pugmarks, clawings, and scats are located throughout the reserve. The population is estimated to be between 35–40.
The Striped-necked Mongoose is not uncommon, found in the semi-evergreen and evergreen forests.
Nilgiri Marten is an extremely rare and endemic mustellid, though recently sighted a number of times.
- Mangala Devi Temple. people are allowed to visit only once in a year during chitra pournami(hindu festival) and is situated 15kms inside the forest edit
- Vandanmedu. Vandanmedu is one of the world's largest cardamom auction centers. An excursion through the wide spread cardamom plantations at Vandanmedu is an intoxicating experience. edit
- Spring Valley Mountain, Kurisumala. From the top of this hillock, one can have a panoramic view of the lush green woods of Periyar Tiger Reserve, the beautiful Periyar Lake, surrounding Kumily township and of course adjoining Tamil Nadu borders. edit
- Plantations, (Murukady (6 km), Odamade (8 km), Vellaramkunnu (10 km)). Tea, Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper, Vanilla growing areas. A walk through the spice plantations of these areas can be a memorable experience. edit
- Chellarkovil, (15 km). This sleepy little village slops to the famous grapes, coconut, cotton and vegetable growing areas of Tamil Nadu. Abundant scenic beauty and a silver cascade add to the charm of the place. edit
- Pandikuzhi, (5 km). From its mountain top, one can enjoy the sleepy little village with its view of the plains. It is a feast for the eyes. edit
- Vandanmedu, (25 km). The fragrance of the cardamom permeates this town. It is one of the worlds largest auction centers of cardamom. edit
- Panchalimedu. It is considered to be the place where Pancha Pandavas lived during the exile forest life (Vanavasa Kalam in Mahabaratha epics). It is believed that Pancha Pandavas still hide there though nobody can see them, but they can see everybody. The tourist can see there are stones like furniture which are believed to be used by the Pandavas. edit
- Mount, (18 km). Velvet lawns and the cool pleasant non-polluted continuous breeze make the sojourn on the mount a memorable experience to the tourist. From its top one can enjoy the green beauty of the Periyar Tiger Reserve with the lake on the one side and vast tea plantations on the other side. edit
- Pullumadu. The rolling hills, velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna cascading the Holy Shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala and The Makara Jyothi illuminations are the main attractions of this place. edit
- Grampi, (24 km). Grampi is also known as Parunthupara. Because of the panoramic view from its high peaks, rocky plains and hillside it has become a tourist centre. edit
- Pattumala, (25 km). It can be called the home of tea plantations. The Velamkanni Church at the top of the Hill is a pilgrim center. edit
- Wagamon, (60 km). The cool mountain air, mist, grass-covered hills, velvet lawns etc amek Wagamon a perfect holiday resort. The chain of three hills Thangal Hills (Muslim name) Murugan Hills (Hindu name) and Kurisumala (Christian name) is a mark of religious harmony. edit
Different community based eco-tourism programs (http://www.periyartigerreserve.org/) offer an excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Different nature trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands.
- Nature Walk. The guided day trek. Different nature trails traversing diverse habitats form the trekking routes, generally 4 to 5 km in length. This is an interpretive programme offering excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. The programme is offered between 7AM and 10:30AM and between 2PM and 3PM and lasts for about 3 hours. A maximum of 5 persons can go for trekking at a time along each nature trail, accompanied by a trained tribal guide. The Nature walk is the right programme to feel nature, hear her whispers and smell her flowers. edit
- The Periyar Tiger Trail. The programme is unique in being conducted by a team of poachers who turned protectors of the forests. The team members are hardy and dependable with an intimate knowledge of the forest terrain. The programmes are 1 night/2 days and 2 nights/3 days. The first day’s trek starts at 12 noon and ends by noon in the second or third day. The team consists of a maximum of 5 visitors, 5 guides and 2 forest officials. Normally 20 to 35 km of trekking distance will be covered, depending on the route chosen. Here, one may chance to encounter much indigenous wildlife like Nilgiri langur, giant squirrel, elephant and who knows, even the tiger! The trek route passes through hills and valleys with a variety of tropical plants and wide-open spaces. Enroute vegetarian meals will be prepared and served and country tents will be pitched for holing up in the night. Trekking groups are accompanied by armed forest guards with good communication equipments, and geared to face any emergency situation. Remember to listen to unusual and strange adventure stories of the former poachers, now your guides and protectors of the forests. Preconditions for joining the tiger trail: Visitors who are medically fit and aged between 15 - 65 are advised to take the tiger trail. Visitors should be serious nature lovers willing to sacrifice some of the luxuries and comforts of a hotel. WARNING: Beware of certain tour operators for booking a tiger trail especially Mr. Sajimon Salim of Periyar Tiger Trail (http://www.periyartigertrail.in/) who appears to be a professional crook. He will ask for 100% advance payment at any cost, will not give any receipt, will be rude on asking for confirmation, at last minute will cancel the bookings and will not return any money. edit
- Bamboo Rafting. This is a dawn to dusk range hiking and rafting programme through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Starting at 8AM from the boat landing, a mosaic of habitats will be traversed before the party gets into rafts made of bamboos. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. The rafting is for about three hours and one gets a panoramic view of forest-clad hills reflected on the lake. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake. The team hitchhikes back to the boat landing by about 5PM. An armed guard and 4 guides will accompany a maximum of 10 tourists. Tea, snacks and packed lunch will be served enroute. edit
- Boating. Boat cruises on the Periyar Lake. Typical boat ride will be for one and half hour & cost INR 225 per adult and INR 50 per child. There is an extra charge of INR 38 to carry a camera on board the boat. The first ride of the day starts at 7:30am. There is a queue of cars to enter the National park the gates of which open at 6:00am. You will appreciate that getting to view wildlife is a matter of chance. edit
- Elephant rides, Anavachal Road, Thekkady, ☎ 04869-322444, 9447019726, . Elephant ride for 30 min (Cost approx INR 350). edit
- Plantation Tours, Various. Nr Thekkady & Kumily, lot spice plantations are present. Typically they will charge around INR 50 to 100 for showing you around plantation & explain you. edit
- Trekking. The endless rolling hills and mountains surrounding Thekkady offer very good opportunities of trekking to the adventure enthusiasts. The jungles and hills inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary are amongst the popular trekking trails in this region. Trekkers must obtain prior permission from the wildlife authorities and they are accompanied by a guide that will lead them safely through the Reservoir woods. Kurisamala to Kumily and Kumily to Pandikuzhi are some of the most favorite trekking routs and Pullumedu, Kurisumala, Ottakathalamedu and Grampi are noteworthy trekking bases in this area. Daily treks are organized by the Kerala Forest Department that begin from the boat landing station - Thekkady and lead to Nellikkampetty and Manakkavala. Making a way through Thekkady woods is really a thrilling and enchanting experience. edit
- Kathakali show (Kathakali show), Behind Periyar Medows, Kumily. 1. Fabulous show of Kathakali 150. edit
- Kalaripayattu (Martial Art of Kerala), Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, Kumily. Oldest of the martial arts edit
- Eco Shop, (Near entrance gate, Periyar Tiger Reserve), ☎ 04869-222382. Souvenirs, message T-shirts, post cards, WWF products, wildlife books etc. edit
- Eco Spices, (Near entrance gate, Periyar Tiger Reserve). Organic garden fresh spices like tea, coffee, vanilla, saffron, cardamom, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, nut maze, star anise, honey, cinnamon, ayurvedic oils and home made chocolates. edit
Vegetarian / Non Vegetarian Luxury Restaurant
Kunjar - Hotel Tigers Roar is a vegetarian & Non vegetarian restaurant located at Thekkady near periyar tiger reserve entrance gate. This is also one of the restaurants that offers food in different verity in a luxurious ambiance. Kunjar also offers a panoramic view to thekkady wildlife.
Vegetarian/ Vegan/ Jain Restaurants
Hotel Ariya Bhavan is a vegetarian restaurant located at Thekkady Kavala (Thekkady Junction) of Kumily. This is also one of the restaurants that offers affordable food in a decent, though not luxurious ambiance.
- Vedic Kitchen (Svaztha Ayurveda Retreat), Pathumuri Rd (Thekkady), ☎ 9446303902, . 8am-8pm. At Svaztha Ayurveda Retreat, one could eat enjoying true beauty of Mother Nature, sensing the aromas of natural herbs and spices abundantly seen just outside our dining hall with special authentic vegetarian food to suit the tastes and likes. edit
There are several categories of hotels in and around Thekkady. Apart from hotels, there are good cottages and home-stay rooms available. These are basically owned by residents who have decided to make some money by renovating a part of their house and renting it out to travellers. These rooms can be quite luxurious and will give you a homely feel. Kumily is 4 km from Thekkady, where lot of hotel, restaurants & shopping markets are present. Good place to stay during visiting Thekkady.
- Hotel Tigers Roar (Hotel Tigers Roar), Near Entrance Gate,Thekkady, Kumily,Pin-685536,Kerala,, ☎ +91 9496249999, . [Luxury hotel in thekkady]http://www.tigersroarperiyar.com/ - Hotel tigers Roar offers Honeymoon cottages, Budget rooms, luxury rooms, Jungle rooms with panoramic view. Luxury restaurant, Swiming pool. Also offers tourist activities in thekkady like jeep safari, elephant ride & boating edit
- Hotel Periyar Meadows, ☎ +91 9003668873, . Mid range hotel at budget rates. edit
- Hotel Ambadi, ☎ +91 9003668873, . This hotel is on the edge of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and offers comfortable stay at budget rate with 46 rooms across three categories, standard, deluxe, and suite. There is only a slight variation in the price tag of each. edit
- Carmelia Haven, ☎ +91 9443109664, . Offers rooms, cottages and tree house. edit
- Charles Premier Inn, Near Holiday Home, K.K Road Kumily, Idukki Kerala, India, 685509, ☎ +91 4869 222433. checkin: 1400 hrs; checkout: 1200 hrs. Charles Premier Inn, a new upmarket venture of Charles Inn Hotels, is a friendly Bed and Breakfast, offering excellent accommodation and professional service in a serene environment. edit
- Charles Inn, Thekkady Junction, K.K Road Kumily, Idukki Kerala, India, 685509, ☎ +91 9995198229. checkin: 1400 hrs; checkout: 1200 hrs. Charles Inn Hotels is a family run business, with over 30 years in Hospitality Business, is situated in Kumily near the picturesque Wild Life Reserve "Thekkady". edit
- Club Mahindra Thekkady Resort (Club Mahindra Thekkady Resort), Amalambika Road,Thekkady, Idukki District, Kerala - 685 536., ☎ 04869 222273, . Club Mahindra Thekkady Resort is this breathtakingly beautiful resort built at an altitude of 2,700 feet above the sea level. Embracing the typical ‘machan’ style, you can feel the essence of nature‘s glory in the air filled with the essence of rich spices and lush greenery. Thekkady may surely unleash the adventurous streak in you. (9.60320,77.17285) edit
- Mayapott Plantation Villa, Kadamakuzhy, thekkady-kattapana rd (15 Kms from Kumily Town on Thekkady- Kattapana Road via Anavilasam), ☎ +919847415670, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. Mayapott Thekkady is a boutique villa built on a rock in the natural ambiance of 130 acres of cardamom estate. This unique plantation hide-out features separate three fully furnished studio rooms (bed rooms) and one villa suite, common dining area and fire place, a tea lounge over the covered bridge amidst lush green cardamom plantation where privacy will be the password for nature lovers to relax, rejuvenate and refresh. A place to get lost in the world of dreams, romance and playful mischief! 6500-9500. edit
- Green Ark Resorts, Anakkara Chellarkovil Mettu Road, Chellarkovil, Thekkady, Kerala 685512, ☎ +91 9961313569, . Green Ark Resort is located in Chelvarkoil just 17 km from Thekaddy and is easily accessible with two international/domestic airports - Madurai Airport & Kochi International Airport. 2200. (9.667969,77.187994) edit
- Hornbill Homestay, Near kumily bus station (Contact Oosaka), ☎ 09446928242/09961219975. Double story house with friendly and helpful family living on ground floor. The 2nd floor has a separate entrance and is divided into 3 rooms (with bathrooms) for rent, a large salon and a kitchen. Includes TV and Wi-Fi. You drink your morning tea on the balcony and watch the monkeys and giant Malabar squirrels in the trees. Oosaka is also a representative of the eco-tour organization and can help with almost any inquiries. [email protected] edit
- Abad Green Forest, Opposite RC Church, Thekkady Junction, Kumaly, Kerala 685509, India, ☎ +91 484 4144000, . edit
- Niraamaya Cardamom Club, V&V Estates, Spring Valley, Kumily 685 509, Kerala, India, ☎ +91 48 6922 3905, . checkin: 1400 hrs; checkout: 1200 hrs. Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club Thekkady is an exclusive experience of living in a serene spice garden nestled in the mountains and wrapped in the cool embrace of a tropical rainforest. Spread amongst 8 acres of pristine cardamom plantations this truly boutique experience offers 6 independent cottages, Niraamaya’s acclaimed Spa with Western & Ayurveda rooms, Madira Bar and Samsara, an all day dining café. edit
- Painavu is the headquarters of the Idukki district.
- Kuttikanam (35 km) — a hill station, the place for the adventure tourism and trekking. The hotels of Kuttikanam keep you cool on sunny days. Generally the area is cool, often filled with mist
- Munnar (105km) — one of the major hill stations in South India, there are a number of other places to visit around. Most tourists will cover Munnar before or after Thekkady.
- Peermade (32 km) — Peermade is named after Peer Muhammed, the sufi saint who spent his last days here. The Mausoleum of the saint, the summer palace of the erstwhile Travancore Royal Dynasty and the residence of the Diwan are situated near by and all are worth visiting.
- Kumarakom in Vembanad Lake