Wildlife has always been a fascination for humans. But most of our experience with wildlife is limited to TV channels, books and Zoo. Thekkady is an exception to this. This is the only place where you can watch wild animals in close quarters in the safety of a boat.
You can see large herd of elephants playing in the lake, tigers and so many other animals and birds all at once which is not seen in any other places. Thekkady also called as ‘The city of Spices’ is a truly enchanting land with serene countryside, long unending chain of hills and spice scented plantations.
This picturesque place is located in highlands of Idukki district in Kerala. The aroma of spices covers the whole city. Thekkady is a place with so many surprises. The clear waterfalls and scenic spots dotted amidst the greenery of the place is marvellous.
The splendid man made lake in Thekkady is another wonder you can't miss out. Explore the lake completely by taking a boat ride. Cardamom hill, the mountainous hills in Kerala which produces cardamom is a unique attraction of Thekkady.
The natural beauty and calmness keep this place close to your heart. Thekkady also offers adventure tourism and trekking.
Thekkady: Places to Visit & Things to Do
1. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across an area of 777 square km is one of the most sought after destination in Thekkady. Of the 777 square km, 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest. The diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty draws thousands of tourists from different part of the world.
The Periyar Forest of Thekkady holds the finest wildlife reserves in India. You can watch wildlife in close quarters from the safety of boat.This is the only place in India offering such a facility.
The view of elephants playing in the lake, Tigers lazing around and drinking water in the lake and many other animals and birds in here is a delight for all. The sanctuary is home to an amazing richness of wildlife, and is considered one of the finest in the country for observing and photographing animal life, especially the wild Asiatic elephant.
Besides the tiger and elephant, the rare lion-tailed macaque, sambar deer, the elusive leopard, wild boar and guar, the largest wild cattle, flourish in the recesses of the jungles. Also the forest is rich with local and migratory birds, reptiles, and many plant species.
2. Mangala Devi Temple
The panoramic view of ancient Mangala Devi temple perched on the hillock is wonderful. The temple located 15 km away from Thekkady is built in the Pandian style of Kerala architecture.
The Architectural beauty of this quaint temple stands in the dense forest at the top of a peak about 1337 m above sea level and is on the fringe of the Tamil Nadu-Kerala boundary.
Prayers are conducted only once in a year on Chaitra Purnima, the full moon day in the month of April-May. On this holy day, the temple hums with activity as devotees flock here in large numbers. This place of worship worth a visit with its soothing ambiance.
3. The Sanctuary Watch Towers
The Watch Tower is another important tourist spot to visit within the park. There are three watch towers for observing wildlife - at Edapalayam, Manakavalai and Thanni Kudi. One can enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding areas from here.
The tower is maintained by the Forest Department and it is one of the best places to witness the animals, as the tower overlooks water holes in buffer zone. It's better to wear proper boots and outfits to avoid scars and insect bites.
Located at a distance of just 5 kilometres from Thekkady, Murikkady is a must watch place. Murikkady is particularly famous for its panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Sandwiched between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border Pandikuzhi makes an important excursion point for every tourists visiting Thekkady. Here one can watch picturesque spectrum of nature’s flora, fauna and pure white streams.
A considerable number of visitors come to this place every year. Being an ideal picnic, trekking, and photographic spot, this is a perfect weekend getaway for the localities also.
6. Tribal Heritage Museum
There are five tribal communities live in the Periyar area. You can see their belongings in the Tribal Heritage Museum here during the Tribal Heritage Programme organised by the reserve. One can see traditional fishing gear, hunting implements and indigenous medicinal plants. This is an interesting as well as informative trip.
Places Around Thekkady
Thekkady the unspoilt beauty of nature is a blessed place worth a visit. There are also some other places in and around Thekkady which cannot be missed. They are Peermade, Kuttikkanam, Summer Palace of Travancore Maharajah's, Ayurvedic Factory, Sahyadri Organic Tea factory and Plantation.
Shopping in Thekkady
Thekkady, the heartland of spices you will get the best quality spices. You will get the best of fenugreek, white and green pepper, rolls of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, coriander, cloves and almost all spices. The shops sell the samples of all the spices in neat and transparent packets.
The one shopping centre in Thekkady is Kumily. You can buy some nice T shirts bearing the exclusive Periyar Tiger Reserve motifs of Tigers and elephants. You can purchase for some good souvenirs here.
Where To Stay in Thekkady
Being one of the favorite haunt of tourists there is some of the best staying options in Thekkady from Basic to Luxury. Thekkady also has some good resorts set inside the sanctuary. Aranya Nivas, Lake Palace and Periyar House located inside the forest, Taj Garden Retreat, Spice Village, Muthoot Cardamom County, Shalimar Spice Garden Resort and Jungle Village.
Also Hotel Tree Top, Green Woods, Hotel Kumily Gate, Hotel Lake Queen, Michael’s Inn, Ambadi, The Wildernest, Hotel SN International, Leela Pankaj Resort, Wildside Villa, Bamboo Grove Lodge, Mickey cottage and Periyar View Hotel outside the forest are some of the best staying options in Thekkady.