Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Thekkady Entry Fee
- 45 per person for Indian Adult
- 15 per person for Indian Child
- 500 per person for Foreigner Adult
- 180 per person for Foreigner Child
- 38 for Still Camera
- 300 for Video Camera
- 150 for Boat Safari (Above 11 years age)
- 50 for Boat Safari (Below 11 years age)
- 5500 for Periyar Tiger Trail Treks (One night)
- 7500 for Periyar Tiger Trail Treks (2 nights)
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Thekkady Phone
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Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Thekkady Address: Kumily, Thekkady, Kerala, 685536, India
The south Indian state of Kerala is famous for its national parks, among other things. And Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary happens to be one of the largest in this state. Also known as PNP, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies this under category II, which is for national parks. This means that the protected area is used for conservation of the wild animals and plants, and is not just a sightseeing spot.
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is governed by the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department and sees an average annual footfall of hundreds of thousands of people. The national park borders the state lines of Tamil Nadu and enjoys its position on the southern part of the Western Ghats.
Periyar happens to be Kerala’s longest river, and along with Pamba, which is the third longest river in the state, it drains into this park. The national park and wildlife sanctuary is home to flora and fauna which are not only endangered but also endemic and rare.
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary Timings & Entry Fee
There are very few national parks in India which are open in all seasons, and Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary happens to be one of those few. While sightings vary in each season, the park lets tourists and naturalists in throughout the year during designated entry and exit times.
One can visit this national park on any day of the week between 6 AM and 7 PM. Sighting of birds is the best during sunrise and sunset. However, if you are on the search for the big cats, afternoons are the best. The wildlife sanctuary also opens for night safaris after 8 PM. This safari primarily aims to help one spot the elusive leopard, among other night animals and even nocturnal birds such as owls.
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary levies various fees depending on your nationality, age and gadgets that you carry. For Indian adults, the price is INR 45. For Indian children, it is INR 15 per head. Foreign adult nationals can enter by paying INR 500 whereas foreign children are charged INR 180 each.
If you carry a still camera, you will be charged INR 38, but for video cameras, the fee is INR 300. For better luck with sighting wild animals and identifying avifauna, it is recommended to bring along your binoculars. If you don’t have any, you can rent it from their office for INR 50, with an extra INR 100 as security deposit.
Apart from the regular entry fees, there are special safaris and treks which are available inside. They run a boat safari which is priced at INR 150 for those above the age of 11, and only INR 50 for those under 11 years of age.
The park also runs the adventurous Periyar Tiger Trails Trek which costs INR 5,500 per head per night. However, if you book this for two nights, it comes at a discounted price of INR 7,500 per person for the entire duration.
History Behind the Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1982, Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary’s history dates back to a time further back in the past. In 1899, the Periyar Lake Reserve was formed a few years after the construction of a masonry gravity dam, called the Mullaperiyar Dam, which was built over the Periyar River in 1895.
In 1934, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the then Maharaja of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore, earmarked the forested land around the Periyar Lake as private game reserve. This was done primarily to discourage encroachment of the area by tea plantation owners, who would ultimately clear the forest land to make tea gardens. Named Nellikkampatty Game Reserve, the forest saw its first conservation effort before India became independent.
Later in 1950, the land in Periyar was consolidated and declared a wildlife sanctuary after India became politically stable and autonomous. In 1978, Periyar was pronounced a tiger reserve, in an effort to preserve the tiger population in this part of Kerala. Finally, in 1982, the core area of the forest was notified as a national park, raising its status on the biodiversity and wildlife conservation yardstick.
In 1991, the national park received financial support for the conservation of its Asian Elephants under Project Elephant. The forest was later divided into Periyar East and Periyar West in 2001. The park saw an enlargement in 2007 when 148 square kilometers of the land of Goodrical Range was added to it. Again in 2012, the reserve received 148 square kilometers of the Ponnambalamedu evergreen forest.
Layout of Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
Straddling the Pandalam Hills and the Cardamom Hills or Yela Mala of the Western Ghats, this national park has the privilege of altitude. The park is bounded by Medaganam and Vellimalai in the north and the Kallimalai Peak in the east. To its west is a plateau at an altitude of 1,200 metres or 3,900 feet. In a sharp contrast, the Pamba River valley in the premises presents the lowest altitude at 100 metres.
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 925 square kilometres or 357 square miles. Of this sprawling protected area, 305 square kilometres or 118 square miles forms the Periyar National Park in the core zone. Most of the park has thickly wooded rolling hills which become quite steep at certain sections.
The Periyar Lake sits at the centre of the wildlife sanctuary, spanning an area of 26 square kilometres or 10 square miles. At 2,019 metres or 2,624 feet, the Kottamala Peak is the highest peak in the national park. Other important peaks inside the park are Karimala, Pachayarmala, Chokkampetti mala, Vellimala and Sunderamala.
Image Gallery of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Thekkady
Things to do at Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
One will hardly run out of things to see and do inside a national park as big as the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your exploration:
1. Wildlife enthusiasts can book themselves a safari tour either early in the morning (mainly for birding) when there is a lot of bird activity as the avifauna leave their nests in search of food or in the heat of the afternoon when tigers, elephants and other wild animals come out of their hiding and take a dip in the water to cool themselves down or to quench their thirst.
2. Night owls can book a night safari for sighting leopards, owls and other nocturnal animals which are not easily seen in the daytime.
3. The Periyar Lake in the middle of the national park runs a boating tour of one and a half hours, during which one can see a large portion of the park through a different perspective and also sight some animals which come to the lake for their daily water intake. Such sightings are best in the afternoon. Nevertheless, early morning boating allows one to sight a lot of water birds.
4. The park has more than 160 taxa of butterflies which include the swallowtail southern birdwing, the largest butterfly in all of India. Other interesting butterflies include the threatened Travancore evening brown, the Malabar tree nymph and lime butterfly.
5. One can also find other types of insects here, such as the Asian emerald dragonfly, which is only one of 85 species of odonata spotted here. You can also see the endemic saturniid Atlas moth here, which is one of the different types of moth inside the national park.
6. Amphibian fanatics can look forward to sightings of several types of toads, frogs and caecilians. Some of the species are the bicoloured Malabar frog endemic to the Western Ghats, the Asian Toad, the Malabar Hills fungoid frog and the Malabar gliding frog which is a flying rhacophorid tree frog.
7. The rivers and lakes that form the Periyar National Park house around 40 species of fish. Some of those are the Travancore loach, the Periyar barb, a cyprinid fish endemic to the Periyar Lake, the Channa barb which is endemic to India, the Periyar trout endemic to Kerala and the Periyar latia which is only seen in the Periyar River.
8. Keep your eyes peeled for the 45 species of reptiles in this ecosystem, of which 2 are turtles, 13 are lizards and the 30 rest are snakes. Some of the venomous snakes to watch out for are the Malabar pit viper, striped coral snake and king cobra.
9. Including threatened species, the park has 35 mammal species which comprise tigers, elephants, mongooses, gaurs, fruit bats, sambars, langurs, wild boars, macaques, squirrels, tahrs, jungle cats and sloth bears.
10. Periyar is primarily a tiger reserve, and one can see that clearly when one looks at the number of white tigers and Bengal tigers in the park, the number of Bengal tigers being 35.
11. Birdwatchers can rejoice in the fact that 266 native and migrant birds can be sighted inside the national park. Some birds to keep your binoculars ready for are the Eurasian woodcock, the paddyfield warbler, the steppe gull, the grey-necked bunting, the black baza, the Oriental darter, the spot-bellied eagle-owl, the black-necked stork, the Nilgiri thrush, Sri Lanka frogmouth, the little spiderhunter, the great hornbill, the rufous-bellied hawk-eagle and the brahminy kite.
12. Even endemic bird species can be spotted by birders. Some examples are the white-bellied blue flycatcher, the Malabar grey hornbill, the crimson-backed sunbird, Nilgiri wood pigeon, the blue-winged parakeet and Nilgiri flycatcher.
Interesting Facts About Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar National Park has a significant history and many facts that revolve around its formation and present functioning. Here are some of those:
1. The ecosystem of Periyar Tiger Reserve accounts for annual economic benefits of an estimated 17.6 billion rupees. This works out to approximately 1.9 lakh rupees per hectare of the land!
2. Even though some of these intangible benefits are difficult to quantify, experts have calculated the financial benefits accrued to gene-pool protection to the tune of 7.86 billion rupees annually.
3. About 4.05 billion rupees worth of water provision is provided by this national park to some of the districts of the state of Tamil Nadu on a yearly basis.
4. Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary provides refuge and a habitat to wildlife tipped at an annual worth of 3.55 billion rupees.
5. The towns and districts around the wildlife reserve benefit from the water purification services which are pegged at INR 483 million rupees per year.
6. Only recreational activities such as boating, trekking, camping and safaris that the national park has spurned earn a sum of INR 425 million rupees annually.
7. The local communities, who are directly or indirectly employed for various services related to the wildlife sanctuary, benefit from 25 million rupees worth of jobs yearly.
Places to Visit Near Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
It is quite likely that you may have travelled from afar to get all the way to Periyar National Park. If you have multiple days at your disposal, explore the following destinations which are only a few kilometres from the wildlife reserve and can be reached within a couple of hours by car:
1. Periyar Lake: Located within the precincts of the national park, the Periyar Lake is a reservoir spread across 26 square kilometres or 10 square miles. The lake was artificially created when the Mullaperiyar River was dammed by the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam in 1895. Periyar Lake is popular for boating, allowing for a lot of water birds to be sighted. The boat ride runs for 90 minutes and begins at designated times: 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:45 PM and 3:30 PM. Tickets cost INR 225 for adults and INR 75 for children.
2. Mullaperiyar Dam: A favourite with picnickers, the Mullaperiyar Dam sits over the Periyar River and enjoys a good amount of breeze. This gravity-type dam is a work of stone-masonry. Measuring 1,200 feet in length and 138 feet in width, the dam has 13 chute spillways with a capacity of a whopping 4,518 cubic yards per second! The water is said to be 142 feet at its deepest. There is even a “baby dam” to the right of the main dam. The reservoir can hold a maximum of 443,230,000 cubic metres of water.
3. Thekkady: Hardly 10 minutes from Periyar National Park by car, the small town of Thekkady is more than just a tourist spot with tea estates. Spread over the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills, this town is famous for its spices, particularly cardamom. Located in the Idukki district, Thekkady enjoys a dramatic landscape of lush mountains and wide lakes. One will also find well kept gardens and spice plantations that are worth a visit.
4. Sabarimala: Located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the Sabarimala temple complex is one of the most visited Hindu temples in southern India. Sabarimala Temple is dedicated to Ayyappan, a Hindu deity who, according to mythology, remained celibate all his life. The temple complex, although located on a hill itself, is lucky to be surrounded by umpteen other hills. Along with the gorgeous view of the mountains, devotees will also find dense forests in its vicinity. Be prepared for the crowds when you visit Sabarimala.
5. Mangala Devi Kannagi Temple: About 10 km from the wildlife reserve, this Hindu temple takes a little more than half an hour to reach by road. At an altitude of 1,337 metres above sea level, Mangala Devi Kannagi Temple is open to tourists only during the religious festival of Chitra Pournami. This temple is said to have been built over 2,000 years ago by the ruler of the region of ancient Tamilakam, Cheran Chenguttuvan.
6. Suruli Falls: This beautiful waterfall is located more than 50 km away from the national park, and takes almost a couple of hours to reach. Originating from the Meghamalai range of mountains, Suruli Falls is a cascading waterfall with two steps. With a total height of 150 feet, the falls drop into a pool before falling again from a height of 40 feet. The falls are fed by the waters of the Suruli River.
7. Kakki Reservoir: A 15-minute car ride over a distance of a little less than 8 km from Periyar Reserve will bring you to Kakki Reservoir. Located inside the Ranni Reserve Forest, this reservoir lets out its waters to the River Pamba in the form of Kakki tributary. An interesting outing and picnic spot, the lake was actually formed as a result of the construction of two dams, Anathode dam and Kakki dam on the Kakki tributary.
8. Parunthumpara Hill View Point: If you drive for about an hour, covering almost 15 km along NH 183A, you will arrive at a location that offers unbelievable views of nature. Located in the Idukki district, Parunthumpara is most notable for its view point atop the hill. Enjoy some snacks along the road and hire an offroad jeep to better enjoy the windy surroundings. There is ample parking for those arriving by car or bike. If you prefer to walk, take a stroll along the barricaded promenade and relish the views of the verdant valleys, waterfalls and misty mountains.
9. Thekkady Rose Park: Only 5 km from the national park, Thekkady Rose Park is a botanical garden centred around roses. Apart from various coloured roses, you will also find other flowering plants at the park which costs INR 50 per head to enter. There is also a provision to enjoy their Adventure Package which is priced at INR 400 per family. If you have 3 hours to spare, have fun at the spring bouncing, boating, bungee jumping and rope walking facilities inside. All of the rides are child-safe. Thekkady Rose Park also has many installations for taking pictures.
How to Reach Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary covers the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala. There are multiple ways to arrive here, and each mode of transport depends on your personal preference, budget and expectation of comfort. We spell out the most recommended ways to arrive:
By Air: The airport closest to the national park is in Tamil Nadu (and not Kerala). 150 km away, the park takes about 4 hours to reach from Madurai Airport. However, if you must fly into Kerala, you can land at the Cochin International Airport which is 170 km away and takes over 4 and a half hours of road journey.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Periyar National Park is Kottayam at more than 100 km. It will take almost 3 hours to arrive at the park via road. Nevertheless, India’s railroad system is quite extensive, and with minimal change of trains, you can reach here from almost anywhere in the country, that too at very reasonable rates, depending on whether you pick air-conditioned compartments, non-AC ones or pick the cheapest option – unreserved coach.
By Car: One of the most convenient and direct ways to reach the Periyar reserve is to hire a spacious SUV which you can drive down to the forest. You can also book your cab from top car rental companies in Kerala to make your journey even more tireless. This option ensures that you don’t have to have any change of transportation. You also have the flexibility to make your own pit stops for bio breaks, meals or even night-halts if you are travelling from a distant part of the country.
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