Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Postcards from Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady

Want to experience an up, close and personal affair with wild life? Well, Thekkady is the place you gotta be. We went for a 2 day trip (+ of course the commute to & fro) in the first week of March; just when the exam fever was at its peak. This meant the place was relatively uncluttered. All we spotted was a bevy of newly married couples busy locking eyes with each other. They sure need to come back again to enjoy the sanctary :P :D
Thekkady is the home to a sprawling wild life sanctuary named after the Periyar river. This perennial river has its source in this sanctuary and hence the name to the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a rich repository of flora life and is abounded by evergreen and moist deciduous forests and grass lands. Herds of elephants, sambar deer, gaurs, nilgiri langurs, Indian giant squirrels, sloth bears among others grace this forest and cavort with ease in this natural habitat. Besides many winged beauties including Cormorants, sun birds, kingfishers, thrush, mynas go about their life with a chirrup & flourish. Spread over Patthanamithra and Idukkki, the sanctuary along the western ghats is nature at its very best. A massive portion of the sanctuary had been converted in to a national park since 1982 and hence visiting tourist can enjoy wild life at close quarters.

The sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. But it is a matter of sheer luck if you happen to spot the striped majestic beast as they generally don't appear during the day. However sighting other animals keeps us enthralled.



We stayed in Aranya Nivas, a  Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) property . A lovely resort situated inside the wild life sanctuary, the hotel offers a variety of eco tourism programmes like wildlife boat crusies on the periyar lake, nature walk, hiking and rafting, Jungle safari, elephant ride and plantation tours so that the visiting tourists can go back satiated and soul happy. Except for the rafting and plantation tour, we managed to explore quite a bit of the options. However the 2 day trip was just not enough and left us completely hungry for more.



Boating on the Periyar lake gave us a peek into the wildlife. The tickets were arranged by the hotel on our intimation to them saving us from standing in a mile long queue.


We saw herds of bison, sambar and elephants leisurely trotting along the banks of the lake.


 Besides, the boat ride gave us a glimpse of many birds happily perched on the tree stumps. It was a pleasure clicking these birds and my hard disk is full of the various nuances of these birds.








Just before we left for the boating the monkeys on the pavement leading towards the lake had us mightily amused.


While in the sanctuary, we also explored Gavi Ecotourism..... Gavi as the pamphlet let us on is situated along the fringes of the tiger reserve.We went by a jeep arranged by the hotel after getting the permit a day before. The 20 km or so ride through the jungle early in the morning was a refreshing journey.



Gavi simply did not warrant a few hours stay. With its lush grass lands and dense forest, the place spells P.R.O.M.I.S.E to keep us enchanted. But we contented in staying on just to enjoy a boat ride and a nature walk. 



We were accompanied by a guide, a local fella named Kasinath. He was a treasure trove of information. The nature walk accompanied by him saw us climbing highs and lows of the forest. He so expertly guided us and also showed us the cardamom plantations explaining us how it sustains the livelihood of localites



The highlight of the 2 day trip in Thekkady was a mommy & baby elephant that had come down to play in the lake and after having a thoroughly refreshing bath went ahead and has all the fun in the sand.



All in all a trip etched with tranquil and sweet memories....


How to reach :-

Cochin International Airport - 5 hrs
Madurai International- 3 1/2 hrs
Nearest Rail Terminal - Kottayam
Drive down from Trichy/Madurai - Around 4 hours.

While the park is open throughout the year, the best time to visit would be after september till march. However nothing to stop you from packing your bags right now and go wild-life seeing!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Priya chechi ....sreejith here ....long time..remember we used to connect through our blogs a few years ago . Anyways , glad to here that you had fun in thekkady. Next time you come here , if by any chance , try to stay at the lake palace . It is a different experience to stay within the wild , in the middle of the reservoir , isolated from the world . I had the wonderful opportunity to stay there last year . Must say , that was an unparalleled experience . Though couldnot see any tigers , we happen to see a few droppings , supposed to be of the leopards ..

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    1. How are you Sreejith---hope all's well; where r u these days !! keep in touch `

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  2. Nice Pictures. Thanks for sharing your trip . It seems a wonderful experience. Thekkady is one of the oldest protected areas in the country. Check out best hotels in Thekkady.

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