The Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is nestled within the hilly ranges of the Wetsern Ghats of Kerala located in the southernmost part of India. This tiger reserve is one of the oldest bewitching wild life sanctuaries of India, the forest land once looked after by the Maharajas of Travancore. The forest encircles a beautiful lake that is the main source of water and has attracted wild animals from the nearby forests to inhabit this national park.
The ridges of Western Ghats along with the thick dense vegetation form the main landscape presenting a captivating beauty of nature. A handsome population of pachyderms and tigers dominate this sanctuary and the number of tigers is on the rise. Besides, Periyar National park also takes pride in providing shelter to a number of other wild life species like gaur, sambar, barking deer, wild dog, nilgiri langur, common langur. Birds like darters, kingfishers, Malabar Hornbill, Commorants also constitute the fauna of this park.
Occasionally one gets startled by the sudden appearance of python or king cobra. Sometimes Monitor lizards are also spotted on the rocks along the shores of the lake.
A boat cruise along the Periyar Lake is a must as it offers the best option to trail the animals. It is quite an unconventional trail than the much heard jeep and elephant safaris. Such cruises are carried out throughout the day from the early morning till the sunset. The best time to visit this sanctuary is in the driest months when the animals frequently come down to the lake shores to drink water.
With cameras and binoculars fixed, the anxious gazes of the visitors pass fast unless there is a sigh of joy to see the herds of elephants having a playful time in the waters of the lake. Such a sight enchants the people of all ages and the boat proceeds looking for other species as well. The boat passes along such areas of the forest most visited by the predator. Few lucky ones get the chance to spot the majestic predator from a comfortable distance. The herd of gaurs passing through the forest and the deer running about are the common features that enchant the visitors to a great extent.
A visit to the cardamom hills enables the tourists to get a view of the cardamom trees with the green cardamoms clinging to them. Jeep safaris and trekking are very popular to explore the cardamom gardens. Kumily is another place near to Periyar famous for the spice trade and a tourist centre that is worth visiting.
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