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Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala

With a lake situated in the middle, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary always heads the list of wildlife destinations in Kerala. It was back in the year 1972 when Periyar was given the status of being a Tiger Reserve, in conformity with the Project Tiger scheme. The total area of the park is around 777 sq km. Though tigers are also among the wildlife park’s inmates, old, adult and baby elephants frolicking around the Periyar Lake are a major attraction for wildlife lovers from all across the world. Wildlife viewing inside Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary should be done along with an expert local guide. For accommodation of tourists, the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation runs various wildlife resorts located inside the sanctuary.

Best Time to Visit
A tropical climate prevails at Periyar Sanctuary. The ideal time for a wildlife safari into the park is between the months of October and June.

Wildlife Attractions
According to the latest count, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary provides shelter to 40 tigers. Other animal inmates of the park include elephant, gaur, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, wild dog, dole, mouse deer etc. Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic animal species of southern India, are also rarely spotted in the confines of the park. Primate species that call Periyar home are bonnet macaque, lion tailed macaque, common langur and the Nilgiri langur.

The hills and valleys inside the park are densely forested. Tropical evergreen, semi evergreen forests and vast grasslands cover the Periyar Wildlife Park.

Bird watching lovers can enjoy spotting species like racket tailed drongoes, great Malabar hornbill, darters, cormorants and kingfisher among others. Monitor lizards, python and king cobra are among the major reptilian species found in Periyar.

Things to Do
If you wish to watch elephant from close quarters, take a boat ride along the Periyar Lake. Elephants are often seen frolicking around the lake along with their babies. Keep your cameras poised because some great sights are just waiting to be captured.

Numerous water bodies are present throughout the wildlife park. Talk to your local guide and request him to take you to these water bodies. A variety of animals can be viewed around these places. You are, however, requested not to disturb the ecosystem of the park.

Make a visit to the small town of Kumily, the closest from the park. Communication with locals may be a problem at Periyar. An English speaking local guide will assist you in communicating with locals.

Reaching the Wildlife Park
Travellers need to first take a flight to the Chennai International Airport. Or else, you can also fly to the Kochin Airport, which lies at 200 km from Periyar. The airport at Madurai, at 140 km, is yet another option if you want to undertake an air journey. At a distance of 114 km, Kottayam is a major railway station connecting to all the key destinations in southern India. State Transport and privately owned buses are frequently available to reach the park from places like Kumily, Kotayyam, Ernakulam and Madurai.