Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the first wildlife sanctuary in Kerala and it’s purposefully established on both the Indian and foreigner tourist trails and known for its scenic lake cruise. But if you dig deeper, perhaps on a trek with a tribal villager or an ex-poacher, Periyar’s hilly jungle scenery takes on a wild, magical feel. Bring warm, waterproof clothing.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
?Mind striking Periyar, the ‘Pride of Kerala’ is one of the largest and most frequent sanctuaries in the country. The sanctuary created in 1934, by the old Travancore Stalo government, covers an area of 777 sq. kms. at the Cardamom Hills region of the Western Ghats. It was designated as a part of Project Tiger’ in 1973 and is southernmost tiger reserve of the country. The 26 sq. km. Periyar lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river further enhances the beauty of the park. The innumerable little islets in the lake bear testimony to the inherent relationship between the terrestrial, aquatic and submarine life forms. Boat cruise on the waters of the lake is the best way to enjoy the pristine beauty of the park and view the wildlife from close quarters. Watching herds of wild elephants, gaur, sambar and wild pigs, etc., wander to the lake-side to quench their thirst is an unforgettable experience. The hot and dry months of March and April are the best time to view the wildlife by a boat cruise, as animals tend to spend a lot of time near the lake. The sanctuary is also well known for viewing all aspects of elephantine. Besides elephants and tigers, it is a haven for bison, sambar, wild boar, spotted deer, leopard, Malabar flying squirrel, stripe necked mongoose, black Nilgiri langurs, Nilgiri tahr, etc. There are also a rich variety of reptiles, amphibians, and birds. The park area is full of floral wealth, with over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species, 143 species of orchids and the only South Indian conifer Podocarpus Wallachianus. A summer palace of the erstwhile royalty of Travancore, overlooking the lake has been converted into a hotel and is a fine place to stay.
Airport: Kochi (190 kms.).
Railhead: Kottayam (119 kms.).
Road: Kumily, on the north of the park boundary, is 4 kms. from Thekkadi. It is well connected by buses with Kottayam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Munar, etc. Thekkadi is at the center of the park where KTDC hotels and boat jetty are located. The wildlife data center lies near the boat jetty.
Besides this, more wildlife sanctuaries are spread all over the state. There are 25 above popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala housing fascinating and rare species of flora and fauna. Nestled in the elaborate forest of the majestic Western Ghats or Sahyadri Ranges in Kerala are 14 wildlife sanctuaries and two tiger reserves. Kerala also has 6 national parks containing protected and threatened species like the Indian Sloth-Bear, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Indian Bison, Bengal Tiger, Nilgiri Tahr, etc. There’s a list of some popular Wildlife Sanctuary
1. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
?It is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It was established in 1973 and covers an area of 344 sq. kms., bordering the famous Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and Nagarhole and Bandipur sanctuaries ??in Karnataka. The key fauna includes elephant, spotted deer, gaur, sloth bear and a large variety of birds and reptiles. The best season to visit the sanctuary is from December to April.
By Air: The sanctuary can be reached after landing at the Karipur International Airport at Kozhikode which lies around 125 kms from the sanctuary. KTDC buses are available for the journey from the airport to the forest. Otherwise private taxis and buses are available too.
By Rail: The nearest railway station from the wildlife sanctuary is Kozhikode(100km) which is well connected to all parts of the country.
By Road: Numerous express and deluxe bus service connect the sanctuary to the different towns and cities of Kerala and another nearby state. Some of the major distances from Wayanad from other towns are Calicut- 98 km, Kasargod- 216 Km, Trivandrum- 502 Km and Cochin- 286 Km.
2. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary which is also under the attention of UNESCO for being announced as a World Heritage Site is situated in Tamil Nadu border at Rajamala Udumalpet Road (SH 17) in Idukki district. Chinnar which is extent above 90 sq.km is different from other sanctuaries because of its sharp scrub forest as it receives rain for only 48 days in the year and hence ideal for particular or unique vegetation. Beside thorny scrub forest, other highlights that enthrall tourists are famous sandalwood forests, waterfalls, nature walks, trekking or camping inside the sanctuary. Watchtowers are also created here for tourists to observe animals.
By Road: Road journeys are considered as the best ways to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is well-connected to most of the major parts of Kerala and can be easily reached from popular Kerala tourist destinations like Munnar, Cochin, Ernakulam, and others.
By Train: Pollachi and Aluva railway stations are the nearest railway stations to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. While the former is only 60km away from the sanctuary, the latter is around 200km away.
By Air: Coimbatore Airport; at a distance of 115km, and Kochi Airport at a distance of 208km are the two nearest airports to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
3. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Idukki Wildlife SanctuaryIdukki Wildlife Sanctuary, 40 km from Thodupuzha, is nestled between two rivers Cheruthoni and Periyar is a wonderful sanctuary which is extent above 77 sq.kilometres enclosed a thick cover of evergreen forests or a huge range of wildlife. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary offers tourist’s boat rides in the rivers which provide a scenic view of the surroundings and a glimpse of wildlife such as Sambhars, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats, and Tigers, etc. Apart from breath-taking scenic wonders, a point that captivates tourists is trekking, but for the forest, trekking is possible only with prior permission from the forest department.
By Road: The sanctuary is well-connected by overland ways with prominent cities in Kerala. Cochin is around 120km and Thiruvananthapuram is around 220km from the sanctuary. Visitors can make it to these two cities, and hire private vehicles to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.
By Train: Kottayam serves as the nearest railway station to the wildlife reserve. Upon arrival at Kottayam Railway Station, one can avail local transportation means to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.
By Air: Kochi International Airport and Thiruvananthapuram Airport are the two nearest airports to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary. Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu can also be used as the nearest city for air journey to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.
4. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
It covers an area of 285 sq. kms, around the Parambikulam, Thunacadavu and Penuvaripallan dams and is a part of the neighboring Anaimalai Sanctuary in TamilNadu. Key fauna?gaur (bison), sambar, spotted deer, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, sloth bear, etc. Thunakadavu is the sanctuary headquarters, which can be reached by road from Pollachi (40 kms. from Coimbatore and 49 kms. from Palakkad). Boat crevalle at the Parambikulam reservoir. Best Season Feb.- April.
By plane: Coimbatore airport is the nearest international airport to Parambikulam – approximately 100 km (via Pollachi and Topslip). International flights to Singapore, Sharjah are available by Silk Air (A subsidiary of Singapore Airlines), Air Arabia and Srilankan Airlines. Domestic airlines fly to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and other Indian cities.
By bus: There are only three bus trips to/ from Parambikulam daily. Two TNSTC buses start from Pollachi, and one KSRTC bus starts from Palakkad. TNSTC bus starts from Pollachi at approximately 6:15 AM and 3:15 PM. KSRTC bus start from Palakkad at approximately 8 AM. KSRTC bus touches Kozhinjampara and Pollachi enroute. The KSRTC bus starts the return journey from Parambikulam at approximately 12:30 PM, while the TNSTC buses start their return journey at approximately 8:45 AM and 5:45 PM. These timings are tentative, and it is best to confirm these timings from the bus stations before one finalizes the journey. Those who are traveling by bus and plan to go for a vehicle safari inside the tiger reserve should alight at Anappady and visit the Information Centre at Anappady to purchase tickets.
By train: Coimbatore Junction (85 km) and Palakkad Junction (100 km) are the nearest railway stations. At present, all train services in Pollachi-Coimbatore; Pollachi – Palani, Dindigul; Pollachi – Palakkad sections are stopped due to the Meter Gauge to Broad Gauge conversions.
5. Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary
Thattekad or Dr. Salim Ali Bird sanctuary covers an area of 25 sq kms, between the tributaries of river Periyar. It has over 270 varieties of birds and is indeed a paradise for bird watchers. Malabar grey hornbills, crimson throated barbets, rose billed rollers, sunbirds, Malayan night herons, rusty tailed flycatchers are some of the important bird species seen here. There is also a rich variety of butterflies at the sanctuary. Leopards and bears can also be sighted here. The sanctuary is 13 kms. from Kothamangalam.
By Train: Aluva is the nearest railway station that connects with Bangalore through an extensive railway network. At the railway station, the local transportation system helps in easily moving in and around the city.
By Air: Cochin is the nearest airport to reach Thattekad Bird Sanctuary from Bangalore. At the airport, there are cabs and taxis available for hire to drive the visitors to the bird sanctuary from the airport.
By Road: Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is well-connected to Bangalore through road. The stretch is 554 km long. Apart from the self-owned vehicle, one can also reach the bird sanctuary through private taxis and cabs available in Bangalore for hire.