Places to Visit in Thekkady

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This ancient temple is situated in the heart of the Periyar Tiger Reserve at an altitude of 1337 metres above the sea level. The temple is more than 1000 years old and is a major attraction in the area. The deity of the temple is the goddess of moral power, Mangala Devi also called Kannaki in Kerala. The origins of the temple are obscure and the architecture is Pandyan. People believe that the temple was built by a Chera King Chenkuttuvan. The temple is closed most of the year and deity is only brought here once a year during ChithraPournami festival. Rest of the year the deity remains in a temple in Kambam.

 

On your list of places to visit in Thekkady, Panchalimedu is a must see monument.Panchalimedu is situated about an hour and a half’s drive away from Thekkady and is famous for its spice plantations. It’s famous for its spice plantations and stone structures that were supposedly furniture built by the pandavas.According to some legends, this is also the place where the Pandavas along with their wife Draupadi (Panchali) stayed for a while when they were on an exile. The major attraction here is a cave in which the foot prints of Bhima are still preserved.There are also some stone structures which are supposed to be furniture built by the Pandavas. There are some ruins of a temple and some Naga idols, a trishul (trident) and Shivalings found in the area.

 

There are no major religious places in Thekkady. However, there are a couple of churches and temples around Thekkady and Kumily that you may want to visit like Marthoma Church in Kumily, St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church and Giri Jyothi Church. You may also visit the Ganpathy Temple in Kumily.

Children would love the Periyar Tiger reserve. The boat rides in Periyar Lake and the elephant rides in the reserve would be enough to excite the children. They would also love sighting animals in the forest and would also learn a lot from the experience. In case you would like to take children to an amusement park then the nearest amusement is Funpark in Theni (Tamil Nadu) which is about 67 kilometres from Thekkady.

There are two notable museums in and around Thekkady. There is Tribal Museum in Kumily which is famous for depicting the life and culture of the indigenous tribal population of Kerala. The Museum is being run and maintained by a local tribal community.

Another interesting museum is the Celebrity Wax Museum, on the lines of Madame Tussauds of London. The museum is situated on the banks of Periyar and is owned and run by a famous wax sculptor Sunil Kandallor. The museum currently has more than 50 life-sized statues made of wax; of various celebrities, politicians and personalities. When you’re doing your flight booking make sure that you check out these two interesting museums.

There are no major parks and gardens in Thekkady, though the Wildlife reserve and various spice plantations around provide enough greenery. You may also enquire about the local parks while in Thekkady. The WIldlife reserve and the spice plantations are the most interesting places to visit in Thekkady. These two attractions are major contributors to Thekkady Tourism.

If you have availed one of the customizable Thekkady travel packages, then you may include a host of other places of interest in Kerala. You should include Munnar in the package. Munnar is a pretty little hill station situated about 85 kilometres from Thekkady. Munnar is sure one of the most scenic places in Kerala.Kochi, which is one of the major destinations in Kerala, is about 156 kilometres from Thekkady. Kochi is also one of the best places to shop in Kerala. Your Kerala trip would not be complete without visiting the gorgeous backwaters in Kumarakomwhich is 127 kilometres, and pristine beaches in Alleppeyabout 145 kilometres away from Thekkady. You may also go to Idukkito visit the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary which is about 62 kilometres away.

Commonly referred to as the Periyar National Park, the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the most famous tourist attraction in Thekkady. Ranging from jungle safari to the boat rides, there is a wide range of tourist activities that this place offers, allowing you to experience wildlife on a whole new level. So, if you love wildlife, then this place is the best for you to enjoy the beauty of these ferocious animals on their natural habitats!

 

Location

Nestled in the lap of the protected forests of Thekkady in Kerala, the Periyar National Park is one of the most prestigious wildlife sanctuaries in India.

Address: Periyar National Park, Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta, Kerala.

Hours: 6 am to 7 pm every day.

Telephone: 04869224571

 

Timings

The park is open from 6 am to 7 pm every day, generally. However the boat safaris are from 7:30 am to 9 pm, 9:30 am to 11 pm, 11:15 am to 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm to 3:15 pm, and finally 3:30 pm to 5 pm. The natural walks in the park are from 7 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 5 pm. Besides, there is both bamboo rafting, and border hike experiences from 8 am to 5 pm.

 

Highlights

There is a wide range of flora and fauna that you can spot in the Periyar National Park, covering a total area of about 925 square km. Due to the ideal location within the Cardamom Hills, it is a beautiful place surrounded by rivers that make it perfect for many species of both flora and fauna.

Coming to the flora, you can always spot various species of rosewood, tamarind, jamun, and sandalwood along with various other plantations. There is also scope for agricultural vegetation like cardamom, tea, and coffee that fills the air with aroma. Besides, the Periyar National Park is also rich in the Royal Bengal Tigers that are a pride to the country. Other than these tigers, you can also spot various kinds of animals like the Nilgiri Langoors, Nilgiri Tahrs, Elephants, and Wild Pigs. Apart from this, the Periyar National Park is also famous for its rare birds. The park is renowned for being an ideal place for the bird watchers due to various birds that are present within it. Ranging from the Malabar grey hornbill to the Sri Lankan frogmouth, there is a wide range of birds in the park, which attracts bird lovers from across the country.

 

Inclusions

  • Entry fee
  • Video and camera permissions
  • Boat Safari on the waters of Periyar
  • Treks along the Tiger Trails with accommodation

 

Price

  • Entrance fee for Indians ranges between INR 5-35 approximately, depending on the age
  • Entrance fee for Foreigners ranges between INR 150-450 approximately, depending on the age
  • Video and camera – INR 30-300 approximately for each camera
  • Boat Safari – INR 50-150 approximately for each person
  • Tiger Trail Treks ¬– INR 5500-6000 approximately for a night and about INR 7500-8000 for two nights

 

Recommended for

The Periyar National Park is recommended to all the wildlife enthusiasts and photographers who wish to get a closer look at the animals. Nevertheless, people from all age groups can enjoy the rides in the national park.

 

How to get to Periyar National Park

By Air: The Cochin International Airport is the closest to Periyar National Park. After landing at Cochin, you can take either cabs or the public buses to reach the Periyar National Park. Apart from that, you can also go to the Madurai Airport which is pretty close to the destination. Both Cochin and Madurai airports are around 150 and 159 km respectively away from the park.

By Rail: The Kottayam Railway head is the closest to the Periyar Forest, located at a distance of approximately 96-97 km away from the park. The Kottayam head is one of the important railway heads of Kerala and is well-connected to most of the important cities in the state and outside.

By Road: The town of Kumily is the closest to the Periyar National Park. It has some well-connected roads on which several buses ply from the other neighbouring towns like Ernakulam and Kottayam. 

This being said, the best way to travel to the Periyar national park is by road, as you can enjoy the scenic beauty that Kerala has to offer along the way.

 

About Periyar National Park

Located in the beautiful Thekkady, the Periyar National Park is a famous spot among the tourists to go on wildlife expeditions. Mostly taming the Indian Elephants and the Royal Bengal Tigers, this park attracts a lot of crowd from across the country. Lying in the lap of the aromatic cardamom hills, the borders of the park are surrounded by the mountains, leaving a plateau on one side. The highest peak among these being the Kottamalai, the Periyar National Park is rich in the diverse lands which are formed due to the perennial rivers. The park is also equipped with a reservoir that supplies year-round water for the wildlife residing within the place.

The temperature in the park ranges between 15 to 31 degrees Celsius, the highest being recorded during the months of April and May and the lowest in the months of December. There is average rainfall during the monsoons, with moderately mild rainfall during the end of monsoon. October to March is the best time to visit Thekkady due to the best temperatures, and the filled up water bodies to explore each and everything about the park’s highlights. There would also be many blooming plants that can be spotted during the winter; making it the best time to visit the Periyar National Park.

 

Interesting facts about Periyar National Park

  • Safari is the best way to experience the wildlife of the Periyar National Park
  • It is home for the most gorgeous deer that you can spot at the edges of the water bodies
  • You can also go on elephant safari to experience the trails that are harder to reach otherwise
  • If you want to spot the ferocious animals, then make sure you hop on the jeep safari to get the best experience on your lifetime.

Besides, The National Park, you may also explore the lovely cardamom hills and spice gardens in the area. You may also visit coffee plantations in the neighbouring towns or head towards Chellar Kovil (15 kilometres) which is famous for its picturesque water falls.

Thekkady is a small place mostly famous for its beautiful views, natural beauty and the reserve. The major and famous landmarks in Thekkady are the Periyar Tiger Reserve, popular hotels and restaurants in the town. Besides these Thekkady Junction is a prominent landmark, so are the some of the popular churches like St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church, Lourdes Church, Giri Jyothi Church and the Ganpathy Temple. Deepa World Spice and Ayurvedic Garden & Abraham’s Spice Garden are also well known landmarks in Thekkady.

Taking a Lake Cruise around the lake or going for boat rides would be a great experience for nature lovers. You may also take guided tours in the sanctuary or go for nature walks.Also advisable to visit a Spice garden and plantation on your visit which would include a tour to acquaint you with the spices and ayurvedic herbs. You may the High Range Spice and Abraham’s Spice garden for this exciting experience.

 

Comprising of three artificial islands, the Palm Islands will leave you spell bound and therefore it is also one of the best places to visit in Thekkady.

The Forest Department runs an ecotourism centre which can arrange for activities like Bamboo Rafting, Nature Walks and Jungle Patrols. You may even take an overnight trek called the ‘Periyar Tiger Trail’ with the guides to have an awesome camping and trekking experience.

Since Ayurveda is very famous in Kerala, most of the cities and towns have locally run Ayurveda Centres which specialize in Ayurvedic massages, Panchkarma etc. Santhigiri Ayurveda located in on the Periyar Road in the Sanctuary provide some excellent services. You may also enquire about some of the good centres or speak to your travel company. Some resorts also provide spa services. 

There are daily Kathakali Shows behind the Hotel Periyar Meadows in Kumily and also at Mudra Kathakali Centre. These could prove to be very entertaining and would give you a chance to experience the local dances and music.

In case you would like to eat out to try the local food your best bet would be to try some of the popular local joints. Otherwise some good restaurants in Thekkady are Ambadi Restaurant, French Bakery & Restaurant and Shri Kishna Restaurant. Try Roji’s Homely Food, Happins Restaurant, Kripa Multi Cuisine Restaurant and Eves Kitchen Restaurant if you want to try local food. For fine dining, the restaurant at the Spice Garden resort is pretty good. Some good Cafes in Thekkady are Chrissie’s Cafe and Ebony Cafe.

 

Besides the regular South Indian fare you may try Kerala specialities like Aviyal, Thoran, Idiyappams and Kappa. Tomato Fry is another popular item in most menus which is served with a parantha. To experiment with the Kerala cuisine you may ask for a thali at one of the local restaurants. Non vegetarians would enjoy the sea food available throughout Kerala. Do try Malabar Biryani, Meen Curry, KonchuVaruthatu and Meen Pollichathu. 

There are no discotheques or clubs in Thekkady. The nearest discotheque would the ‘Screamm’ in The Fort Munnar Hotel, in Munnar.

Most hotels have their own bars. The best place to have a drink Thekkady would be the Bar in Hotel Spice Garden. You may also try Kumily Gate Bar and New Vaigai Bar & Restaurant. You can also try the local wine shops which are called Toddy Shops and sell some excellent local wine made with Palm.

 

There are no flea markets in Thekkady but there’s a well-stocked ‘Eco Shop’ near the entrance of the Periyar Reserve from where you can buy trinkets, souvenirs, t-shirts, books and spices too. You can also buy antiques, spices, herbal products and handicrafts from Kumily.

There are several big shops from where you may buy things. Orma is a very popular Departmental store from where one can also pick up imported goods. 

The street markets in Thekkady and Kumily are great place to buy your daily essentials, fruits and vegetables and other eatables. Although there aren’t many flea markets to visit as the things to do in Thekkady but you can visit the street markets and the huge departmental stores in and around town.

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