Introduction: Thekkady, is one of the India's most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries, where you can watch wildlife at close range. The vegetation, the flora and fauna and the birds of Thekkady are uniquely rich, vast and varied that it does not bear semblance to any other wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Even a casual visitor to this place will not fail to observe the special ecological pattern of Thekkady.
Description: Thekkady, the very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. In the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats, you will experience the most enchanting holiday with the animals of the wild and the simple mountain people. In the Periyar forest, Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wildlife. Thekkady is on the border with state of Tamil Nadu , in fact just 5 km from the border town of Kumily which is very well connected by bus to both Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Notable among the denizens of Periyar are the tigers, the majestic Asiatic wild elephants and the distinctive Nilgiri langur. Other animals include the wild boar, wild dog, bison, bear and leopards. Amongst the avifauna, the most profuse are herons,egrets, darters, kingfishers and the great Malabar grey hornbill. A cruise through the waters of Periyar lake around the wildlife sanctuary offers a soul-stirring pleasant experience.
Thekkady Quick facts
Thekkady Geography and Climate
Climate: Climate in Thekkady is tropical and the mean minimum temperature is 16 degree Celsius and the mean maximum temperature is 31 degree Celsius.
Best time to visit Thekkady
Best time to visit Thekkady is September to March.
Thekkady Near Getaways
Kumily (4 km from Thekkady): This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the periyar sanctuary. An important shopping centre and spice trade centre.
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady): Washed in fresh spice-scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi (5 km from Kumily): This picturesque spectrum of exotic flora, fauna and gurgling streams is cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. A popular picnic spot, Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady): This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the Ghats and some hill villages of Tamil nadu. Permission to visit the area can be abtained from the Wildlife Wadren, Thekkady (Ph: 0486-322027).
Chellarkovil (15 km from Kumily): This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Vandiperiyar (18 km from Thekkady): The River Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of roses, orchids and anthuria.
Vandanmedu (25 km from Kumily): This is one of the world's largest auction centres for candamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Pullumedu (43 km from Thekkady and 26 km from Periyar): The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu which can be accessed only by jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illumination at the shrine are visible from here. Since it is part of the restricted forest zone, special permission to visit Pullumedu has to be obtained from the Wildlife Preservation Officer, Thekkady Ph:0486-322027 or the Range Officer, Vallakkadavu (Ph:0486-352515).
Ramakalmedu (40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar): Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hills top also offers a Panoramic view of picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the Eastern slop of the western ghats.
Thekkady is well connected by most part of the state and India by motorable road. Road distances from different places are Devikulam (130 km), Mattupetty (13 km), Idukki (60 km), Kochi (130 km), Kottayam (147 km), Kumarakom (130 km), Alappuzha (160 km).
How to reach Thekkady by Rail
Nearest Railheads are at Kochi (130 km), Kottayam (142 km), Madurai (162 km), Thiruvananthapuram (302 km).
Mangala Devi Temple (15 km from Thekkady): This ancient temple is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. Visitors are allowed here only on the Chithra Pournami festival day. The peak commands a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the Ghats and some hill villages of Tamil nadu. Permission to visit the area can be obtained from the Wildlife Wadren, Thekkady (Ph: 0486-322027).
Trekking: Main trekking areas in Thekkady are Kurisumala near Kumily, Pullumedu, Ottakathalamedu near Kumily, Grampi near Vandiperiyar.
Elephant rides: The Forest Department, Thekkady offers facilities for elephant rides through the jungle.
Plantation tours: Plantation tours are arranged from the District TourismInformation Office at Thekkady Junction in Kumily (Ph: 0486-322620). Tours cover cardamom, pepper, coffee and tea plantations, tea factories, tribal settlements and the surrounding hill regions.
Kidding around Thekkady
Kurisumala: A place for adventure tourism and trekking. This offers a panoramic view of Kumily town and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Boat cruises on the Periyar Lake: The Forest Department (Ph: 322028) and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.(Ph: 322023) conduct boating trips from Thekkady.
With a plenty of area under tea and spice plantation, Thekkady is a paradise for those who wish to shop endlessly for these items. Spices on sale include fenugreek, nutmeg, black, white and green pepper, rolls of cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and cloves. Other good buys in this part of Kerala include banana chips and T Shirts with exclusive Periyar Tiger Resrve motifs and elephants.
Gardens and Parks at Thekkady
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the periyar wildlife . The periyar wildlife sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of periyar, however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. You can also see wild elephant, gaur, sambar deer, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear and wild boar which can be sighted from the boats. So are 265 species of birdsincluding migrants the hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle etc.
Murikkady (5 km from Thekkady): Washed in fresh spice scented air, murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Vandanmedu (25 km from Thekkady): This is one of the world's largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Lake at Thekkady
Vandiperiyar (18 km): In the river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.