Thekkady in Kerala, India, is part of the Idukki District and is an important tourist attraction mainly due to the Periyar National Park. It is set high in the Western Ghats with wooded hills, spice plantations, and a large wildlife reserve. Thekkady is an example of nature’s bounty with great scenic charm, rich biodiversity, and providing genuine visitor satisfaction. Sprawling across an area of 777 km² with a 26 km² artificial lake, Thekkady is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Below is a comprehensive guide to the places you must visit and things you can do in Thekkady.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: The most prominent attraction in Thekkady is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a haven for flora and fauna. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, which is significant as it allows the preservation of the Bengal tiger. However, the park is also home to large herds of Indian elephants, gaur, deer, wild pigs, and a variety of birds. The reserve is also known for its rich biodiversity and the scenic beauty of the Western Ghats.
Visitors can enjoy boat rides on the Periyar Lake to spot animals along the shore. Early morning boat rides are popular for animal sightings. Jungle safaris, nature walks, bamboo rafting, and border hiking are other activities that allow you to explore the dense forests.
Kumily: Close to Thekkady, Kumily is a bustling town with the aroma of spices in the air. Known for its spice markets, it's the place to buy high-quality spices grown in the surrounding plantations. It is also a hub for spice plantation tours, where visitors can see the cultivation of spices like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Murikkady: This spot is famous for spice and coffee plantations, located about 5 km from Thekkady. Visitors can stroll through the plantations and learn about the process of growing and harvesting spices. The area is also known for its scenic beauty and panoramic views.
Mangala Devi Temple: Situated at an elevation of about 1337 m above sea level, the temple is surrounded by dense forests and offers a panoramic view of the eastern slopes of the Ghats and some villages of Tamil Nadu. It's only open during the Chitra Pournami festival and requires special permission from the forest department to visit at other times.
Chellarkovil: This sleepy little village is known for its greenery and cascading waterfalls. It is the perfect place to experience a tranquil sunset with a breathtaking view of the plains and cascading streams.
Anakkara: An emerging spice tourism destination located about 13 km from Kumily, Anakkara is dotted with spice plantations and offers unique experience of spice plantation tours.
Pandikuzhi: A picturesque place perfect for photography and trekking, it is a delightful spot for picnics and long mountain walks.
Ramakkalmedu: Offering panoramic views of Tamil Nadu villages and towns along the Western Ghats, this wind-swept region is also home to the Kuravan and Kurathi statues, which are associated with the local tribal folklore.
Parunthumpara: It is a small village known for its eagle rock and vast expanses of grasslands. The trek to the top offers a bird's eye view of endless stretches of green forests.
Gavi: Part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Gavi is rich in flora and fauna. It's a quiet, beautiful place that offers activities like trekking, wildlife watching, and camping.
Vandanmedu: This is one of the world's largest auction centers for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.
Pullumedu: The Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. This area is also part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and is known for its rich flora and fauna.
Elephant Junction: For an unforgettable experience, visit the Elephant Junction where you can interact with elephants, take elephant rides, bathe them, and enjoy the experience of being close to these majestic creatures.
Periyar Lake: Artificially created by the British in 1895 for irrigation purposes, it surrounds the Periyar National Park. The boat ride on the lake is one of the most popular activities in Thekkady, where one can spot various animals drinking water and bathing.
Kalvari Mount: It provides a majestic view of the Idukki Reservoir as well as the surrounding forests. It’s a fantastic trekking destination.
Cultural Shows: Kathakali performances, a classical dance-drama known for its colorful and elaborate costumes and makeup, as well as Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial arts form native to Kerala, are not to be missed.
Ayurvedic Spas: After all the trekking and sightseeing, indulge in some rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments at one of the many spas in Thekkady.
Spring Valley Mountain (Kurisumala): It is a place for adventure tourism and trekking. The hill offers a panoramic view of spice plantations and tribal settlements.
Plantation Tours: Several resorts and companies offer guided plantation tours which can provide a deep dive into the farming practices and culture of spices in Kerala.
Border Hiking: A day-long conservation-oriented hard trek taking up a full day, starting at 8 in the morning and ending in the evening, taking one to altitudes of 900 to 1300 meters.
Bamboo Rafting: Day-long rafting programs take one through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Kerala is a state located in the southwestern region of India. Known as "God"s Own Country," Kerala is renowned for its scenic beauty, rich cultural heritage, and diverse cuisine. The state is known for its palm-lined beaches, backwaters, and network of canals, which make it a popular destination for tourists. Kerala"s capital is Thiruvananthapuram, and its official language is Malayalam.The state"s economy is largely driven by agriculture, tourism, and remittances from Keralites working abroad. The state has a high literacy rate and is known for its progressive social policies, including the implementation of the first democratically elected communist government in the world in 1957.
Periyar Wildlife in Thekkady is a popular place for conservation of various species of animals including elephants, tigers and gaur. Along with its wildlife, Thekkady attracts tourists and visitors from all over the world for its scenic beauty. To see the best wildlife in Kerala, you should enjoy the boat trip to Thekkady Lake.