Periyar is a protected area, and a nature reserve in the South Indian State of Kerala, set high in the mountains of the Western Ghats at the border to Tamil Nadu. It lies in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta. The protected area covers an area of 925 km², out of which a 350 km² part of the core zone was made into the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, sometimes dubbed the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is often called by the name thekkady also. Thekkady is located four km from Kumily, approximately 100 km east of Alappuzha, 110 km west of Madurai and 120 km southeast from Kochi.
Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar Tiger Reserve is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India.
Periyar Tiger Reserve is located in the Western Ghats in Idukki District of the Kerala state in India. The terrain of the Reserve is undulating and the drainage is dendrite. North-eastern boundary of the Reserve is a ridge, which also forms boundary between Kerala and Tamil Nadu states for 90 km.
Its a must to go for Jungle Trek during your visit to the Periyar National Park. There are different kind of options available for the Jungle Trek. There are options available for the short trek of 4 hours starting in morning and afternoon. One can also trek with the night patrol with the forest guard through the jungle, when there are better chances of spotting wildlife from up close.
During the trek the flora and fauna can be experienced at close quarters and if one is lucky enough there are chances to sight the bigger animals of the cat family.
Tourists and Pilgrims
There are allegations that The Periyar tiger reserve is a poorly monitored National park and the welfare of the wildlife has been compromised for the Ecotourism project which is undoubtedly considered to be a commercial success in India. The core zone of the park is not accessible to the tourists. Within the buffer zone of 430 km², a zone of 55 km² is kept apart for tourism. Game wardens and staff have been recently spotted illegally fishing and gathering specimens within the sanctuary area. The facilities within the sanctuary are in need of much maintenance and are presently in very poor standards. This has also contributed a steady decline in returning tourists to the sanctuary.
In the buffer zone there is also the temple of Sabarimala, which is visited by about 4 million pilgrims annually.
Its important to recognize, however, that for the very purpose of protecting its wildlife and shielding them from human interference, Periyar National Park allows extremely limited access to the territory under its jurisdiction, restricting tourist entry only to the northern corner adjacent to man-made lake Periyar. Despite this, Park authorities are engaged in a constant struggle against tiger and elephant poachers and other illegal intruders, many of whom destroy the forest to cultivate cannabis in its most inaccessible reaches.