Getting to Thekkady, is as sublime as the destination itself. A scenic journey, past mist-capped mountains, spice plantations and open grasslands, lined with spectacular waterfalls and delightful trekking trails, forms the access to your hideaway here.
Perched amidst dense greenery, in the outskirts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the sole Tiger reserve of the Country, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna, is the ultimate reservoir, of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture.
Largest wildlife sanctuary of the Country and a dream destination, Thekkady is a pleasant heaven on earth, for those who love nature, in its wild manifestations.
The climate here is ideal for the cultivation of spices, particularly cardamom, so its no surprise that Thekkady, is a plantation town, surrounded by spice plantations. The Maharaja of Travancore, created the area that is now the Periyar sanctuary, as a wildlife reserve in 1934. It was formerly a royal game reserve.
The sole Tiger reserve of India, Thekkady with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna, is the ultimate reservoir, of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture.
The road to the sanctuary, winds through a picturesque countryside and plantations of tea, cardamom, pepper, cloves and cinnamon in the High Ranges are seen. This is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India and a popular tiger reserve too. Trekking is allowed in the sanctuary and the recommended season is September to May.
Thekkady is the best place to buy spices like cardamom and pepper cheaply. You can also pick up tea and coffee here.
A small town in the Idukki district of Kerala, Thekkady lies at an altitude of 900-1800 m above sea level and is 190 km from Kochi.
The nearby airports are at Madurai and Kochi.
Teni, Kottayam, Madurai and Changanaserry are the convenient railheads from Thekkady.
There are frequent buses from Kumily to various tourist centres like Kumarakom, Munnar, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Idukki, Chennai, Pondicherry, Madurai, Kodaikanal, Trichy and Palani.
Winters are cool and pleasant, while summers are sunny.
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 Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km, is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geo-morphological diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve, attracts visitors from all over the world. 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 remains the large herds of wild elephants that come down to the lakes edge.
This is one of the world's largest auction centres for Cardamom. A walk, through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu, is a pleasant experience.
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 from a jeep. The famous Sree Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations, 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 or The Range Officer, Vallakkadavu.
One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 m above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities, make Munnar a unique experience. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here, is the Neelakurinji, a flower, which bathes the hills in blue color, once in every twelve years. The Neelakurinji will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi - which towers over 2695 m and is an ideal spot for campers, who like to do some trekking.
The 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 villages of Tamil Nadu.
CHELLARKOVIL - This sleepy little village, with its spectacular view of the plains and cascading waterfalls during the monsoons, is a feast to the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Kumbam, in neighboring Tamilnadu.
KUMILY - This plantation town, closely associated with Thekkady, is situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is an important shopping Centre and spice trade Centre.
PEERUMEDU - The famous plantation town, takes its name, from Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and close associate of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore. Wide vistas of tea, cardamom, rubber and coffee plantations, interspeared with silver cascades, abound here.
VANDANMEDU - This is one of the worlds largest auction centers for Cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu, is a pleasant experience.
VANDIPERIYAR - The River Periyar, flowing through the center 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.