Located in the district of Idukki, Kerala and running parallel to the Western Ghats, Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary is India’s biggest wildlife reserve. Spread across 777 sq. km, and surrounded by an artificial lake, formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam constructed across the Periyar river, this reserve is home for animals like Asian Elephants, Bisons, Sambar Deers, Boars, Tigers, Leopards, Wild Squirrels, Lion tailed Monkeys and a wide variety of birds and insects. Noted for it’s diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. It is also know as the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
The main attractions in Thekkady , are the lush green forests, the mystic lake, the cool weather and the unique experience of spotting wildlife at a very close range. The boat rides and short forest treks provide us with great opportunities to get face to face with wild animals. Other important tourist destinations near Thekkady are Munnar, Chinnar, Thenni, Vandenmedu, Pullumedu and Ramakkalmedu.
Jungle patrol in Thekkady is an activity made part of the regular night patrols along the eco-development zones of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Tourists who are in for adrenaline pumping activities will find a fitting answer in jungle patrol. It offers a completely different experience from the other daytime activities in Thekkady. The unpredictability of a nocturnal walk through the Periyar Tiger Reserve makes jungle patrol all the more exciting. Tourists are compelled to keep their senses focused on the unusual sounds that emanate from the jungle during the patrol.
A more significant objective of introducing jungle patrol in Thekkady is to impart a need for conservation of our rapidly degrading environment by highlighting the unflinching determination of the night patrol personnel to keep poachers at bay and forest degradation in check. Tourists involved in jungle patrols will get the impression that they too are being an instrumental part of conserving the forest and wildlife of Thekkady.
Jungle Patrols in the Periyar Tiger Reserve are usually conducted between 7 AM and 4 AM. A group of tourists will be accompanied by protection watchers and armed guards. Only physically capable tourists are encouraged to participate in jungle patrols. With a little luck on your side, you will be able to take home bragging rights of sighting a savagely fierce tiger in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Boating in Thekkady is arranged by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) in the Periyar Lake and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Nothing quite matches the fun of a boat ride in calm and peaceful waters, something that Thekkady offers aplenty. The lake was formed by the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam in 1895. The Periyar lake harbours a unique aquatic ecosystem and the land surrounding the lake is commonly frequented by wildlife.
Boat rides usually span a duration of one to two hours and typical timings are 7.30 AM, 9.30 AM, 11.15 AM, 1.45 PM, 3.30 PM. These numbers tentative and subject to the discretion of the organisers. Seating capacity of the boats vary from 15 to 150. Equipped with high standards of safety, boating in Thekkady is a hassle free low intensity experience suited for tourists of all age groups.
This unique initiative to aid tourists in understanding the harmonious co-existence of aquatic and subterranean life in the Periyar National Park is worthy of commendation. Shutterbugs are encouraged to take advantage of the sublime nature of the lake and its surroundings to capture those perfectly timed photos. After all, a photo of elephants bathing and playing with their calves is one for the “awesome clicks” library.
This programme is part of the regular night patrolling in the fringe Eco development zones of the tiger reserve. By participating in this, one is actually helping in the protection of the forests of Periyar.
The trekking could be at any time between 7 pm. and 4 am. and could be taken by persons having proper physical and mental fitness to trek through the wilderness in the night. The maximum duration for a slot is 3 hours and the maximum capacity of one slot is limited to 8 visitors (to move in two separate teams). They will accompany two protection watchers and one armed forest guard!