The pride of Kerala and a testimony to nature's splendour and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple - a beautiful old stone temple situated in the heart of the Thekkady forest, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters. The Periyar Widlife sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wiild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.
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 the play in the lake.
How to reach there :
Nearest railway station : Kottayam Railway Station & Ernakulam Railway Statio Nearest airport : Cochin International Airport, about 190 km.
Wayanad lies at an altitude varying from 700 - 2100 metres above the sea level. The district has the highest number of tribal settlements in Kerala. The hill ranges of Vythiri taluk (taluk is a sub division of a district), through which the road from Kozhikode ascends the Wayanad plateau over the mind boggling bends and ridges, are the highest locations of Wayanad district.
Established in 1973, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. The sanctuary is very rich in flora and fauna. The management lays emphasis on scientific conservation with due consideration for the general lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around the forest region.
Pookat Lake : A natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forest and rolling hills. A fresh water aquarium with large variety of fish is an added attraction. Tourists can also avail of boating facilities, children's park, and a shopping centre for handicrafts and spices.
Kuruvadweep :This 950 acre, uninhabited island on the eastward bound Kabani river is an ideal picnic spot. The wooded stretch of land is home to rare species of birds, orchids and herbs.
Thirunelly Temple : Surrounded by Kambamala, Karimala and Varadiga, the Thirunelly temple is a marvel of temple architecture. The shrine is shielded with 30 granite columns and the ground is paved with huge square pieces of granite. The crystal clear waters of the Papanasini river running downhill add to the enchantment of the place.
Pazhassi Tomb :The memorial of ' the lion of Kerala' - Veera Pazhassi Raja - who organised the guerilla warfare against the British East India Company, is situated at Mananthavady. The Pulpally cave is where Pazhassi took refuge until he was captured by the British.
The Glass Temple of Kottamunda : This temple is located on the slope of Vellarimala and is dedicated to Parswanatha Swamy of the Jain faith. The mirrors inside the temple walls reflect images of the icons in the temple's sanctum sanctorum.
Pakshipathalam : This place can be accessed only by trekking. Rare species of birds can be sighted from the watch tower of this bird sanctuary.
Boy's Town:Herbal garden, nature care centre, sericulture unit, perma-culture centre etc., established by the Wayanad Social Service Society and Jean Park (the Indo-Danish project for promoting herbal gardening) are situated here.
Chembra Peak:At 2100 m above mean sea level, Chembra is the highest peak in Wayanad and is an ideal area for trekking.
Edakkal Caves: The two caves are located at a height of 1000 m on Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavayal. The New Stone Age pictorial writings on the walls of these natural caves at Edakkal are evidence of the civilisation that existed in these regions in prehistoric times. The caves can be accessed only by a 1 km trekking trail from Edakkal. Morning hours are the best time to visit the caves. Entry is permitted only up to 17:00 hrs.
Lakkidi : Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad, is situated 700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat pass. Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to this hill station.
How to reach there :
Nearest railway station : Kozhikode about 63 km. Nearest airport : Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode about 63 km. Road : Well connected by roads from Kozhikode, Kannur, Ooty (175 km from Kalpetta) and Mysore (140 km from Kalpetta)