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Tourist Places To Visit In Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary preserves a magnificent variety of flora and fauna within its protected territories. Tourists that step foot into this sanctuary gain unrestrained access to witnessing virtually most of the breeds of animals that humans have stumbled upon till date. Tourists are greeted by sambar, deer, gaur, and bison ruminating on every possible ounce of grass they could get to.
The sanctuary has been christened after one of its prized assets, the Periyar River. It is an exuberant experience to witness the whole forest wake up in unison at the crack of dawn. There are several vibrant spots in and around the sanctuary, such as gushing waterfalls, sacred shrines, refreshing plantations, and evergreen forest areas. Let us learn about some of these interesting tourist places to tour on your trip to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Walk and Talk with the Resident Tribal Community
Tribal fraternities such as the Palians and the Mannans have inhabited the jungles of Periyar for several centuries. The sanctuary organizes a Tribal Heritage Program that involves getting acquainted with the tribes that prevail within its confines. This is a rare chance to uncover how these people earn a livelihood and go about their daily routine. Tourists walk right through impenetrable forest trails to reach these tribal settlements. Visitors can also make a trip to the Tribal Heritage Museum located within the realm of the Mannan community. This museum displays artifacts that symbolize the rich cultural heritage that these tribal communities have preserved over the years.
Jungle Camping at Night
The sanctuary also hosts a camping program that involves spending a night amidst the jungle’s breathtaking countryside. Tourists need to walk for an hour, starting from the forest check post, before they reach Kokkara, which boasts of a wonderful forest cottage. Once there, visitors can settle down in the midst of nature with only the continuous echoing of jungle roars accompanying them.
The Jungle Inn makes us humans realize that we are deep-seated in the frenzied arms of an immemorial forest. The backdrop comprising of exotic avian species, native species of little animals, and intermittent resonating clamor offers tourists with a splendid setting for the night. Visitors can either feast on some delicious local appetizers or sip on some freshly prepared mountain tea while they bask in the jungle’s natural glory.
The convergence of the Periyar River and Mullayar River brought into existence Mullaperiyar Dam. The dam’s name itself signifies this exemplary connection. Completely set up in 1895, Mullaperiyar Dam stretches to a length of 1,200 feet and soars as high as 155 feet. Constructed to satisfy the water necessities of the surrounding towns, this dam supplies water to cities located in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Apart from this main utility of the dam, it also helps prevent flooding by redirecting the flow of water away from the Travancore province. This symbolizes the importance of Mullaperiyar Dam, with the city of Madurai now having their thirst quenched and the Travancore settlement now living free of frequent floods. The artificial lake formed by the dam presents tourists with a perfect setup to unwind and free themselves of all their stress.
Concealed within the dense forest trails of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Mangaladevi is an ancient shrine that boasts of historical roots from about 2000 years ago. This temple was built in memory of Kannaki, an ordinary woman who fought against injustice. The temple is reminiscent of the bravery of Kannaki, who fought against the unjust ruling king who had killed her husband in a deceptive manner.
This temple is open for veneration only during the Chitra Pournami festival that takes place in April or May. Tourists from all over the country throng the temple during this time in praise and worship or to just get a glimpse of the revered deity. The temple is flanked by remarkable boulders and altars dedicated to Lord Ganpathi and Lord Shiva. In addition to this architectural brilliance and holistic importance, the surreal forest backdrop that the temple is set against sets it apart from any other temple.
Land of the Spice Garden
The district of Thekkady forms the spice hub of South India, especially the state of Kerala. It is only befitting that the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of the renowned Spice Garden within the surrounding vicinity. The Shalimar Spice Resort hosts this Spice Garden, comprising of picturesque cottages that provide tourists with a relaxing and homelike atmosphere. This garden showcases a splendid array of spices such as pepper, clove, cardamom, coffee, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In addition to its arrangement of spices, the garden also nurtures pristine herbs such as stevia, avocado, and lemongrass. Spice Garden wonderfully helps tourists get acquainted with the agricultural and natural significance of Kerala.
Perunthenaruvi Falls magnificently sends water gushing down along the rims of the Pamba River. With a stunning setup outlined by the Western Ghats, these falls present tourists with eye-catching sceneries. The imposing waters of the Perunthenaruvi Falls surge down from about 100 feet and descend into a deep gorge. The sight of the falls in full flow is truly mesmerizing. Fittingly, the term Perunthenaruvi stands for “a great stream of honey”, owing to its magnificent stature as a world-renowned tourist site. The astonishing glamour of these falls attract visitors from all parts of the world. It is pleasing to spend a day in the company of these serene waters.
Mudra Cultural Center
The Mudra Cultural Center showcases awe-inspiring live performances from exceptionally skilled artists. The significant art forms on display at this center include Kathakali and Kalaripayattu. Kathakali precisely stands for “story play” and is a form of dance revered all over the world. Tourists from different parts of the globe come to this center to witness these artists beautifully express themselves through this traditional folk dance. Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial art that emerged from the cultural roots of South India. It is believed that this art form draws motivation from the intense and graceful might of imposing creatures such as snakes, wild boars, crocodiles, lions, elephants, and tigers. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience these ancient art forms in full swing.
Elephant Junction, Thekkady
Elephant Junction is a splendid amusement park that offers tourists with several opportunities to get up close and personal with the majestic elephants that throng the park. Tourists can take up a variety of activities around this center. One of them involves spending time on the back of these royal giants while they bathe themselves. It is a heart-warming sight to watch these gentle giants playfully bathe themselves and the tourists atop them too, if lucky. The center is studded with several plantation farms. A tour of these farms provides tourists with intricate details on how spices are cultivated and nurtured. This is a perfect opportunity for visitors to relieve themselves of all daily hassles and relax in the company of these quaint creatures.
Pullumedu is a hamlet in the hills of Periyar, very close to the wildlife sanctuary. It is an exquisite little town, with natural landscapes and sceneries surrounding it on all sides. Most people who visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary take a jeep ride down to Pullumedu to enjoy a day of exploring its village life and indulging in some hilly mountain terrain and sports.
How can you visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and miss the famed Periyar Lake?
It makes for a star attraction in the vicinity, with its near-divine waters that look refreshing even from far far away. Tourists and locals come around Periyar Lake to sit and enjoy a quiet picnic, while evenings are best spent sitting in a ferry or boat and cruising down the lake. Photographers also find Periyar Lake a natural muse, while thrill-seekers throw caution to the winds and cruise across the water in a zip!
Abraham’s Spice Garden
Abraham’s Spice Garden is home to a whole spread of Indian spices that have made South India such a coveted destination! The plantations here include that of cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. The air around the garden is heavily scented, wafting across your nostrils with promise of the feast to come. You not only get to explore all the plantations but also get to pick up freshly picked spices at the end of your tour.
Connemara Tea Factory
We have indulged in the spices of Periyar, now for the tea.
The Connemara Tea Factory is located smack in the middle of tea plantations where rolling green hills are spiced with fragrant air. You can visit this 40-year old factory and go around to see how raw tea leaves are processed to pack them and ship them so that you get a packet in your kitchen far far away. Of course, there are tea tastings at the end of the tour, as well as an array of teas for you to buy from.