Thekkady is situated around 257 km from Trivandrum, 141 km from Madurai City and Madurai Airport, 145 km from Cochin International Airport, and 114 km from Kottayam railroad station. Thekkady is situated close to Kerala-Tamil Nadu fringe. The haven is acclaimed for its thick evergreen, semi-evergreen, sodden deciduous woods and savanna prairies. It is home to groups of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-followed macaques, and Nilgiri langurs.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 777 km, of which 360 km is thick evergreen backwoods. The natural life haven was announced as a tiger hold in 1978. The unbelievable fake lake framed by the Mullaperiyar Dam over the Periyar River adds to the appeal of the recreation center. The best attractions of Periyar are the gatherings of wild elephants, deer, and bison that come down to relish the lake. The asylum can be gotten to by trekking, drifting, or jeep safari.Thekkady is viewed as a paradise for characteristic flavors, for example, dark pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, nut mace, ginger, and clove. Home to the nation's biggest Tiger Reserve-Periyar, Thekkady is an extraordinary method to appreciate a wilderness excursion.
Periyar National Park, being a significant fascination, is one spot where you can appreciate bamboo boating in the catchment zone of Mullaperiyar Dam, climbing, and amidst the wild, shopping! Well known for its great eating joints, you can likewise make the most of its tremendous stretches of zest gardens and different experience sports. You can likewise appreciate a night trek in the wild of Periyar. The early morning ride in the vessel inside the asylum is an incredibly amazing encounter and you may have the option to spot wild elephants, buffalo, wild pigs, different sorts of winged animals, and so forth. Ankara is likewise found close by which is an incredible spot to appreciate nature. Murikaddy has situated around 5 km from the city and is popular for its espresso and flavor ranches. Basement Kovil is another territory found close by with plenty of pleasant cascades and falls. Mangala Devi Temple, situated at a height of 1337 m and away off of around 15km from Thekkady opens just on the Chitra Pournami celebration.
Places to Visit In Thekkady:
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary – Meet The Animals
In the banks of Periyar Lake lays the pride of Kerala – The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. This is a protected area placed in the Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala. The sanctuary which borders with Tamil Nadu is located in the Cardamom and Pandhalam hills in the Western Ghats. The wildlife sanctuary is also famous for its tiger reserve and elephant reserve. Out of the total protected area of 925 sq km, the 350 sq km was declared as a national park in the year 1982. Often this park is addressed as either Periyar wild life sanctuary or Thekkady.
The history of the Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary and National Park is closely related to the construction of Mullaperiyar Dam. The construction of the dam across the Periyar River led to the formation of Periyar Lake in the year 1895. In 1899, the forest surrounding the lake was declared as Periyar Lake Reserve Forest. Later in 1950, the forest was expanded to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
With the launch of Project Tiger 1978, authorities began to think about the importance of protecting the endangered species. The wildlife sanctuary was well known for its tiger population. Considering this, the sanctuary was bought under the Project Tiger mission and was made the 10th Tiger Reserve in India. When the Project Elephant mission was launched in 1991, the sanctuary was also declared as an Elephant Reserve too.
Visiting the sanctuary will be like exploring the nature around, enjoying the pristine and peaceful atmosphere around and getting relaxed from your busy schedules. Periyar wildlife sanctuary is famous for its rich flora and fauna. The forest here is tropical evergreen and moist deciduous. You can see here teak, rosewoods, sandalwoods, mangoes, tamarinds, banyans, bamboos etc.
Entering deep into the forests, you will be able to sight around 35 species of mammals like Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, jungle cat, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque etc. The sanctuary is also unique with its bird population. Around 265 species of birds are present here. Common birds like Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Nilgiri flycatcher etc are seen here. If lucky you may be also able to watch rare species like black baza, Nilgiri thrush, little spiderhunter, brahminy kite, great hornbill etc.
Lots of activities are organized inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. You can enjoy the wildness with a trekking programme. The programme is arranged from morning 7 am to evening 3 pm. Other activities are jungle patrol, bamboo rafting, jungle inn, jungle camp, border hiking etc.
Ideal time to visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is from October till June. After the heavy monsoon it will be difficult to sight the wild animals as there will be enough water inside the jungle itself. You can sight them outside during dry season as they will come out in search of water. The nearest town to the sanctuary is Kumily (4 km). Adequate bus services are available to this town from Ernakulam, Kottayam and Madurai cities.
Mangla Devi Temple – Pray For Well-Being
Deep inside the forest of Periyar Tiger Reserve, you will find a 1000 years old ancient temple of Mangaladevi. This is the place, where, Kannaki, a legendary Tamil woman, betrayed all her grudge and transformed herself to be a divine lady (Mangaladevi) showering blessings upon the people on earth.
Hidden in the dense forest of Periyar Tiger Reserve, between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Mangaladevi Temple at Thekkady is not just a place for pilgrimage tourism, but a place where you can find the wildness of the forest and the enchanting beauty of the nature. The temple is located 7 km away from Pazhiyankudi in Theni district and 15 km from Thekkady in Idukki district.
There is a mind boggling legend behind this divine temple of Mangaladevi. Kannagi, the devoted wife of Kovalan, took revenge against killing her innocent husband by accusing him as a thief. It is said that she burnt the whole Madurai city and later she reached the Suruli hills. From here she went to the heaven in Pushpaka Vimana along with Kovalan. Getting inspired from this story, Chera Chenguttuvan, the ancient Tamilakam King, erected this temple of Mangaladevi here. The story of Kannagi was narrated to the Tamil poet, Illango Adigal by Chenguttuvan and later Illango wrote the famous book 'Silappathikaram', the story of Kannagi and Kovalan.
Mangaladevi TempleThe temple is famous for its Pandyan architecture. The boundary walls and the steps leading to the temple are made up of huge stones. The location of the temple on the top of the hill itself proves the effort taken to complete the structure there. Apart from Mangala Devi you can also sight some other idols there. Entering the complex you can see the idol of Karuppuswamy, on the left side there is Lord Shiva and you can also sight a sanctorum for Ganapathy too. You can also find an underground passage from this temple. Numerous stories revolve around this passage. According to the local people, the passage leads to the Madurai town and some says that the passage will take you to the Pandya Kingdom.
Like the other temples in Kerala, Mangaladevi temple is not opened all the year round. The devotees can only worship the Devi during the time of Chitrapournami festival which falls on the month of April/May. This festival which occurs on a full moon day is jointly organized by the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments. The priest from both the states comes to perform rituals during the festival. As the temple is in the edge of ruins, the panchaloham idol used for the festival is bought from Kambam.
Goddess Mangala is decorated with flowers, silks and poojas are performed. Thali (sacred thread used by married women) and bangles of women is kept for pooja here. This festival is very auspicious for women and the women folk offer pongala (cooked rice) to the Devi. Adequate measures are taken to avoid the disturbance to the eco system with the over crowding of the devotees.
To make a trip to Mangaladevi temple, you will have to get prior permission from the wildlife warden of Thekkady. The journey to the temple is an interesting and daring experience. You can reach the temple only with the help of a jeep. The 12 km long way to the temple is covered with dense forests and grasslands. You will also get a chance to experience the delightful sights of Nilgiri Tahr and other varieties of flora and fauna.
Abraham’s Spice Garden – Praise The Aroma Of Fresh Spices
Abraham’s Spice Garden, is a venture started in 1952 by Mr. Varkey Varkey, grandfather of the current owner, Mr. Abraham. As you travel in Thekkady – Kottayam route, 3 kilo metres from Kumily at Spring Valley, in Idukki district of Kerala is this family run spice garden spanning a huge area of 2 acres. Tourists are offered a well guided comprehensive tour of the spice garden.Mr. Abraham, who fluently speaks in six different languages, personally takes you along the length and breadth of the garden, happily sharing the family wisdom on the organic cultivation of spices, gained through first-hand experience.
It adds to the beauty that the garden just does not restrict itself to the conventional notions of a garden, but is indeed rich with its myriad variety of fruits including the different varieties of banana. This spice garden accommodates cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, vanilla, ginger, turmeric, old spices etc. They also have a small store, where you can buy farm fresh spices, which makes the Indian curries stand out in flavour and smell. Abraham’s also takes in local orders of spices within the country and get it couriered to the locations. Abraham’s Spice Garden is a not to be missed captivating spicy experience, if you want to gain first-hand knowledge on spice cultivation and buy farm fresh spices.
Murikkady – Gape At Vast Meadows
Murikkady is a scenic spot situated at a distance of 5m from Thekkady. This region is best known for its vast stretches of plantations. It is located closer to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and it would be smart to combine these two places in a single visit. Coffee, tea, pepper and cardamom are cultivated abundantly in the plantations of Murikkady. The aroma of the spices fills the entire regions and the breeze passing through the plantations are sure to energize those who visit this place. Various plantation tours conducted in the region of Murikkady attracts a good number of travellers. It is an ideal spot for Trekking and family picnics. Enchanting pepper wines, salubrious greenery, aromatic fresh air, misty mountain ranges and green-carpeted valleys make this place a favorite holidaying destination. The picturesque beauty of the place is sure to kindle the interests of both nature lovers and photographers alike.
Kadathanadan Kalari Centre – Know More About The Culture
The origins of Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest martial arts forms in the world dates back to almost 300 years ago. The ancient sage Parasurama who according to legend, is said to have reclaimed the land what we today know as Kerala from the Arabian Sea, was taught this martial art form by Lord Shiva himself.
The sage Parasurama an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself, set up 42 kalaris (threshing floors) with twenty one disciples. It is said that he sage did this to protect the new land that he had reclaimed from the sea. Kung-fu, a martial art form popularized by the monks of the Shaolin Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma, a Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master from India.
Kalaripayattu is a holistic art form that is aimed at the ultimate co-ordination and control of the mind and body. The use of weapons as an extension of the body, controlled by the mind is used to achieve a high degree of protection in both offensive and defensive combat situations. The inherent beauty of this art from lies in the harmonious synergy of art, science and medicine. The intense training demands a stringent dedication and sense of discipline. There are four levels of training – basic, intermediate, advanced and instructor level. The basic level training involves unarmed fighting techniques through which the aspirant achieves mastery over his body movements and balance. In the intermediate level, the student is trained to attain the agility, flexibility, and co-ordination of body movements. The advanced level involves training with weapons. Finally the instructor level involves proficiency in the usage of sword and shield, spear and lastly the ’urumi’ or spring sword.
Kalari literally means “threshing floor” and traditionally a kalari is constructed by digging a hollow in the ground forming a sunken area four feet in depth, forty two feet in length and twenty one feet in breadth. This is usually called Kuzhikalari. Kuzhi means ‘pit’ and Kuzhikalari literally means a fighting pit.
Thekkady has its own famed kalari called the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre. One can visit this kalari and one can see the martial art form practiced here.
Kumily – Admire The Nature
Kumily is the gateway town to the tourist hot beds of Thekkady and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The town is always teeming with activity. It is famous for its spice and tea plantations and is among the most important commercial centres in Kerala. A high volume of spice trade happens via Kumily. The bazaars (markets) are full of fresh produce that are highly valued and recommended to all who visit the area.
As the border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, this wonderful little town is best known for its plantation walks, exotic wildlife, boating and trekking. The plantation walks are among the best the State has to offer. From Sabarimala devotees to tourists, everyone can find reasonable accommodation and excellent services in this town.
Chellarkovil – Watch Water Gushing
Chellarkovil-an immaculate town 15 km away from Kumily. It is undeniably situated in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu fringe in the Anakkara Panchayath. Viewed as a standout amongst other the travel industry spot in the Idukki locale, Chellarkovil consistently draws in voyagers from everywhere throughout the world. Chellarkovil is acclaimed for its greenish mountains, falling cascades, and beautiful excellence. The goal is to put around 1200 m over the ocean level. At the point when you reach Chellarkovil, you will feel like this is the spot that you were yearning to visit for quite a while.
The delightful town stands one of a kind with its eco-the travel industry venture. There are various network-based eco-the travel industry ventures started in this spot. The eco-the travel industry venture was propelled in the year 2008 with the assistance of the Chellarkovil Eco-Tourism Community Center with a base subsidizing from the state eco-the travel industry and timberland office. The townspeople here started the undertaking.
Identified with this undertaking, you can see here the number of cottages, way ways, watchtower, the herbarium of therapeutic plants, a vacationer comfort focus, etc. You can appreciate here guided trekking, guided zest visit, ayurvedic garden, and other town exercises. The salary created through this venture is utilized for afforestation, condition assurance, and other condition related tasks.
Chellarkovil At Chellakovil, you can discover a watchtower and there is a telescope put on the gallery. This gallery is known as 'God's own overhang'. The view from here is extraordinary. The most delightful sight from here is the dawn and dusk. There is a delightful cascade here which is awesome during the rainstorm season. Another claim to fame of the cascade is that the fall starts from Kerala however contacts the land at Tamil Nadu flooding the vegetables and developing fields of Tamil Nadu.
This spot is undeniably associated with the outside world through street, rail, and air. Nearby transports and taxicabs are accessible from the Kumily town. The closest railroad station is the Theni rail route station (60 km) and the closest air terminal in Madurai (140 km).
Pandikuzhi – Perfect Picnic Spot
Another enchanting destination for nature lovers is Pandikuzhi. They are heaven for those travellers, who love more to indulge with nature and want to be one with the greenish environment. Varieties of flora and fauna, the chilling streams are some of the specialities of Pandiluzhi, which is ideally placed between Chellarkovil and Tamil Nadu Border. If you are an adventure lover, or a person crazy with camera and photography, then don't delay your trip to Pandikuzhi.
The deep valleys, the exotic flora and fauna, the unique heritage, the beautiful streams, the splashing waterfalls, villages and event the people around will make you stay here and to visit this place again and again. Pandikuzhi is located just 5 km away from Kumily. People nearby localities and those who are easily connected to this place, prefer it as a weekend destination others can choose this place while their trip to Thekkady. People, who are always busy with their daily chores, find this place as a getaway to relax and rejuvenate them. The nature itself involves in this healing process.
Don't ever miss the cascading waterfalls of Pandikuzhi. The waterfall, splashing from 1200 feet height, is a sight, which you can never miss. Imagine the waters sprinkling upon you, the roaring sound of the water splashes and the cool climate around. Now, why wait to be at Pandikuzhi
Reaching Pandikuzhi is not a big job for you. It is easily accessible through bus, auto or simply by a trekking. You can board a bus from Kumily to Kattapana and just get down at Ettammile or Anakkara. You can also choose an auto rickshaw to Chellarkovil, which is around 1 km away from Pandikuzhi. Now an adventure lover can choose a trekking to Pandikuzhi, which is also advisable. Another choice is to board a bus from Thodupuzha to Kattapana and alight at Puliyanmalaor and then get into a Kumily bus and alight at Ettammile.
Pandikuzhi welcomes you round the year. But the best time to be here will be from September to March. From morning till evening you can roam around this beautiful destination. Entry fees are not needed. You will be getting facilities like restaurants, hotels and resorts at Pandikuzhi.
Periyar Lake – Opt For Boating
One of the most famous lakes in Kerala is in Periyar. The Periyar Lake is often also referred to as the Thekkady Lake. However, its unmistakable location inside the Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary has ensured that it’s widely known by the name of Periyar Lake. Governed by the Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department, the lake sees footfalls of hundreds of thousands each year.
Interestingly, this lake was created artificially when Kerala’s longest river, Periyar or Mullaperiyar, was dammed in 1895. The Mullaperiyar Dam formed the present day Periyar Lake which is spread across 10 square miles or 26 square kilometres.
This reservoir is famous for its water birds which can be observed from close quarters when you go boating on the lake. Periyar Lake is inside a protected area and contributes to the conservation of plants, fowl, fish and wild animals, some of which are rare, endemic and also endangered.
While the Periyar National Park goes far back in time, the lake has its own history. In 1895, the Mullaperiyar Dam was built over the Periyar River. A few years later, in 1899, the Periyar Lake Reserve was formed through the efforts of this masonry gravity dam. The lake remained mostly untouched while the surrounding forested area saw a slew of change in ownership and status from that of a private game reserve to a wildlife sanctuary, and to finally a national park.
Vandiperiyar – Paradise For Nature Lovers
Vandiperiyar is a beautiful small town located in the Idukki District of Kerala. It is a very famous tourist attraction featuring cultivation of different spices with ultimate view. The prominent river Periyar flows through this town, which further helps in providing water for irrigation and other domestic uses. During the visit, tourists can head to the Flower Garden and Government Agricultural Farm, where array of rose plants, orchids and anthuriums will offer you an eye pleasing sight. The production of tea, coffee and pepper over here leads to the source of income for large amount of people living in this village.
Vandiperiyar is located 18 km from Thekkady in Idukki district. The River Periyar flowing through the centre 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. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuriam.
Elephant Junction Thekkady– Spend Time With Elephants
Elephant Junction, Thekkady, located about 2 kilometres from Kumily, spread over 16 hectares of forest, is an elephant park which offers you options to familiarise with the elephants in their natural settings. Here you can watch them, feed them, see them at work, ride on them, bathe them and get drenched by them.
Spring Valley Mountain – Amazing Viewpoint
Spring Valley Mountain is the most height mountain in Kerala. Due to the sea height the path to reach to the top of the mountain is so circular and zig-zag path just like as spring.This mountain covered so many places in Kerala. The main reason of coming of people here is they can see the overall look of Kerala very easily from here.This place is so safe during the season of summer because in the winter time there is so fog that you cannot see the path very easily. Also in running time the clouds come near to the path, which also create disturbance to see long. So, you can easily go there at the time of summer with any of Kerala trip from Mumbai also.
You can visit there so many different types of animals and plantation. This mountain always includes the Valley in which you can see the tree plantation regular in few kilometers. Also, it planted on the disturbed place where the earth, having a slope down platform.This place is so beautiful when you see it with feeling it, but it is more beautiful when you see the overall look of this Valley from the top of the mountain. You see, the only greenery and atmosphere that gives you peace of mind.
Green Park Ayurvedic & Spices Plantation – For A Retreat
Set amidst an amazing landscape of Thekkady, the Green Park Ayurvedic & Spice Plantation is an ecological park with so much of nature within. This park is 100 percent eco-friendly and has honey bee colonies, natural fish aquarium, artificial paddy field, suspension bridge, fruit plantation etc. The spot is a kingdom of nature and here travellers would feel the freshness of life along with the passage of time.
Green Park gives tourist a chance to spend some time in the vicinity of nature and learn about different kinds of Ayurvedic plants and spice plantation. Traditionally built tree houses in the perfect wooden ambience give an unbeatable experience to the tourists. Here you would have plenty of opportunities to pose in front of the largest suspension bridge. It is the largest suspension bridge in private sector which is around 200 meters long and 20 feet tall. Tree houses are the unique identity of Green Park.
Visitors to this park are offered with an opportunity to synchronise oneself with nature and closely experience the wonder of nature. The natural and serene environment provided here gives ample space for the visitors to relax and rejuvenate their body and mind. People engaged in catering the needs of visitors are also very experienced who strive to provide highest satisfaction to the visitors. For nature lovers, who wish to spend some quality time in an unadulterated form of nature, Green Park is better than any other place in the country.
Ramakkalmedu – Witness Thekkady Greenery
A hill station and hamlet in the Idukki district of Kerala, Ramakkalmedu is one of the most beautiful destinations in Kerala, which cannot be neglected while having a trip to the Gods Own Country.Ramakkalmedu is located in Karunapuram Panchayath, just 15 km east of Nedumkandam in Thekkady. Ramakkalmedu stands on the Western Ghats at an altitude around 3500 ft above the sea level.
The origin of the name 'Ramakkalmedu' is quite interesting. 'Rama-kal-medu' means 'Land of Rama's stone' or otherwise 'the land where Lord Rama kept his leg'. As per sources, one story is that this is the place where Rama kept his feet, while in search of his beloved wife Sita. As per Hindu epic "Ramayana' Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, the ruler of Lanka.
While reaching Ramakkalmedu, you can only find wind all around. The place is known to be the land of wind. You will feel that the wind will make you fly and it will be very difficult for you to stand still resisting the wind. Here the wind blows at a speed of 35 km/hour, which is said to be recorded as maximum in Asia. Blessed with this wind energy, Ramakkalmedu is the second place in Kerala, where you can find a wind energy farm with a capacity of 12.5 MW.RamakkalmeduThe first wind energy farm in Ramakkelmedu was inaugurated in the year 2008 by then Chief Minister of Kerala, V S Achuthanandan. The farm was set up with private participation and now you can find around seven wind farm units here. The sight of the massive wind mills is very exciting to the visitors. You will find yourself as a very small creature in front of this huge structure of wind mills. Be at the place on evening to experience the complete effect of the wind. You can go near the wind mill but you will not be allowed to enter inside.
Ramakkelmedu hills in thekkady Ramakkelmedu is also famous for the statue of Kuravan and Kurathi. The statue is placed on the top of the Ramakkalmedu hills. C B Jinan is the architecture behind this beautiful statue, which was erected in 2005. From here you can have a panoramic view of villages and towns in Tamil Nadu like Theni, Cumbum, Kombe, Thevaram etc. It is not a tough job to reach on the top of the hills as you can use vehicles or if you want to walk that is also possible. But vehicles are not allowed to enter the statue premises. From here you can also sight the wind farm.
There is an interesting story behind this statue of Kuravan and Kurathi. It is said that Kuravan and Kurathi are two historical characters behind the construction of the Idukki dam. The rocks between the Idukki dam are named after them. According to the sources, Kuravan and Kurathi helped the authorities to find the right place for constructing the dam. You can see the statue of Kuravan with his family along with a cook upon the hills. But tourists are not allowed to climb upon the statue. You can also sight a mandapam behind the statue, which has been built for tourists to take rest.The destination is around 36 km from Kumily.