An elephant reserve too, Periyar National Park, was established as a national park in the 1982.lying on the border of another south Indian state Tamil Nadu, it is located in southern Western Ghats, nestled amidst Pandalam Hills and Cardamom Hills.
A protected area in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, Periyar National Park has around 62 varieties of mammals along with a few threatened ones too. Along with elephants around 1000 in number and tigers around 53 in numbers, there leopards, Nilgiri Tahr, barking deer, wild boars 4 species of langurs, foxes, Dholes, sambar (horse deer), mongoose, etc too.
With 320 avifauna species, this national park is quite popular amidst bird watchers. Cormorants, Malabar Pied Hornbill, racket-tailed Drongos, darters, blue winged parakeets, the great kingfishers and so on are some of the bird varieties found here.
Periyar is quite famous for the variety of butterflies, it houses, which is around 160 in number. Some of these butterflies are poisonous too.
In the water resources of the protected area of the park there are 38 different types of fishes, out of which 4 are common to the Western Ghats including Salmon and Trout.
Around 45 different types of reptile species can be found in this national park that includes 13 species of lizard, 30 kinds of snakes such as Python and King Cobra and two turtles.
Over 75 percent of the protected area of Park is evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forest that houses a number of tall tropical tree species such as Vateria indica Bischofia javanica Hopea parviflora etc. 7 percent is Eucalyptus plantation, 13 percent consists of damp leaves forest, 1.5 percent is grassland and the Lake covers the remaining 3.5 percent. Periyar and Pamba River are the 2 water resources of the park.
That is not all. Periyar National Park has around 350 families of medical plants. There are around 3 kinds of seed plants, 170 specoes pf ferns and 3 more than 2000 kinds of flowering plants. The park also boasts of having 145 varieties of Orchids and 169 kinds of sweet grasses.
You can indulge in wildlife viewing in 3 ways- boat riding and motor launches on the Lake Periyar and a 30-minute elephant ride inside the forest. Out of these, boat ride is the most popular way to spot the wildlife residing in their natural surroundings. One of the major highlights of boat riding is viewing herds of elephants quenching their thirst from the lake waters. Admire the lush greenery sprinkled all around you. These boat rides are available twice a day, once in the morning and then in the evening. While the foreign nationals have to pay INR 300, the Indian visitors have to pay INR 25. Please take note that, you have to pay extra charges for boat safari and entry of vehicle.
Unlike most of the other national parks, Periyar National Park is not closed during the monsoon season. Not many are aware that it is popular as one of the best destinations for exploring wildlife during the monsoon rains in India. The facility of boat riding is also available.
- Avoid littering inside the park.
- Carry your own torch, hat, sun glasses, mosquito repellents and necessary medicines.
- Do not forget to carry your own water bottles.
- Wear clothes with neutral colors, which gel easily with the natural surroundings.
- Completely avoid bold prints and loud colors.
- Avoid feeding the animals or talking in loud tones.