After spending several days exploring Kerala’s backwaters and Kochi, the near-100 percent humidity began to lose its appeal.In search of fresh air and new experiences, we decided it was time to head inland and uphill.
We took the bus from Kottayam to Kumily, which is the closest town to Thekkady. As we climbed the ghat by road (which has nine hairpin turns), we almost had breathtaking views of the hills, tea plantations, and jungle.Sadly for us, our bus driver appeared to be either extremely late or simply determined to drive in the most bizarre manner possible.Hire a taxi or private driver for the drive for more comfort, fewer “thrills,” and more views and photo opportunities.
We were greeted by a cool breeze when we arrived in Thekkady, a small town that is popular with tourists who come in large numbers to see Periyar Tiger Reserve, the area’s main attraction.
Activities in Thekkady
Periyar is the focus of most of the area’s “activities” in one way or another.We had a great time exploring the town, trying banana chips, and bargaining over their price in our lovely, environmentally conscious resort, Spice Village. More on that later.
Here are some things to do in Periyar, which is also known as Periyar National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve.But it’s probably best to be clear from the start about one thing:The likelihood of seeing a tiger in this area is extremely low.Instead, spending time in Thekkady is a great way to relax, reconnect with nature, and take in the stunning wildlife and scenery of Kerala.
Nature Walks in Periyar were our favorite way to see just a little of the city.One of CGH Earth’s Naturalists from Zest Town acquainted us with a nearby aide, who took us for an early morning stroll into Periyar Public Park.Yes, we entered the tiger reserve by walking in.Periyar is one of only a few parks in India where the general public can enter without being escorted by a guide.Only a small portion of the park can be explored on foot, and the walks are well-maintained. Fortunately for us, this does not include the portion of the park where larger or more dangerous wildlife is frequently found.
We had the opportunity to experience the tranquility and beauty of the forest in the early morning, heard about various plant species, and saw a lot of birds.We encountered a herd of hungry (and, it seemed, grumpy!)byson, also known as wild buffalo, who had begun fighting.We hurriedly retreated, amazed by the noise and energy.
One of Periyar’s community tourism initiatives are the nature walks. In addition to providing a quieter version of Periyar than you’ll find anywhere else, one of the best things about them is that they support tribal communities in the area around Periyar National Park.The walks provide employment and direct financial benefits to the park from tourism, and the guides typically hail from these tribal villages.
Walks can be arranged through your hotel or attempted at the Periyar entrance gate, where buses into the park depart.
Boat Trips on Periyar Lake: Throughout the day, boat cruises on Periyar Lake depart, with the last one at 3.30 p.m. being the most popular.We were told that tickets needed to be purchased the day before, but it turned out that you can buy tickets on the day of the event if you go to the KDTC office inside the park (show up 1.5 hours early to buy).Our least favorite thing to do in Thekkady was taking a boat trip on the Periyar Lake, which is the most popular activity in Periyar.
The boat trip is more like a cruise than a chance to see animals.Even though we were extremely fortunate to see an elephant herd at the lake’s edge, we did not enjoy the boat ride as a whole because passengers were loud and disrespectful, selfie sticks were pushed, pushed, and smashed, and there was a lot of shouting.Onboard signs requesting passengers to be quiet were ignored.The staff on the boat threw their plastic bottles into the water without thinking.It’s safe to say that both the lake’s beauty and our chance to see an elephant were diminished.
Rafting on Periyar Lake: You can raft across the lake on your own bamboo raft as an alternative to the noisy and popular boat trip.The rafts leave around 8 a.m., so make your reservations early!Pontoons are joined by an aide as well as an outfitted backwoods officer.This would be our preferred method of exploring the lake if we were returning to Periyar.
Trekking: In addition to the nature walks that lead into Periyar (see above), there are a number of other trekking options that lead into the stunning surroundings.The length and difficulty of the longer treks, which cover higher elevations, range from one day to multiple days.Guides and armed forest rangers always accompany trekkers.Through your hotel, learn more about treks.
Support Tribal Heritage: Various tribal groups have lived on the park’s edges for generations around the forests of Periyar.The Mannan and the Paliyan are two of the largest tribes.These communities are at risk of losing their customs to time and memory as India’s rapid development continues.Tourism offers the chance to support the preservation of some of their customs, cultivates an interest in tribal life, and benefits the local economy.You can go on a walk with a guide from one of the tribal communities or to the tribal heritage museum.
Capable The travel industry in Thekkady.
Thekkady and Periyar are two of Kerala’s most popular destinations, and the state has become well-known to both domestic and international tourists.As a result, tourism’s impact and pressure are growing.Wildlife habitat shrinks as more development takes place and more people visit.The following are some pointers to help you make the most of your time in Thekkady and contribute to the preservation of this stunning region of Kerala for future visitors.
Try to stay at a hotel or resort that takes care of the environment and does business in a responsible way.This means, among other things, employing locals, recycling their waste, and sourcing local goods.It’s a hint:Try Spice Village, which is above.
Plastic, specifically water bottles, should be avoided wherever possible.In Periyar Lake and the surrounding area, we observed an appalling number of plastic water bottles, the majority of which end up in the stomachs of animals.Drink safe, filtered water (we love our handy UV filter in case you’re in a hotel without one) to set an example.Alternately, if in doubt, request boiled water at your lodging and top off your reusable water bottle.
If you’re in the park, bring any trash or trash home with you.Since there are few waste disposal options, you should bring your trash back to your lodging with you to avoid leaving it on the floor.
If you see any other people littering, please explain the issue to them and pick it up.
When you’re in nature, be quiet because animals often have very sensitive ears.Noise deters wildlife, reducing your chances of seeing it and that of future visitors.
From afar, you can have the best encounters with wildlife.Although we acknowledge that each person must make their own decision, we oppose interactive wildlife experiences.As a result, we do not recommend going to the Periyar elephant experiences that offer riding, washing, bathing, and other activities.Although the elephants are kept in excellent conditions, we have heard conflicting accounts, and we are aware from previous experience that it is difficult to determine how animals are actually treated.So our rule is in the event that you can ride it, embrace it, or have a selfie with it.. stay away.
Help the locals.In India and around the world, rural communities are in jeopardy because younger generations are moving to cities for work and traditions are fading.Stay in local lodging, eat at local restaurants, buy souvenirs made locally, and even chat with younger locals to help them improve their language skills and learn about their culture are all ways to support them.