Thekkady a pleasant celestial bliss on earth where one can see ‘nature in its purest form’. A place that will amaze you beyond belief, making it one of the hottest tourist destinations in ‘God’s own country’- Kerala Thekkady. Uninterrupted rows of green trees, stunningly beautiful landscape, rolling hills and chirping birds all these make it to become one of the most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala Thekkady.
The very mention of Thekkady conjures up eye-catching sceneries of Mother Nature and the crisp and cool air of Thekkady will give soothing to your soul and body. An important centre for the spice trade, you’ll come across an array of spice scented plantations. Rich in its wide and unique variety of flora and fauna, Thekkady is also famous for its Periyar wildlife sanctuary, one of the largest tiger reserve in Kerala.
Tourist Spots in Kerala Thekkady
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the 27 tiger reserves in India, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady is the oldest. It is also the largest protected area in Kerala. Situated on the high ranges of Western Ghats, this reserve area which sprawls 777 Sq .km, is rich in nature’s bounty and is one of the world’s richest bio-diversity spots. This vast forestland is also the habitat of Asian elephants.
The Periyar Lake spreading across an area of 26 square kilometers is the most prolific feature of this wildlife sanctuary. With the engineering skills of the British engineer, Colonel J Pennycuick, a dam was constructed in the year 1895 in order to divert the water to TamilNadu for irrigation. The Lake serves an important source of water for the many wild animals.
In 1899, the area around the lake was declared as reserve forest. In 1978, the sanctuary became part of Project Tiger, an initiative to protect the animal and hence declared as Periyar Tiger Reserve. The core area of their serve has been notified as National Park during the year 1982.
The Periyar wildlife sanctuary can be divided into four categories. The open grasslands, which are the common dining hall of herbivores; then the deciduous forest, dominated by trees, which shed their leaves seasonally; the semi evergreen forests close to the wet and stream areas and finally the sholas or tropical evergreen forests where only a limited stream of sunlight will be allowed. The most exhilarating experience to this sanctuary is the Boat cruise on the lake. It is really a lifetime experience where you can see herds of elephants frolicking in the water, coming down to the shore for a drink, and swimming across the lake.
An important centre for the spice trade, Kumily is also a major tourist destination. A plantation town, Kumily is situated in the cardamom hills near Thekkady and the Periyar Tiger Reserve. While strolling along the town you’ll find the air heady with the aroma of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Famous for its horticultural spice gardens, tourists will get the opportunity to learn how spices are grown.
A must see place to be included in your itinerary; Murikkady is just 5 kilometres away from Thekkady. It is the place famous for its vast area of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Nestled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border is an important excursion point called Pandikuzhi. The abundance of nature’s flora and fauna and the gurgling streams makes this picturesque place a trekker’s delight and a photographer’s paradise.
Mangala Devi Temple
Situated at an altitude of 1337 m above the sea level is Mangala Devi Temple, devoted to Goddess Mangala, the main deity. Set amidst in the thick forest, this ancient temple is located on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and is 13 kms from kumily. The architecture of the temple is in the traditional Pandian style. The major attraction of this temple is the Chithra Pournami day, which held once in a year, where pilgrim’s visit this place to offer their prayers and pooja to the deity Mangala.
The forest department keeps a strict vigil over this area and special permission is required from the Chief Conservator of Forests, Vazhuthacaud, Thiruvanathapuram to pay a visit to the temple. One can reach to the temple only by means of jeeps from Kumily.
Fifteen kilometers from Kumily is Chellarkovil, a little hamlet which offers a breathtaking view of the Cascading waterfalls, plains and coconut groves. The specialty of Chellarkovil waterfall is that the place where the water starts falling belongs to Kerala, and the place where the water touches the land belongs to Tamilnadu.
Twenty-five kilometers from Kumily is Vandanamedu, the world’s largest cardamom auction centre. This is a great picnic spot where you can have an exhilarating journey through the cardamom plantations.
This fabulous hill station Pullumedu is from where the famous Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa and the Makara Jyothi illuminations on the day of ‘Makara Sankrathi’ at the shrine are visible. This place is only accessible by jeep and special permission must be obtained from the wildlife preservation officer.
Hills draped in silk; that is what Pattumala means. Located six Kilometer away from Peermade, Pattumala is surrounded by lush green tea plantations. Set on top of a small hill, the main attraction of this place is the Velankanni Matha Church, the famous pilgrim center built entirely in granite. It is also home to the two famous tea estates namely AVG and Co and Harrisons Malayalam.