enlightened Maharaja of Travancore, realising the significance
of conservation, appointed Mr. S.C.H.Robinson as the first
Game Warden. Based on his recommendations, the forests around
the lake were turned into a sanctuary in 1934, the Nellikkampathy
Sanctuary. The sanctuary which assumed a new identity in 1950
had been managed by a seperate Game department until it was
merged with the Forest Department in 1966. It was declared
a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the famous scheme, Project Tiger.Noted
for its geomorphology, wildlife and scenic beauty, the Periyar
Tiger Reserve attracts travellers from all over the world.
It also harbours an aquatic eco system within itself. Numerous
small islets in the large 50 year old artificial lake remind
us of the intricate, inherent interrelationship among the
terrestrial aquatic and subterrane life forms. This is the
only sanctuary in India where the elephant can be observed
and photographed at close quarters from the safety of a boat.
evergreen, semi evergreen and moist deciduous forests adorn
the hills. There are extensive stretches of Savannah grasslands
on the upper slopes.
evergreen forests have lofty tree and the canopy is closed.
Some of the common dominant trees are Vateria indica (Vellapine),
Dipterocarpus indicus (Kalpine), Cullani excelsa (Karayani),
Plaquium ellipticum (Palai) etc. Semi-evergreen forests
hold a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. Artocarpus
hirsuta (Aini), Salmalia malabarica (Elavu), Hopea parviflora
(Thampakam), Tetrameles nudiflora(Vellacheeni) etc., dominate
in this type. Moist deciduous forests occur interspersed
with grasslands around the lake and along the slopes on
the north. Terminalia species (Maruthy) dominate. Teak,
Rose wood, Pterocarpus (Venga) etc also exist. Grasslands
occur around the lake and on the islets. There is scattered
growth of firehardy species like Anogeissus latifolia (Mazhukanjiram),
Careya arborea (Pezhe), Emblica officianalis (Nelli) etc.The
main species of grass are elephant grass (Cympopogon species),
Saceharum etc which are commonly grazed by elephant, gaur
varied habitat naturally supports a variety of species of
mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes. Tiger,
panther and wild dog, elephant, gaur, sambar, barking deer,
wild boar, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr langur, lion tailed
macaque, otter, Malabar gaint squirrel, civets etc. are
generally sighted.There are several kinds of poisonous and
non-poisonous snakes including the king cobra. Tortoise
may often be seen asking on rocks and tree-trunks by the
lake. The Masheer, the most famous game fish of India exists
in large numbers.The common aquatic birds are the Indian
darter, little cormorant kingfisher, and the black-necked
stork, the great Indian hornbill, peafowl, brahminy kite
and black winged kite.Effective measures to eliminate grazing,
prevent poaching and encourage tourism have been taken.
Eco development is also a thrust area.
Tiger Reserve is under the direct control of the Field Director,
Project Tiger. His office is at Kottayam. There is also
an office at Thekkadi.
entry point to the Reserve is Thekkadi, which is accessibel
by good roads from the airports of Madurai (145 kms), Thiruvananthapuram
(272 kms) and Kochi (190 kms). The nearest rail - head is
Kottayam (115 kms). The nearest twon is Kumily, 4 kms from
There is an information centre at Thekkadi.
2. A mini bus of the Forest Department operates between
Kumily and Thekkadi.
3. A snake bar is at your service at the boat land-ing.
4. Motor boats are available for cruising in the lake.
5. Jeeps are available at the information centre for trekking
in the Reserve.
6. Elephant and horse rides are possible at boat landing.
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation had three hotels;
Aranya Nivas, Edappalayam Lake Palace and Periyar House.
Visitors who want to stay within the forest area can make
use of the Forest Houses for which advance reservation must
be made. Lodging facilities are also available at Kumily.
ideal time to visit the Reserve is October - May.
Latitude : 9° 18' and 9°
Longitude : 76° 55' and 77° 25' East
Total Area : 777 sq. kms.
Core area : 350 sq. kms.
Rainfall : Average 2,500mm
The Periyar lake is 26sq.kms in extent.
The maximum depth near the dam when
the lake is full is 46m.
Terrain : Altitude varies
from 900 m to over 2,000m.
The Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)
Kerala - 695014
Phone : 322217.
The Wildlife Preservation Officer,
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkadi,
Kerala - 685 536
Phone : 2027 Kumily.