The hill town of Thekkady is surrounded by a vast wilderness of dense evergreen forests, lakes and plantations. The land is home to a popular wildlife reserve where tigers and herds of elephants roam. Go wildlife spotting, enjoy long walks through the mountains and camp overnight in the jungle.
Spread out over hundreds of square miles is the Periyar National Park, a protected area in the Cardamom and Pandalam Hills. Go on a boat cruise along Periyar Lake to see elephants bathing and playing by the water’s edge. You can also traverse the waterway on a bamboo raft. Visit the park’s Elephant Junction to ride these magnificent creatures through the forest.
The national park is part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Go on the Tiger Trail, a one or two-night trek through hills and valleys to look for tigers. Your overnight accommodation will be in tents pitched in the forest.
The reserve also hosts a number of other guided walks, normally lasting between two hours and a full day. Look for bird species such as flycatchers, thrushes and hornbills on the Nature Walk and hike through deciduous forests and marshy grassland on the Green Walk.
For some evening entertainment, go to the park's Kadathanadan Kalari Center. Watch skilled athletes perform martial art displays, accompanied by music, fire and loud drum beats.
A visit to the national park is also an excellent opportunity to study Thekkady’s tropical flora, including eucalyptus trees, orchids, banyans and jacarandas. Enhance your knowledge of the area's plant life with an excursion to Deepa World Spice and Ayurvedic Garden. Here you can tour plantations filled with herb and spice and plants and learn about products made from them.
Reach Thekkady by flying into Madurai Airport. At a distance of approximately 84.5 miles (136 kilometers) this is the nearest airport. Make the rest of the journey by taxi or rental car. Thekkady's wildlife and beautiful natural scenery can be enjoyed throughout the year. However, bear in mind the monsoon season is between June and September and some activities are weather dependent.