sq km / 77,700 hectares
Established : 1950 as a sanctuary, 1978 as a tiger reserve.
Periyar National Park is situated in the hills of the Western
Ghats in the state of Kerala in SW India. The
centre piece of Periyar National park is the 5,500-hectare
Periyar lake formed by the construction of a dam on the
Periyar river in 1895. The dam submerged low-lying forest
whose dead tree trunks still jut out of the waters. Along the
fringes of the lake are marshy areas with tall grasslands. This
is one of the richest habitats of large mammals, as it provides
both excellent cover and nourishment in the form of succulent
shoots and grasses. Here it is possible to see large herds of
Indian Elephant with relative ease as well as Nilgiri Langur near
Aranya Niwas and the Liontail Macaque in higher areas.
forests are tropical, a mixture of deciduous, semi-evergreen,
and evergreen sholas, the last occurring in the moist
valleys and characterised by tall trees and a closed canopy. The
forests alternate with extensive patches of grasslands. Periyars
rich bird life includes the Giant Hornbill, Cormorant, Darter,
Osprey and Racket-tailed Drongo. The Indian Python and King Cobra
are among the reptilian fauna. Periyar has a few Nilgiri Tahr,
good numbers of which may also be seen on a day excursion to nearby
Eravikulam National Park near Munnar.
Open year-round, the best period being November-April.
Fly to Cochin and drive to Periyar (200 km). The nearest railway
station is Kottayam (114 km).