Thekkady: A Land of Jungles, Spices and Magic!
Thekkady feels like that cool storming wind on a harsh and gloomy day. It sweeps away your fatigue and replenishes you from within. Located near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, the town is well-known for its rich spice plantations, rounding hills, evergreen deciduous woods and lush-green meadows.
Explore the wild and untouched parts of Kerala on your trip to Thekkady. Home to one of the most important national parks of India, Periyar National Park, the hill town has a plethora of tourist places and activities to offer. Undoubtedly, Thekkady is one of the top tourist destinations in Kerala owing to the nature’s abundance with sky-scraping hills and forgotten-mystic forests. It is what thousands of creatures from the animal kingdom call home.
What makes the hill town even more beautiful and welcoming is the fact that poachers here have converted to protectors. The region was infamous for elephant poaching and cannabis fields but the very locals have now transformed to become the protectors of the jungles. Their guns have been replaced by binoculars and they can recognize the species from a distance to describe them to the tourists.
We invite you to a journey into the jungles of the hill town to explore the best places to visit in Thekkady.
Top Tourist Places & Attractions in & around Thekkady
- Periyar National Park
- Periyar Lake
- Mangaladevi Temple
Recommended Tour Packages
Periyar National Park
Not for the weak-hearted, Periyar National Park is undoubtedly the very first place to visit on your trip to Thekkady. The pride of Kerala, the park is home to some of the rare and endangered wildlife species of India. The sound of hornbills chirping, wild creatures shying from the tourists and dark-mystic Periyar forest together make the experience an exhilarating one.
Tourists can explore the wildlife of the national park through boating and trekking trails. Bamboo rafting on the Periyar Lake is a unique way to spot creatures on the edge of the waterbody quenching their thirst.
One thrilling experience to actually be one with creatures is walking through the Periyar Tiger Trail- a trekking trail that takes you into the woods to spot the erotic shy cat, Tigers.
Tourists can spot the Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, Sambar deers, Indian Bison and Leopards among other species of birds, reptiles and amphibians. One of the finest natural reserves of India, Periyar National Park is the best tourist attraction in Thekkady.
Also Check out: Complete Periyar Tourism Guide
Ever fancied a family picnic among the huge manicured plantations of the ‘Spice Capital of India’? With the aroma of coffee, pepper and cardamom in the air, Murikkady is an ideal destination for a family picnic in Thekkady. At a distance of 5 km from Thekkady, Murikkady is an abode of lush-green rounding hills, perfectly maintained spice plantations and vistas of nature’s beauty.
With clean air and sprawling beauty of a part of God’s own country, no one should miss out this incredible tourist attraction. Opt for nature walks taking you around the whispering winds in the forests with birds chirping in a flock and majestic hills towering over you to climb them and chase the most beautiful sunrise of your life. Plan a day trip to Murikkady for a fun picnic with your family among the bliss of nature.
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Nestled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border is the picturesque hill town of Pandikuzhi. Bestowed with a sprawling beauty of cascading waterfalls, rounding hills, lush-green valleys and hidden creeks, Pandikuzhi is one of the best places to visit in Thekkady. The welcoming hearts of the locals along with the natural beauty of the hill town encourages nature lovers and avid travelers to take up a vacation in the hills of Pandikuzhi.
Adding to this, the hill town is a shutterbug’s haven for all that the camera captures here is the timeless beauty of how nature offers its abundance to mankind. Pandikuzhi is a must-visit on your trip to Thekkady for all that this place has to offer is tranquility and serenity.
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Built in the centre of the Periyar National Park is the manmade Lake Periyar. Surrounded by the rounding chain of lush-green hills, the lake has developed into an entire ecosystem that serves as a home to the wildlife of Periyar. A large area of forest had to be submerged in the water to create it. Tree barks jutting out of the lake is a living example of it.
During summers, the lake becomes the only source of water and tourists can spot herds of wild elephants playing in the water to escape the humid heat along with various species such as tigers, gaur, sambar deer and rare migratory birds.
Thrilling activities such as bamboo rafting takes you deep into the wilderness of the natural reserve through Lake Periyar to explore the wildlife and the tribal settlements of the region from a safe distance. With an ocean of things to see, Periyar Lake makes it to the list of top places to visit in Thekkady!
Also Read: Popular Waterfalls in Kerala
Chellarkovil is a quaint little village located at a distance of 11 km from Kumily. This local settlement is a huge contributor to eco-tourism in Kerala. The dainty village offers spectacular vistas of lush-green meadows, towering hills, white cascading waterfalls and different hues of the setting sun.
Chellarkovil is an ideal tourist destination for nature enthusiasts and travelers seeking an escape from the monotonous journey of city life. The village slows down time for you to breathe freely among the plantations, paddy fields and hospitable locals.
Tourists can indulge in activities like village walks, trekking, nature walks and plantation visits to experience the local heritage of the village. Exploring the dense bamboo forest on foot is something everyone will enjoy.
A watch tower, popularly known as the ‘God’s own balcony’ offers a telescope for visitors to witness and appreciate the glowing beauty of the village.
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Nestled in the dense woods of Periyar is the Mangaladevi Temple which is believed to be 1000 years old. It has a legend attached to it which speaks about Kannaki, a Tamil woman who burnt down the entire city of Madurai to avenge the death of her innocent husband, Kovilan who was wrongly accused of theft. She is believed to reach the Suruli Hills here for her final journey to heaven with her husband.
The temple made up of huge granite rocks was commissioned by the Chera king, Chenkuttuvan. The temple unlike others is opened for visitors once in a year during the Chitrapournami Festival during the month of April or May.
The priests from both the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu perform the rituals and pray to Mangaladevi for great moral power. Visitors who wish to visit the temple need to get prior permission from the Wildlife Warden of Thekkady.
Mangaladevi Temple is not only a religious site but also an exhilarating experience because of the journey through the dense woods of Periyar, making it one of the best tourist attractions of Thekkady.
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Panoramic views of the hills and romantic sunsets make Ramakkalmedu an enchanting retreat. The hamlet in the Idukki district gets its name ‘Ramakkalmedu’ from the fact that Lord Rama set his foot on the rocks here in search of his consort, Sita who was abducted by the demon king, Ravana.
The hill town is blessed with a miraculous wind energy of approximately 35 km/hr. It is one of the windiest places in Asia and because of it you’ll find wind energy farms here. Another main tourist attraction of Ramakkalmedu is the statue of Kuravan and Kurathi, placed atop the hill. From this point, you can witness some of the villages of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
According to the locals, Kuravan and Kurathi are two historical characters who helped find the perfect location for setting up the Idukki Dam. Ramakkalmedu is one of the popular points of tourist interest, therefore do not miss this quaint little town on your trip to Thekkady.
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Parunthumpara is an offbeat destination in the Idukki district near Peermedu. The quiet village literally means eagle’s rock as it offers an eagle’s view of the endless stretch of dense forest and low-lying valleys. Parunthumpara is a trekker’s paradise because it offers challenging trekking trails to reach the Parunthumpara Hill Viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the towering hills covered in dense forest.
The dainty village is also a filming location where many South-Indian movies are shot including Nazrani and Bramaram. Visitors can also witness the Sabarimala forests on a clear day from the hill viewpoint. Free from the toxic carbon footprints, this hamlet offers serene escape from the bustling life of the city.
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Nestled among the beautifully-maintained plantations of coffee, pepper, tea and cardamom, Peermedu is one of the most beautiful hill stations of Kerala. The town gets its name as the abode of ‘Peer Hills’ which were gifted to a renowned Muslim saint, Peer Mohommed who was a dear friend of the Travancore royal family.
Peermedu was also the former summer retreat of the Travancore Royal Family. The majestic vistas of the rolling hills of the Western Ghats with glistening streams and roaring cascades make the hill town a must-visit for every nature lover.
This destination is majorly popular for activities like trekking, horse riding and cycling. Tourists can opt for a morning cycle tour among the huge plantations with the aromatic fragrance of spices and coffee hanging in the air.
Also Read: Top 20 Travel Destinations in North Kerala
Popularly known as the ‘Plantation Town’ or the ‘Gateway to Thekkady’, Kumily is the most popular tourist attraction in Thekkady. Formerly called Kuzhumoor, the region used to be the capital of the Thekkumkoor kings which was later annexed by the Travancore kings in the 18th century. The hill town offers sprawling beauty of the Western Ghats and is a busy commercial town because of the high-grade spice plantations.
During the British Raj, it was the Britishers who bought or leased the land and cleared a vast stretch of forests to initiate the plantation of coffee, pepper, tea, rubber and cardamom. Sharing its boundary with Tamil Nadu, Kumily is an important trading centre along with a holiday destination. The beautiful mist-covered hills with dense forgotten woods make Kumily a perfect getaway on your trip to Thekkady.
Also Read: Top Kerala’s Historical Places & Monuments You Must Visit
Popularly known for being the world’s largest auction centre, Vandanmedu is undeniably one of the must-visit destinations of Thekkady. The high-grade cardamom plantations fill the air of the town with a mesmerizing aroma which makes it hard for tourists to leave this magical land.
Vandanmedu takes you back in time with its centuries-old buildings constructed during the colonial era. Britishers constructed various buildings and post offices for the communication regarding the spice plantations.
During recent times, the post offices are being used as the government residences for its officials. With a commercial air around the town, tourists can also witness the sprawling beauty of nature with the sky-scraping hills and dense woods of the Western Ghats.
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Thekkady is an abode of Mother Nature in every sense. Located in God’s own country makes this destination a flawless one. With a spike in eco-tourism, tourists flock to this region in order to explore the diverse gifts of nature in the form of rounding hills, mesmerizing cascades, glistening streams and mystical woods. Every traveler must-visit the above mentioned attractions for an unforgettable experience of the serenity the beautiful town offers!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q.What is Thekkady most popular for?
Thekkady is popular for one of the finest natural reserves in India, Periyar National Park. It is also known for its high-grade spice plantations along with spectacular hill-stations.
Q.What is the best time to plan a vacation to Thekkady?
Thekkady is an all year-round destination of Kerala. It lures the wildlife to Lake Periyar in summers while turning lush-green during the monsoons. The winters are ideal for tourist activities such as trekking, bamboo rafting, canoeing and elephant riding. Different seasons bring out the different aspects of the region to let the tourists choose according to their needs.
Q.What accommodation facilities are available for tourists in Thekkady?
Thekkady is an ideal destination for eco-tourism and thus offers eco retreats among the jungles and hills of the Western Ghats. Different types of accommodation ranging from luxurious five-star hotels and budget hotels to lavish resorts and cultural homestays are available to tourists.
Q.How can we reach Thekkady?
Thekkady can be reached by:
- Air: The nearest domestic airport from Thekkady is the Madurai Airport, located at a distance of 136 km. On the other hand, the nearest international airport is the Cochin International Airport, located at a distance of 190 km. Tourists can easily avail cab services to reach the town.
- Rail: The nearest railhead is Kottayam Railway Station, located at a distance of 114 km.
- Bus: Kerala State Road Transport Corporation offers regular bus services to reach Thekkady.
Q.What are the other top destinations to visit nearby Thekkady?
Other top destinations to visit near Thekkady are Abraham’s Spice Garden, Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, Anakkara and Vandiperiyar among others.
About the author
Sheetal is a passionate traveler of paths less travelled. If curiosity to see places was a person, it would have been her for sure. Impromptu plans run her life. She only has one motive in life, i.e., happily roaming the world. Get on board with her journey to a life filled with places, people and magic!