Thekkady, located in central Kerala, is a popular hill station and a wildlife centre. This town, which is an important plantation centre, conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations.
In the Periyar Forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves of India and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold immense opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a fairly good chance of seeing the great Indian tiger in its natural habitat.
With a plenty of area under tea and spice plantation, Thekkady is a paradise for those who wish to shop endlessly for these items. Spices on sale include fenugreek, nutmeg, black, white and green pepper, rolls of cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and cloves.
Other good buys in this part of Kerala include banana chips and T Shirts with exclusive Periyar Tiger Resrve motifs of tigers and elephants.
Pullumedu (43Km.)The winding journey to this hill town, along the Periyar river, offers a stunning view of the rolling hills draped in lush greenery. Velvet lawns, rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu, which can be accessed from a jeep.
Vandanmedu (30Km.)This is one of the world's largest auction centres for Cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantaions of Vandanmedu is a pleasent experience.
Vandiperiyar (18Km.)The river Periyar flowing through the centre of this town nourishes its vast tea, coffee and pepper plantations. A major trade centre, Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Government Agriculture Farm and Flower Gardens have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthurium.
Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary- Thekkady
Murikkady near Thekkady
Attractions and Places to Visit in Thekkady
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary : The rich forest area of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. Spread in an area of 777 sq km, of which 360 sq.km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mulla Periyar dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. Here, you can enjoy the unique experience of observing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. Though the greatest attraction of Periyar are the herds of wild elephants, you can also see gaur, sambar deer, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear and wild boar which can be sighted from the boats. There are about 265 species of birds including migrants, which make your boat ride more lyrical.
Kumily : About 4 kms from Thekkady, this plantation town is closely associated with Thekkady. Situated on the outskirts of the Periyar Sanctuary, Kumily is an important shopping centre and spice trade centre.
Murikkady : Situated 5 kms from Thekkady. Washed in fresh spice scented air, Murikkady is a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi : This is about 5 kms away from Kumily. Cradled between Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu State border, this picturesque place is a popular picnic spot. Pandikuzhi offers great opportunities for trekking and is a photographer's delight.
How to Reach Thekkady
By Air The closest airport to Thekkady is the Cochin International Airport which is around 190 km away. Pre paid taxis are available from the airport that can bring you to Thekkady.
By Rail Nearest Railhead from Thekkady lies at a distance of 119 km in Kottayam. Taxis are available to transfer you to Thekkady.
By Road All buses originating or terminating at Periyar start and finish at Aranya Nivas, but they halt at the Kumily bus stand, at the eastern edge of town.
At least 10 buses daily operate between Ernakulam and Kumily (six hours) and buses leave every half hour for the 114 km trip to Kottayam (four hours).
At least two direct buses daily make the eight hour trip to Thiruvananthapuram. Another goes to Kovalam (nine hours), and another to Kodaikanal, in Tamil Nadu (6½ hours). Only private buses go to Munnar (4½ hours). They all leave Kumily in the morning (from 6 to 9.45 am).