Many people describe Thekaddy (also known as Periyar Sanctuary) as the most beautiful wildlife sanctuary in India. It is definitely the best if you want to see the elephant in the wild. Covering an area of 780-sq. km. it encompasses a lake that has been created by constructing a dam on the place where the Periyar River flowed.
The best way to try and spot the animals is perhaps to book one of the forest bungalows, which require you to be isolated in the night after hiking into the forest. You can also book one of the observation towers. But reservations have to be done well in advance. The Forest Dept. also organises nature walks in the park.
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The other, and popular, way is to hire your own boat or to take a tour on the passenger ferries that move around the lake. Even though they make enough noise to scare away most animals, it is still well worth the trip, as you get a chance to see the wild elephants, birds, monkeys, turtles and otters.
The best time to view the elephants on the lake is early morning. However, in summer months they can be spotted at the lake more often.
Where to stay
When to visit
How to get there
Buses: Take a bus to Kumily which is the town bordering the park. Buses are available from neighbouring places such as Madurai.. Taxis can be hired from most towns.
Air: The nearest airports are Madurai (140 km) and Kochi/Cochin (200 km).
Rail: The railhead at Kottayam is 120 km away and those at Madurai and Kochi (Cochin) as above
Information: Courtesy Government of India
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.