Thekkady is a part of the Idukky district of Kerala. It is where the Periyar Tiger Reserve is located. It is on the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border and is famous for the reserve and its spices such cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and clove. The sanctuary is famous for the moist deciduous forest and savanna grass lands. It spreads across 777km and about 360 Km of it is forest. You would find elephants, Sambars, tigers, Nilgiri Langurs and lion-tailed Macaques in the sanctuary.
The best part about this sanctuary is the artificial lake created by Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar river. It is not uncommon to see elephants, bisons and deers come down from the forest to drink water from the lake. There are also boat rides available for tourists who can enjoy the beauty of the tranquil lake and the surrounding hills that seem to engulf the place. I happened to visit this place during the monsoon season and while the boat went mid way tender showers of rain fell and the passing gale threw the drops into the boat. It was an amazing feeling to be amidst the lake with the cold breeze and rain drops on my face and when I opened my eyes the surrounding greenery made me over whelm with happiness. I was also fortunate to see otters playing with each other or may be trying to catch their meal in the lake during the boat ride.
The sanctuary also has the options of forest trekking for which permission needs to be taken from the forest department. But it is an exciting expedition because before you tread the forest you are equipped with leach socks that are ankle length which makes you feel adventurous and the real adventure begins when you cross the lake to reach the forest. There are rafts made of bamboo that lead you to the other end. The thought of crossing 50 to 100 meter deep lake standing on a bamboo raft did send cold shivers across my body but trekking the forest was an experience it was all worth for. Once you start walking in the forest with an armed forest guard you notice a variety of trees that are only found here and there are various kinds of mushrooms and lichens on most trees. I also got an opportunity to sight a flock of hornbills rush right above me. Their large wings flapping amidst the canopy of trees made it sound like that of a brewing storm.
The forest has over 1965 flowering plants including 171 grass species 143 species of orchids and 265 varieties of birds. The sanctuary is also a home for cobra, viper, krait and numerous non-venomous snakes. There are also a few watch towers in the Periyar forest reserve that are the best for viewing wild animals. So if you are a nature lover then this is an apt place for you to feel and be amidst Mother Nature. It is also one of the best places for clicking beautiful pictures and also sight wild animals.