Kerala owes to the fame and beauty the tourist destination, Thekkady has brought to the state. The name itself brings delight and soothing effect on oneself- the woody trees, greenery, natural Periyar Wildlife retreat, boating, rich flora and fauna, birds in ablaze of colors, spice – scented plantations, pleasant weather, rolling hills and so on goes the list. The picturesque destination conjures up visitors from far off lands to behold the wonder of nature and to get pampered on its laps. If you have never been to Thekkady or skipped some of the hideouts while your visit, here are the list of locations you should not miss.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the world’s fascinating sanctuaries, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary stretches over 777 sq.km, of land covered with lush green forest- a site to explore and feel relaxed from the mundane of daily life. Closer to the evergreen plantations, the rich jungle reserve is a sought after destination for tourists. It was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1978, with the concern to protect the endangered species. Diverse wildlife, topology, geomorphology, splendid view of Periyar Lake crossing the park adds to the scenic excellence of the sanctuary. Cruising along the artificial lake, same time a closer watch on the wildlife besides the banks will be a spellbinding experience. At times, you can spot elephants, bison, deer, walks down to drink from the lake or to rest along the banks. The haven is known for its varied and thick evergreen, moist-deciduous, semi-evergreen forests and savanna grass lands. Rich wildlife includes sambar, elephants, lion-tailed Macaques, tigers, Nilgiri langurs, gaur, etc. The destination is also famous for its trekking endeavors.
Located 5 km away from Thekkady, the spot is known for coffee and spice plantations. The main spices are cardamom and pepper. Cuddled in gentle cool breezy climate and aroma of spices, stroll along the agricultural estates will definitely revive your mind and soul. The richly scented spice plantations, adorned with beautiful tiny flowers of cardamom plants, hanging black gold of the pepper vines, lofty valleys and scenic landscapes makes Murikkady a stunning location.
Lying 45 km away from Thekkady, meandering expedition to this enchanting hill station, along the alluring Periyar River, offers mind-blowing glimpses of the vast landscapes draped in vibrant hues of green. Pullumedu (meaning green meadow), can be explored on a jeep safari. The river flowing alongside the hot-spot adds more charm to the heavenly view. Known for velvety lawns, diverse flora and fauna, the place lures nature lovers and botanists. The famous shrine and its illumination, MakaraJyothi of SreeAyyappa Temple, Sabarimala can be viewed from here, though it belongs to the restricted forest zone.
The plantation hill town located 4 km from Thekkady lie on the outskirts of the wonderful panorama of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Even though the destination is washed in greenery, it’s a busy town where tourists can shop spices, famed for its aroma and freshness. Spice chocolates, spiced tea and coffee specialties, preserves, are also available. Apart from these, fresh flowers, garden fruits and vegetables, jute and bamboo products, hot-traditional Kerala pickles, ancient model lamps, furniture, kitchen utensils, high-quality hand loom fabrics, handicrafts, batiks, etc, are best buys. Visit to the Tribal heritage Museum, trekking, elephant rides along the reserve are other activities at Kumily.
Fascinated for its beautiful waterfalls, ChellarKovil is 15 km from Kumily hill station. The view of this sleepy little village is an amazing spectacle for the visitors. Garbed in green, silvery waterfalls spotted between offers a visual extravaganza. The rustic landscape descends to the beautiful coconut groves of Cumbum in Tamil Nadu. Valiyapara and Ottakathalamedu picnic destinations are attractions other than the ChellarKovil waterfalls.
This article is authored by Ajith Thomas who is one of the authors of the blog GreatBackwaters, you can find him at Google+