Periyar Tiger Reserve is a sanctuary famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is the natural home to herds of wild animals, such as elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs.
Sprawled over an area of 925 Sq .km., Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and an efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba.
People who once earned a living by conducting illegal operations in the forests have become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through the tourist programmes. Hence, as a visitor, when you join them in any of these programmes, you are directly contributing towards forest conservation and welfare.
Take a boat ride for about 30 min on the Periyar Lake to spot the tiger, leopard and Indian elephant coming to the lakeshore to sip cool water. Watch the wild boar, deer and other animals too taking a dip in the water.
Thekkady is considered as a heaven for natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, nutmace, ginger, and clove.
Periyar Tiger Reserve
Thekkady, is nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor delight. Sprawled over an area of 925 Sq .km., Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and an efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba.
People who once earned a living by conducting illegal operations in the forests have become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through the tourist programmes. Hence, as a visitor, when you join them in any of these programmes, you are directly contributing towards forest conservation and welfare. Take a boat ride for about 30 min on the Periyar Lake to spot the tiger, leopard and Indian elephant coming to the lakeshore to sip cool water. Watch the wild boar, deer and other animals too taking a dip in the water.
Market of Spices in Thekkady
Kumily, on the outskirts of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, is a plantation town closely associated with Thekkady. While Thekkady is a sleepy, picturesque place garbed in greenery, Kumily is a busy town. The spice and tea plantations and the bustling spice trading activities have made Kumily one of the important tourist and commercial centres in Kerala. Buy your spices from Kumily. They have been organically grown and sold at half the rate compared to other states of India.The following spices are a must-have for every kitchen.Black Pepper – commonly known in Kerala as Black Gold, is an inevitable ingredient for hot taste and aroma, it is added to dishes to correct the seasoning. Pepper is a good preservative which is used in baking, pickling, canning and for preserving meat.
Vanilla – Sweetness and natural fragrance make vanilla essential for many culinary preparations such as desserts and cakes. It is used as an additive agent in the preparation of ice creams, candies, confectionaries and beverages.
Cardamom – also known as Elaichi. It has a special place in the Kerala cuisine. It is essential for payasams (a sweet dish often served during festivals and special occasions). Cardamom and its powder form are used as condiment agents around the world. It is also used in baked foods and confectionaries.
Cinnamon – is used as an essence agent in making confectionaries. It is also used in the making of liquor, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. While the cinnamon bark oil is known for its anti-fungal properties, cinnamon leaf oil is used in the manufacturing of perfumes and cosmetics.
Clove – Also known as unopened flower bud. Wholly or in powder form, is used as a flavouring agent for culinary purposes in several countries. Interestingly clove goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. The carminative and stimulant properties give clove high medicinal value. It is a preservative and is also used as a flavouring agent for meat dishes.
Nutmeg & Mace – are used as condiments. The ground form of both, are used in the food processing industry.
Nutmeg oleoresin is used in the preparation soups, sauces, confectionaries and baked foods. It is also used for seasoning meat and vegetables.
Mace is more intense in flavour and is used in the preparation of savoury dishes.
Turmeric – is widely used for flavouring and as a colouring agent for food items. It is an essential in curry powders.
- The turmeric oleoresin - is used in brine pickling.
- The whole or powder turmeric - stomachic, carminative and tonic properties give turmeric high medicinal value. It is a good blood purifier and an antiseptic.
Ottakathalamedu - View Point
The tall tower is manned by Kerala Police to observe hunters and poachers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. From the view point, at a distant, you can see a Temple. There is a mind boggling legend behind this divine temple of Mangaladevi. Kannagi, the devoted wife of Kovalan, took revenge against killing her innocent husband by accusing him as a thief. It is believed that she burnt the whole Madurai city and later she reached the Suruli hills. From here she went to the heaven in Pushpaka Vimana along with Kovalan. Getting inspired from this story, Chera Chenguttuvan, the ancient Tamilakam King, erected this temple of Mangaladevi here. The story of Kannagi was narrated to the Tamil poet, Illango Adigal by Chenguttuvan and later Illango wrote the famous book 'Silappathikaram', the story of Kannagi and Kovalan.
Tamil Nadu - View Point
The famous British Army Engineer, Colonel John Pennycuick, had built a water reserve for the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, when the Britishers did not complete it. As legend has it, Colonel John, took this mammoth task on his shoulders. Colonel Pennycuick decided to divert the west-flowing Periyar (river)'s culmination in the Arabian Sea towards the East so that it could irrigate lakhs of acres of dry land depending only on Vaigai River. They flew the lands of Tamil Nadu and Kerala noting the points to connect the behemothic massive water pipes via a helicopter.
Though Pennycuick and other British Engineers went ahead with the construction, braving the nature's fury and the dangers of poisonous insects and wild animals, the construction works were disrupted by relentless rain. Large number of sand bags kept for the construction of the dam was destroyed due to severe flood. Since he could not get adequate funds from the British government, Pennycuick returned to England and sold his family property to mobilize money to fund the project.
The project was completed in 1895. A statue has been commemorated in his name, Colonel John Pennycuick. Today, these water pipes are now clearly seen and used extensively in and around the regions, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From the viewpoint of the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border, today a huge farming land is prevailing, where farmers prosper due to water irrigation because of Colonel John Pennycuick.
Forests Of Thekkady
As forests are known for their wildlife, there are a few to catch your eye, as they roam the roads while you drive. Glimpse for the extra huge Malabar squirrel, tigers and leopards at night.
Grey Langur - the White monkey for its mischievous character.This monkey has white body fur and black fur on its head. They are known to steal your food from your vehicle or your hand.
Niligiri Langur - the Black monkey is known for its calmness and is also known to be a strict vegetarian.
This monkey has glossy black body fur and golden brown fur on its head. It is similar in size and long-tailed like the gray langurs.
Females have a white patch of fur on the inner thigh. It typically lives in troops of nine to ten monkeys. The animal is often seen encroaching into agricultural lands. And most famously, The Hanuman Monkeys which truly look like Hanuman Lord. However, if you are lucky, they are visible, as they roam most of the dense forests and rarely are seen on the roads.
Gavi is an eco-tourist spot in Kerala, popularized after \'Alistair International\' the world acclaimed tourism major, listed it among the leading eco-tourism centres and one of the must-see places in India. Gavi is a short distance by road of 51 kms from Thekkady.This place is rich in flora and fauna. There are hills and valleys, tropical forests, sprawling grasslands, shoals (patches of stunted tropical montane forests), cascading waterfalls and cardamom plantations.
Gavi Eco-Tourism has caught the attention of tourists nationally and internationally, mostly for their fabulous adventurous activities. Since Gavi, located in Pathanamthitta district, it offers visitors activities of trekking, wildlife watching, outdoor camping in specially built tents, and night safaris.Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. With more than 260 species of birds including the great pied hornbill, woodpecker, and kingfishers, Gavi is a heaven for birdwatchers.It is also known for its vast wildlife. Endangered species including the Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat) and Lion-tailed macaque are often sighted at the outskirts of Gavi. Kerala’s very own treasure elephants can be sighted abundantly. If you are the bird watcher, Gavi is the place for you.
The Evergreen Countryside of Kerala
Vagamon is a tiny tea and coffee plantation township in Central Travancore, Vagamon has shades of various greens in emerald, jade, dark and light shades, with a never-ending line of lush green hills, breathtaking narrow valleys and meandering brooks.A perfect tourist place situated 1200 meters above the sea level spot surrounded by the greenery of tea gardens, fresh cool air, humming pine forests, delicate waterfalls, and colourful vibrant meadows inviting you to Vagamon.
Reaching Vagamon itself is an extraordinary knowledge of life. The wondering road to Vagamon is created in solid rock lined with pine forests. And as you wind your way through green-capped hills, the rolling vast plains come into view through long descents below.
The green countryside is a verdant spot. Do away with your shoes, and stand bare feet on the grassy hills, velvety lawns and breathe the cool mountain air. Vagamon is an experience, reliving life as being truly re-born by trekking across the chain of three hills - the Thangal hill, the Murugan hill and the Kurisumala, important for Muslims, Hindus and Christians respectively.The little dairy farm of the Kurisumala monks, is worth the visit.