Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Thekkady Travel Blog› entry 13 of 37 › view all entries
Itâ€™s only about 110 kilometers to Thekkady, our next stop on the route, but since there are no highways in (southern) India, it still takes us quite a while to get there.
As soon as we arrive in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and head for the small town of Thekkady, itâ€™s as if we have arrived in a completely different world. Thereâ€™s hardly any traffic (and therefore, no honking horns, finally!) and we canâ€™t see any people anywhere. Itâ€™s quiet, and cooler than in the cities, we are starting to think we died and went to heaven.
Periyar is a protected area and nature reserve, set in the mountains. It covers an area of about 777 square kilometers, out of which a 350 square kilometers part of the core zone was made into a tiger reserve.
Ajit drives us to Hotel Ambadi, a beautiful, hotel looking a bit like a lodge. It consists of several small buildings and they are all surrounded by great green trees.
After weâ€™ve had lunch in the cozy hotel restaurant (itâ€™s best to stick to Indian dishes, the western food is not that great), we all walk towards a dock at Periyar Lake, which is located a couple of kilometers down the road. We could choose to do a forest trek with a guide, or a boat ride to see the animals drink from the river banks. Rens and I figured we would see most animals from the boat, so we join most of our travel companions at the dock and climb on board of a worn out and rusted boat cruiser.
While we take a seat, we notice a sign in front of the boat, it says: â€˜do not disturb the animals, please be quietâ€™.
The views from the boat are stunning and we can see lots of different deer at the shores and birds the fly across the water. There are 62 different kinds of mammals in Periyar, including many threatened ones. There are about 53 tigers and 900 elephants, but also many deer, foxes and leopards. We keep our eye out for one of those, but the chances we can see any of those creatures are very slim.
There are also 320 different kinds of birds and 45 different kinds of reptiles (snakes, turtles and lizards) and a remarkable variety of butterflies. We donâ€™t see any rare or large animals, but that doesnâ€™t make the boat ride any less pleasant. The view is amazing and there are plenty of animals to spot, including a sun bathing snake.
We have dinner at the hotel restaurant as well, the food is fine and we really donâ€™t feel like leaving the quiet and peaceful part the hotel is situated in and look for a restaurant in what may be a busier side of town. We spend the evening reading a book on our balcony and we mainly enjoy the silence and rest. What a difference this is with the part of India we had seen so far!