Unique landscape explored by boats, rafts and jungle treks

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Sailing gently on the placid waters of the Periyar lake, watch herds of Elephants, Gaur and Eurasian otters around the lake shores. Big cat sightings are rarer but the rich birdlife is an excellent compensation.

Unique landscape explored by boats, rafts and jungle treks

Located at the southern end of the Western Ghats, Periyar Tiger Reserve is a green expanse of hills, at the heart of which lies the man-made Periyar lake, the park’s main visitor focus. The Western Ghats are believed to be amongst the oldest mountain chains in the world, and are a renowned biodiversity hotspot.

In Periyar, Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Sambar Deer, Indian Wild Dog (Dhole), Leopard and Barking Deer are among the main mammals. The reserve also hosts an amazing 1,965 species of flowering plants, including 171 grass varieties, 143 orchid species and the only south Indian conifer, Podocarpus Wallichianus.

There are sizable populations of Nilgiri tahrs, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri Langur and the delightful Malabar giant squirrel amongst the unusually rich compliment of Indian mammals, amphibians, fish and reptiles but most of the wildlife resides in the quiet interiors.

The lake that was once a forest

During the 18-19th centuries, the forest was the hunting ground of the Travancore kings. In 1895, the Mullaperiyar dam was constructed across the Periyar river, forming a reservoir across part of the forest. By creating this artificial lake, the dam changed the landscape and features of the valley drastically.

The forest was declared a reserve in 1899 by the Maharaja to stop encroachment by tea plantations, later being declared a game sanctuary in 1934 and becoming part of Project Tiger as a national park in 1978.

The lake’s placid surface is perforated by dead trunks of trees that once grew on the land prior to the lake’s creation. Not only do they make the scenery ethereally beautiful on misty mornings, they also provide perches for hungry Kingfishers and Ospreys which can often be observed swooping and catching fish. Mahseer and other multi-coloured fish can be observed from the boat in clear waters.

The lake is the nucleus of the reserve and the place where the elephants and the avifauna come to frolic, to drink water and to cool themselves with dips in the hot months. down to play.

Today, the reserve houses at least 40 tigers and hundreds of elephants and its rich jungles with their fascinating biodiversity attract visitors throughout the year.

Experiences

In addition to boat safaris, the park offers nature walks, night treks and overnight camping in the jungle with trained tribal guides, all of which add up to a totally unique Indian jungle experience.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)