Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Heaven for Wildlife Lovers
How would you feel watching and clicking a herd of over 20 mammoth elephants bathing in a serene lake just in front of you? Especially when you are a crazy wildlife lover; especially when you’d travelled thousands of kilometres to explore the finest greens of your country; especially when giant wild creatures drive you crazy! The answer is that you become speechless, because the beauty is beyond adjectives, beyond descriptions.
The story starts with my arrival in the dense greens of the Western Ghats in the southern Indian state of Kerala. I was booked in Aranya Niwas – a forest rent house in the park’s tourist complex area. Located 260 km from Trivandrum, 200 km from Cochin and 140 km from Madurai, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of being a Tiger Reserve as well.
I contacted a Kerala travel guide and asked him to take me to the best attractions of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. While entering the dense greens, a herd of playful wild elephants was my first remarkable view near the Periyar Lake. My guide told me that it was a favourite haunt of those elephants for frolicking in the water. While stepping in deeper areas, we came across other inhabitants like wild dog, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur (a primate), bonnet macaque, sambhar, porcupines, squirrels and gaur (Indian bison). Unluckily, we could not spot any leopard but watching those elusive creatures was very thrilling and exciting.
I stopped for a quick bite in the afternoon at a small canteen inside the park. While going through the Periyar travel guide, I came to know that around 260 species of birds are also found at Periyar. My guide, being familiar to the entire area, took me to the other side of the Periyar Lake where I clicked a number of rarest birds like darters, cormorants, ibises, gray herons, mynas, flycatchers, orioles, wood pigeons, kingfishers and blue-winged parakeets.
I returned back to my resort by a motorboat, for which I was supposed to take special permission from the forest authorities. But my guide, again, helped me out in the issue. He insisted me to explore some other nearby places like tribal villages around Periyar and spice / coffee plantations, but I was running short of time. So I preferred going back to my resort. We exchanged our contact numbers and planned a schedule for the next day’s sightseeing as well.