The Periyar Tiger Reserve is a renowned wildlife sanctuary and national park located in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. It was established in 1978 and is named after the Periyar River that flows through the reserve. Spanning an area of around 925 square kilometers, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is known for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural beauty.
The primary aim of the Periyar Tiger Reserve is the conservation and protection of the Bengal tigers, which are among the most iconic and endangered species in the world. The reserve provides a secure habitat for these majestic animals, along with several other wildlife species, including elephants, leopards, sambar deer, barking deer, wild boars, gaur (Indian bison), and various species of primates, reptiles, and birds.
One of the unique features of the Periyar Tiger Reserve is the artificial lake called Periyar Lake, formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River. The lake serves as a vital water source for the wildlife and offers visitors an opportunity to witness wildlife activities from boat safaris. The boat safaris provide a peaceful and scenic experience as visitors cruise along the tranquil waters, surrounded by lush green forests.
Apart from the tiger reserve, the Periyar region is also famous for its spice plantations. Visitors can explore these plantations and learn about the cultivation and processing of various spices like cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. The region’s tea and coffee plantations are also popular attractions.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve offers several activities for tourists, including nature walks, trekking, bamboo rafting, and guided wildlife tours. The guided walks and treks take visitors through the dense forests, allowing them to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region. Bamboo rafting is a unique experience where visitors can float along the Periyar Lake on bamboo rafts, enjoying the serene surroundings and the chance to spot wildlife.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve has also undertaken various community-based ecotourism initiatives, involving local communities in conservation efforts and providing them with alternative livelihood opportunities. These initiatives promote sustainable tourism practices and help in creating awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.
Overall, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. It offers a chance to witness the beauty of the Western Ghats, observe wildlife in their natural habitat, and learn about the significance of conserving these precious ecosystems.