Thekkady in Kerala is the perfect spot for adventure and thrill-seekers. Although it is known chiefly for its reserve forests and exotic wildlife, Thekkady has to offer much more than that. Speaking of wildlife, the place is home to some rare species of animals, such as wild boars, sambar, spotted deer, langur, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Indian bison and elephants, tigers and leopards and more. You are more likely to have wildlife sightings in Thekkady, than anywhere else.
A trip here promises to entice and bring you close to nature. There is a lot to do here – sail on a bamboo raft on the Periyar Lake, take informative tours of coffee, tea and spice plantations, set out on jungle expeditions, enjoy nature walks, and trek through the jungles. Thekkady has the right ingredients for a fun-filled, adventurous break.
If you are planning to spend a few days jungle trekking in Thekkady, we suggest you book yourself into the ABAD Green Forest Resort, in Kumily, Thekkady. Our resort would be an ideal option to move in and around Thekkady and visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The jungle cottages and jungles rooms are cosy and exude positive vibes and provide a feel of the jungle. You get buffet breakfast, and there is free Wi-Fi to help you stay connected with your world. And there are a host of other modern amenities to make your stay comfortable.
Trekking programs on Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is just a kilometre away from our jungle resort in Thekkady. You can reach there easily for your forest trekking in Thekkady. There are several trekking itineraries offered at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Short treks: A short trek is of about 4-5 kilometres long and takes roughly three hours to complete. It is suitable for those who want to experience trekking through the jungles, without pushing themselves. You get to see a variety of birds and butterflies and a few wild animals. The trail takes you through grasslands and deciduous and evergreen forests. It is conducted in groups of a maximum of 4 people and costs INR.300 per head
- Experienced treks: These treks are long and arduous and suitable for experienced trekkers. Trekkers venture deep into the Periyar Sanctuary, to reach the ruins of the Mangaladevi Temple. Attempt this trek only if you are physically fit and have experience in trekking. The distance between the start point to the temple is about 12 km, so the total trek is double that distance
- Border Hiking: Set out in the morning, in a group of 10 hikers (maximum strength) on a full-day hike that takes you through difficult terrains. Needless to say, this strenuous trek promises to be quite thrilling. The hiking group is accompanied by an armed forest guard and two guides.
- Jungle patrol: This is a fun activity that happens at night. Two guides and an armed forest guard guide the trekkers through the forest, on a three-hour expedition
Permission from the Forest Department is required for undertaking a trek through the protected area. Treks conducted by the Forest Depart., to Manakkavala and Nellikkampetty start at the Thekkady Boating Centre. The other popular routes are from Kumily – Pandikuzhi and Kurisamala – Kumily.
Periyar Tiger Trail
An initiative of the Kerala Tourism Department, the Periyar Tiger Trail is aimed at being a ‘protection-oriented trekking programme’. It is a guided tour and what is interesting is that the men who serve as guides were once poachers. They know the forest area, like the back of their hand.
The trek spreads over two days, and trekkers get to spend a night in the wild, in tents. The trek happens on a planned route and tents are pitched at designated spots, for the night stay. Meals are freshly prepared, by the guides.
The trek traverses through hills and valleys, visited by herds of elephants. You are likely to see some tuskers and some smaller wild animals along the route, and maybe, a tiger if luck favours you.
An armed guard accompanies the trekkers, so it is quite safe. Additionally, the guides carry sophisticated communication equipment, and assistance can be sought in case of emergencies.
There are a few restrictions; trekkers must be in medically fit and be aged between 15 – 65. The programme aims to spread awareness about wildlife and illegal activities such as poaching and its prevention.
The Jungle Camps are tailored for those wanting a unique experience. Jungle camps allow you to stay in the heart of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, in exclusive campsites. The jungle camp by Kerala Tourism is an exceptional enterprise that lets campers experience living in the jungle.
The Jungle camp programme is not about relaxing; it is a combination of activities, which include trekking, boating, nature walks, birdwatching and a trip to Gavi and camping, of course. The campsite the River Periyar, which is frequented by wild animals, for a drink of water. Campers stay in tents, which can accommodate two persons. Meals are included in the package.
Things to carry
Carry comfortable clothing, suitable for the jungles – dull muted colours, such as khaki. Preferably long pants and long-sleeved shirts to keep the shrubs and branches from tearing your skin. Wear comfortable walking shoes, with a good grip and cushioning and soft padded socks. Carry prescription medication that you may require and some rub-on insect repellent to keep critters away. Analgesic sprays and painkillers for that accidental sprain and maybe something to calm your tummy, just in case.
Bring along a raincoat, since the weather can be unpredictable, and a hat and sunscreen to keep the sun off you. Carry a few energy bars, some fruits and water to keep you going. Binoculars to watch birds and other wildlife. Ensure your phone battery is fully charged and if you have a camera, make sure it is charged too. Carry whatever else you may need.
Best Time for Trekking
The best time to visit Thekkady would be in the months between September and May. The weather is good, the rains subside, and the forest is lush green. Moreover, trekking in Thekkady is allowed only during this period.