|Herds of elephants moving towards a lake against the backdrop of picturesque mountain ranges with thick greenery - if you come across such a photograph in Kerala, it will most probably be one of the Periyar Valley.
Snuggled in the southern region of the Western Ghats, the Periyar Tiger Reserve sprawls over an area of 777 sq. km of forest land and is home to thousands of different species of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered ones. Thick, evergreen forests form about 360 sq. km of the total area of the valley.
The valley derives its name from one important river - River Periyar - that originates in the reserve’s remote forests. The river, which is 244 km long, is the longest in the State. One of the few perennial rivers in the region, it meets the drinking water requirements of a number of towns in Kerala. Moreover, the Idukki dam on the river generates a big share of the State’s electrical output. On account of these reasons, the river has been rightly named the ‘Lifeline of Kerala’.
Apart from the Periyar, the valley is an important watershed for another river, the Pamba. An artificial lake of about 26 sq. km forms the central part of the sanctuary. The lake, created as a result of the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam, adds to the picture-perfect beauty of the place. A boat safari, apart from being great fun, is the ideal option for viewing the wildlife from a safe distance.