Undulating hills, picture-perfect greenery, shimmering lakes, and cool, aromatic air - Thekkady has it all. Situated in Idukki district of Kerala, at an altitude of 900-1800 m above sea level, Thekkady is a dream destination for adventure travellers and Nature lovers alike. The region is also home to the richly bio-diverse Periyar Tiger Reserve. Thekkady, lying on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, is so closely related to this renowned sanctuary that, often, the names, Thekkady and Periyar, are used interchangeably to refer to the area.
The name Thekkady is derived from the word thekku which means teak. Thekkady enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. The temperature drops to 13 degree Celsius during December/January and rises to 30 degree Celsius during April/May. Two of the salient characteristics of Thekkady and the surrounding Periyar Valley are its undulating mountains of more than 1700 meters and its many shades of stunning green. If you take a walk along the nature trails that cut across lush greenery, you will be enthralled by the beauty of the place. The chirping of the birds, the sounds of the jungle animals, the rustle of the leaves and the gushing of the mountain streams all work in harmony here to give Nature a unique rhythm. Apart from this, there are elevated flat terrains, lush valleys, picturesque lakes and greenery that merges into the horizon. There are great opportunities for treks and other Nature-related activities. Apart from the thick forests and the abundant wildlife of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the slanting hills of Thekkady are home to plantations of vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, tea, coffee, etc.Inside the Thekkady forests and the Periyar Tiger Reserve are tribal hamlets that hold on to age-old practices. Their presence adds to the charm of Thekkady. A visit to one of the tribal villages will give you a glimpse of lives lived in complete harmony with Nature.
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.
Kumily, on the outskirts of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, is a plantation town closely associated with Thekkady. While Thekkady is a sleepy, picturesque place garbed in greenery, Kumily is a busy town. The spice and tea plantations and the bustling spice trading activities have made Kumily one of the important tourist and commercial centres in Kerala. Kumily, situated in Periyar Valley, drops off to the plains of Tamil Nadu. Apart from being the main bus station in the Periyar region, the town also provides decent, affordable accommodation facilities to tourists.Apart from tourists, Sabarimala devotees and workers from Tamil Nadu also visit Kumily from time to time.