Exploring Kerala's Thekkady, A Nature Lover's Paradise

With its remarkable biodiversity, picturesque landscapes, and cultural heritage, Thekkady is a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and culture seekers alike
Kerala's Thekkady is home to several varieties of flora and fauna
Kerala's Thekkady is home to several varieties of flora and faunaShutterstock

Thekkady is a town located near the famous Periyar National Park in Kerala. It is known for its abundant wildlife, green surroundings, and peaceful atmosphere. The town attracts nature enthusiasts from around the world. Visitors can explore the wilderness of Periyar National Park, enjoy the aromatic spice plantations, and experience the rich cultural traditions of Kerala. Thekkady offers something for everyone, whether seeking adventure, tranquillity, or an immersive cultural experience. It guarantees you lasting memories and a profound admiration for the wonders of nature. Here's all you need to know to make the most of your Thekkady visit, including the town's history, attractions, activities, and unique cultural aspects.


Thekkady's history dates back to ancient times when tribal communities primarily inhabited it. It gained prominence during the colonial era when the British identified the region's rich biodiversity and declared it a protected area. The establishment of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950, later upgraded to Periyar National Park, further contributed to the town's growth and popularity as a tourist destination.

Things To Do

Explore Periyar National Park

A glimpse into the Periyar National Park
A glimpse into the Periyar National ParkShutterstock

Undoubtedly the highlight of Thekkady, the Periyar National Park offers a unique wildlife experience. Take a boat ride on the picturesque Periyar Lake to spot various species of animals, including elephants, tigers, deer, and a rich assortment of birdlife. Nature walks, bamboo rafting, and trekking are popular activities within the park.

Visit The Spice Plantations

Explore the aromatic spice plantations that carpet the landscape around Thekkady. Take a guided tour to learn about cultivating and processing spices like cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Immerse yourself in the scents and flavours that make Kerala's cuisine distinctive.

Go Bamboo Rafting

Embark on an adventurous bamboo rafting expedition along the tranquil waters of the Periyar River. As you float through the dense forests, watch for wildlife sightings and enjoy the serene ambience of this unique experience.

Witness A Kathakali Performance

Witness the mesmerising art form of Kathakali, a traditional dance-drama that originated in Kerala. Thekkady offers opportunities to attend captivating performances showcasing the elaborate costumes, intricate makeup, and expressive gestures that enthral Kathakali.

Kathakali is a traditional dance-drama that originated in Kerala
Kathakali is a traditional dance-drama that originated in KeralaShutterstock

Places To Visit

Mangala Devi Temple

Located within the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the Mangala Devi Temple is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site. The temple is perched atop a hill and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Note that a special permit is required to visit the temple.

Periyar Lake

Periyar Lake was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was erected in 1895
Periyar Lake was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was erected in 1895Shutterstock

A boat ride on the serene waters of Periyar Lake is a must-do activity in Thekkady. Dense forests surround the lake and offer a tranquil setting to relax and admire the picturesque vistas.

Elephant Junction

Get up close and personal with these majestic creatures at Elephant Junction. Engage in elephant rides, bathing, and feeding while learning about their behaviour and conservation efforts.

Special Customs And Traditions

Thekkady is deeply rooted in Kerala's culture and traditions. The region celebrates several festivals with great fervour. The annual Chithirai Festival at the Mangala Devi Temple and the Elephant Festival, featuring grand processions of decorated elephants, are vibrant spectacles that showcase the religious and cultural heritage of the region. Thekkady is also known for its martial art form, Kalaripayattu, the world's oldest form of martial arts, which originated in Kerala and can be witnessed in various centres throughout the town.

Places To Stay

For your stay in Thekkady, you have several options to choose from. The government-run accommodations include KTDC Lake Palace, situated on an island in Periyar Lake, and Periyar House, located on the lake's banks. Additionally, there's Aranya Nivas, a heritage-style hotel nestled within the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Forest Department offers cosy cottages within the Tiger Reserve, allowing you to immerse in nature. Alternatively, Spice Village, an eco-resort set in a spice plantation, offers a unique experience. These choices provide comfortable amenities and easy access to Thekkady's natural wonders.

How To Reach

To reach Thekkady, you can choose from various transportation options. Cochin International Airport (COK) is the closest, approximately 145 kilometres away if you prefer flying. From there, a taxi or bus can take you to Thekkady in around 4-5 hours. If you prefer travelling by train, the nearest railway station is Kottayam, about 110 kilometres from Thekkady. Hiring a taxi or taking a bus from Kottayam is a common option, with a journey time of approximately 3-4 hours. Additionally, Thekkady is well-connected by road, and you can hire a taxi or take a bus from nearby cities like Kochi, Kottayam, or Thiruvananthapuram.

Best Time to Visit

Thekkady can be visited throughout the year, but the best time is during the winter months, from October to February, when the weather is pleasant. The monsoon season (June to September) brings heavy rainfall, adding a different charm to the lush green surroundings. However, checking the weather conditions before planning your visit is advisable.

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