Imagine a place of pristine tropical jungles, of wild animals that live and roam free, of rolling spice and crop covered hills, and a vibrant local culture. What you are picturing is Thekkady — the bio-diversity hotspot, the home of the wondrous Periyar Wildlife Reserve and an idyllic jungle stop on your Kerala tour. This is where you come to experience a pristine expanse of nature, intimately. And where you can still witness centuries-old traditions and crafts, in a setting just as preserved.
The things to do in Thekkady will excite, thrill, mesmerise and surprise. Try to catch as many of them as possible, as part of your visiting tour.
At the heart of this town is the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Home to 2000 elephants, about 40 species of birds and animals including tigers, bison, sambar, langurs, wild boars, even otters! Visiting the reserve is one of the recommended things to do in Thekkady, with tourists from across the world finding their way here throughout the year. And they have tonnes of activities, excursions and adventures for you to partake in.
Boating on the Periyar Lake is one of the main things to do in Thekkady, for it offers a great vantage point for wildlife spotting. Many of the creatures indeed hang about by the water, bathing, drinking or simply resting. You can watch them in their environment on a gentle and fun two-hour boat ride.
If you want an even more charming experience on the waters, the sanctuary also offers a bamboo rafting activity that takes you through some of the inner tracks of the forest. First, you hike into the jungle where you’ll get to see some exquisite species along the way. Only then do you begin the three-hour water-excursion atop these simplistic carriers.
With nature all around, it is little wonder that trekking is another of the popular Thekkady activities. The Sanctuary offers a few such planned opportunities, that each have an appeal of their own. You can sign up for border hiking — a long trail along some of the Park’s borders and edges with a conservationist spin. You’ll have two guides and a guard who will inform you about all the sights and sounds you see. Or you can go for an adrenaline-pumping jungle night patrol. It is a rare chance to explore one of the world’s densest, most thriving forests late at night. This is nightlife like you’ve never experienced before!
To take things more at your own pace, why not opt for some of the more relaxed nature walks that will still show you plenty of forest-living species. You can take a tribal guide along, to share with you the ins-and-outs of this intriguing eco-system. Another way to do that is go on one of the Tribal Heritage Walks, a trekking experience in one of the Reserve’s neighbouring tribal villages. They even have a museum that you can visit for an insight into a true indigenous, connected to nature culture.
Not every activity needs to be on foot. Give your feet a rest with the off-track jeep safaris across hidden forest pathways, past waterfalls, through exquisite plantations and quaint settlements.
One of the highlights of the Reserve’s programs is called “Follow the Tiger” where poachers from the past, who have now turned protectors, offer a guided tour of hidden trails of elephants and the elusive tigers. Just imagine the stories they have to tell!
While the park is the main focus of activity and tourism, other things to do in Thekkady include the plenty of sites and places to explore in and around the valley’s hills, towns and plantations. One of them is within the Reserve, the Mangla Devi Temple — a serene spot on a high altitude that’s home to an age-old temple. Then there’s Abraham’s Spice Garden, located between Thekkady and Kottam. Explore this organic spice garden with your nose as much as your feet! Your eyes get a treat too, with the scenic views on offer here. Murikkady is another famous plantation — one that grows not just spices, but coffee too! You’ll fall in love with its peaceful atmosphere and raw beauty.
Another sight to behold is at the Kadathanadan Kalari and Navarasa Kathakali Centre. Here you can witness the traditional martial art of Kalarippayattu, as well as the traditional dance performances of Kathakali every evening! You can fill up on some more culture at the Mudra Cultural Centre with captivating Kathakali shows.
Kumily, the neighbouring town, is where you’ll spend much of your time sightseeing. One such place you can visit is the Highrange Spice Garden, a botanical delight where you can see everything from the usual spices and Ayurvedic herbs to vegetables and fruits, all growing in harmony. Another short distance away is the Chellarkovil Waterfalls. The area has its own set of adventure activities including organic farm visits and day treks. The wooden watch tower gives you that photo op you’ve been looking for.
With so much to look forward to, your Thekkady tour couldn’t come soon enough. Call your SOTC travel advisor and have them plan one for you, with Thekkady tour packages and Kerala tour packages to make your trip memorable!
As one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world and India’s best-protected reserve, the Periyar National park occupies an international significance and should be one of your main Thekkady sightseeing spots.
The Periyar National Park is 257 square miles of serenity, calm and bliss interrupted only by the chirping of its many birds and the sounds of animals going about their day. There are many ways to observe its abundant plant and animal life, which includes tigers, elephants, wild boar, sambal and langurs. This is home for around 50 animal species! And this is one of the few places on earth where so many tigers still exist.
For plant lovers, there are about 2000 flowering plants. They include about 170 species of grass and a 140 species of orchids alone! The park is also home to the only South Indian conifer.
For birders, there are a total of 300 species of birds along with the migrant ones. Commonly spotted are water birds, woodpeckers, kingfishers, cormorants and passerines. Most of all, The Great Pied Hornbill and the Ceylon Frogmouth. The black necked stork, the Forest Eagle Owl and the Nilgiri Thrush also can be spotted here.
You can go glide over the river in a bamboo boat. You can take a jeep or an elephant safari. You could go tiger trekking with tribal locals. You can even trek along the tiger trail in this vast, dense deciduous forest with Forest Department officials who can help you spot different species and teach you about their natural trails, habits and watering places.
If you are young or reasonably fit, we recommend you try all of the above, because no Thekkady sightseeing is complete without paying homage to this rare, raw and beautiful animal kingdom.
An expedition to go Thekkady sightseeing would be incomplete without a journey into its Ayurvedic roots. The Green Park Ayurvedic & Spices Plantation grows many medicinal herbs and spices. It is a lovely picturesque spot to visit. The plantation also teaches you about growing them with different agricultural techniques. This five-acre park is an out-of-the-way spot that leaves you quite inspired to do some growing of your own for your kitchen garden!
There are many attractions in and around Thekkady and all a short drive away so why not see them?
Anakarra is just about 18 km away and is located on the Kumily-Munnar state highway. Come here to witness a place famous for its cascading waterfalls and spice plantations. It should definitely be on the list of your Thekkady sightseeing spots. For adventure junkies, there are treks and paragliding options, depending on the season and weather.
Vandiperiyar is tiny town where nature lovers can come visit the Government Agricultural Farm and a fragrant Flower Garden. Spice plantations and natural beauty are in abundance here.
Head to the Chellarkovil Viewpoint and get a bird’s-eye view from its watch-tower which is conveniently outfitted with a telescope. Watch the sun go down with a sundowner or warm coffee from a thermos, whatever beverage you prefer.
Aruvikuzhi Falls is a famous Thekkady sightseeing spot as it is home to many Ayurveda centres. Ask around, but check the certification before signing up for a treatment.
The Highrange Spice Plantation is among the unusual places to see in Thekkady. Not only is it a lush organic garden growing Ayurvedic herbs, vegetables and spices, but it also offers you a homestay where you can experience life on a spice plantation first-hand.
Thekkady Periyar, a private organization, offers a unique experience which makes it one of the top places to see in Thekkady on your itinerary. Go jungle camping in the Gavi Forest and enjoy film shows and trekking in the forest and taste tribal cuisine. Located on the banks of the Periyar river at Vallakadavu, it promises to bring you even closer to nature than you already are.
Tip: If this interests you, come prepared. Don’t forget to pack mosquito repellent, first aid, water flasks and other camping essentials.
The Vanya Treehouse is one of the best places to visit in Thekkady for tree lovers. Just off the banks of the Periyar river, this windmill and solar electricity-powered resort offers you home-style Kerala cuisine and an unforgettable experience in the wild.
Want to inspire your children to learn an Indian classic dance or traditional martial art? Why not visit the Mudra Cultural Centre? It is one of the top tourist attractions in Thekkady. Here you witness a colourful Kathakali performance or an adrenaline-pumping display of Kalaripayattu. You will also get a behind-the-scene access and see the rigorous preparations first-hand to better understand the artistes’ dedication and passion.
In these hills of greens, why not go border hiking and understand how Thekkady keeps its wildlife and natural bounty safe and sound? This is a fun experience for fit people who love treks and can be done with private agencies. We recommend doing it with the forest officials.
Finally, what to see in Thekkady is up to you. But for a trip that is memorable and beautifully planned, call an SOTC travel advisor today and get the best deals on Thekkady tour packages or Kerala tour packages, for your dream vacation in one of the most-loved spots of God’s own country.
Be it Thekkady, Kumily or Periyar – all three destinations are known for their spices, tea and coffee. You can get any spice under the sun here ranging from nutmeg, pepper, vanilla pods, star anise and cinnamon rolls.
The best places to buy these are at the spice plantations themselves. It’s also a good idea to ask them what would grow well in your own city so you can buy seeds or saplings to take home with you.
It doesn’t matter what beverage you prefer, this is the place to stock up on both. The coffee beans and the tea leaves. There may be a price difference on first flush teas and different coffee beans, but you can be assured of the freshest product at the plantations rather than the local markets.
All this is packed in small transparent easy to carry pouches that take up hardly any baggage space at all. So do load up here. Then there are the Kerala edibles – like the famous banana chips fried in pure coconut oil and coconut milk sweets. Here’s your chance to indulge yourself with great munchies for tea time or useful as quick and easy snacks.
If you’ve forgotten to pick these up on your travels or simply want to do this on the last leg of your trip, then Lord’s Spice super market is the place you should go for spice-shopping in Thekkady.
At the entrance of the Periyar National Park is a store that sells everything from batik clothing to tee-shirts to post cards to coffee table books on the park to WWF products. If you’ve been here and blazed a trail, why not have some memorabilia of your adventures here?
Go to the Periyar Woods at the Thekkady Junction and buy something called the Happy Family. This depiction of an elephant with six babies is a Feng-shui piece. When placed in a prominent position in your living room, it is supposed to bring happiness and peace. Even if you don’t warm to the idea, it makes for a nice present or, for the shopaholics, presents!
Ask around for the Ganesh Art gallery at the Ambadi Junction – you can buy souvenirs and even some vintage artefacts here. Gems are available too!
For a paperback or three, head to DC Books, which has a small but excellent collection of non-fiction and fiction books.
The Chola Handicraft Center is quite big, as far as stores in Thekkady go, and it has a nice collection of clothes with materials ranging from silk, cotton and even linen!
Shop for handmade chocolate that this area is famous for. It’s a recommended indulgence for a family with a sweet tooth or even as a gift to take back home with you.
For a truly fabulous holiday experience, call an SOTC travel advisor today. Great deals for your pocket and a trip at your pace are as good as guaranteed with our Thekkady tour packages and other Kerala tour packages.