Thekkady is renowned for delivering the true wildlife experience with the Periyar National Park being one of the most visited places in Kerala. However, there are many other places in Thekkady that can offer a truly natural experience with scenic trekking routes and breathtaking viewpoints.
Read on to find out the best places to visit in Thekkady in our explorative list here:
Table of Contents
Periyar National Park
The Periyar National Park is one of the must-visit places in Thekkady for experiencing nature at its best in Kerala. This is also one of the best places to visit in Thekkady. It is home to some of the rarest and most endangered species of plants and animals protected in this wildlife sanctuary which contains a tiger reserve and an elephant reserve.
Tourists can join the various jungle safari experiences available there for witnessing the majestic natural beauty of the forests of the western ghats and the wild animals in their habitats. Boat cruises will take visitors to Periyar Lake where occasionally one fan finds various families of wild Elephants, Boars, and Deer, basking in the crystal cool waters.
The Periyar National Park offers the perfect family adventure for experiencing the wildlife in the state.
For experiencing the cultural aspects of the place you can visit the nearby town of Kumily and check out the Mangla Devi Temple and Pullumedu.
As a popular tourist attraction of the state, you can find many great places to stay including luxury resorts and private houseboat trips.
Within a 30-minute drive north of the town of Kumily, you will reach the humble village of Chellarkovil which offers breathtaking views featuring the misty mountains of the western ghats. The place is great for catching the sunrise and sunset along with the lush panoramic landscapes of the Suruli waterfall and many other places that are not found anywhere else.
Tourists can enjoy some of the ecotourism projects that were launched in the place that includes special pathways, herbariums, straw huts, and a watch tower. There are several activities that you can do including jungle safari, bullock cart rides, visit to the tribal heritage museum, etc.
Roads can be misty and invisible, especially during the evening hours so try to plan your trips in the morning or afternoon if you are driving to the place.
Murikkady is another great sightseeing option that you can include in your Thekkady trip. Just 5 km off from Thekkady, this scenic spot is best known for its vast stretches of coffee, cardamom, and pepper plantations. You can get your hands on freshly plucked tea leaves and other local produce that are distributed directly from factory outlet stores on your way to Murikkady.
There are a lot of scenic places and parks that are perfect for picnicking with your family and friends. We have marked this in our list of best places to visit in Thekkady
You can join various trekking groups and also experience certain adventure activities like paragliding from the Murikkady viewpoint.
Within a distance of 23 km from the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the “beetle-shaped hill” as directly translated from Malayalam is the hill station of Vandanmedu. The place is very famous for housing the world’s largest cardamom production and auction centers, and for carrying the fragrant aroma of this spice among its winds.
You can explore the various cardamon plantations to take in the slightly spiced cool mountain air while enjoying the scenic beauty of the hill range estates.
There are many trekking expeditions and bird-watching trails to explore in this hilly village which attracts a lot of tourists coming for the Thekkady-Periyar tours many times every year.
If you’ve included Chellarkovil in your Thekkady trip then you may want to cover the hill station of Pandikuzhi as well. The sprawling natural streams connecting the various plantations and estates in the region offer great picturesque landscapes for photoshoots.
The region being a closely bordered place between Tamil Nadu and nearer to the dense forests of the western ghats, have exotic varieties of flora and fauna along with beautiful streams and a 1200 ft waterfall. This is also one of the best places which offer a wonderful view and the best places to visit in Thekkady.
Although the best way to get to Pandikuzhi is through the trekking paths available, you can also board the public bus or arrange a private vehicle to take you to the place. September to March is considered to be the best time to visit the place.
The Periyar Lake is a large and important reservoir for the animals of the Periyar National Park. It was formed artificially when the Mullaperiyar river was dammed over 128 years ago.
The lake is situated inside Periyar National Park and is accessible only as part of touring the wildlife sanctuary.
Tourists can hire boating services to travel around the lake and get the chance to witness wild animals as they come to cool off and have a drink in the reservoir. The boat safaris are available for 4 times every day lasting one-and-a-half-hour tours around the lake. The afternoon timings are recommended for sighting animals as the hot afternoon sun usually draws out more animals for a drink during this time.
The Periyar Lake is also a protected biodiversity region that is home to 40 different species of fish, and endemic animals like the bicolored Malabar Frog, the Malabar Hills fungoid frog, etc.
You can also spot several different species of birds such as the Malabar grey hornbill, steppe gull, black-necked stork, etc. especially if you bring a pair of binoculars.
If you are interested in the cultural and spiritual history of the region then this 1000-year-old temple that is 15 km away from Thekkady might be a great place to visit during your Thekkady trip.
Dedicated to the Hindu deity Mangaladevi, this ancient temple was constructed using early Pandyan architecture during the reign of the old Chera King Chenkuttuvan. The temple itself gives tribute to three other idols including KaruppaSwamy, Lord Shiva, and Lord Ganapathy.
It is located on the northern edge of the Periyar Tiger Reserve and can only be reached by Jeep as we have to pass through 12 km of dense forests and hilly grasslands to reach the place. The temple is perched atop the hills covered by the scenic landscape of the western ghats and reminds oneself of the depth of time looking at the temple ruins.
Spring Valley Mountain
More popularly known as Kurisumala among the local population, the Church mounted hillock that is 4 km from Thekkady is the highest point in the Vagamon region. It holds the worship grounds of St.Thomas which is located at the scenic spot overwatching the mountain ranges and sharing the high-range winds.
The hilltop shrine is open for visitors from early 4 AM to 8:30 PM every day, where they can look out to the sloping tea plantations and pine forests on Vagamon hills.
It’s only a short drive away from the Vagamon hill town which you can include in your itinerary as it’s another beautiful experience with Kite-Flying worthy winds and scenic hillocks to explore.
Kumily is a beautiful town and major tourist destination in Kerala that falls along the routes of Thekkady and the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It features the natural scenic beauty of the hanging mounting ranges covering the tea plantation hills along the roads of Kumily.
Kumily is also a major spice hub and trading center that houses a variety of spice gardens and parks to learn more about the merchant culture of the local spice producers in the region. It is also home to many ayurvedic health centers and spas for getting those relaxing vacation breaks.
There are various trekking routes that you can join in Kumily and being an important town along the roads of Kerala, you can find many hotels and resorts for accommodations easily in the place as well as great opportunities for shopping.
Vandiperiyar is another popular spice village in Kerala that comes under the Idukki district. It is just 15 km from Thekkady and has become a major tourist attraction for its beautiful landscape views of the western ghats and for its significance as a cultivator of spices. The place offers scenic photoshoots featuring lush green plantation estates that are backgrounded by the rocky highs of the western ghats.
The Mulla Periyar river passes through this place and provides a key source of water for local irrigation works and domestic use.
Tourists can enjoy the natural beauty and explore the Flower Garden and Govt Agricultural fams to interact with a variety of plants and orchids along with tea, coffee, pepper, and other major cultivations.
Just under an hour’s drive from Thekkady, you can reach the 881 m Mullaperiyar dam located on the Cardamom hills. The Periyar Lake was formed after this dam was constructed over 125 years ago to divert the flow of the Periyar river towards the east instead of the west.
This is because the river flowing west created floods in the Travancore region which upset the local cultivation in the town of Madurai and affected their livelihood.
The various activities open for tourists include boating which is run by the Forest Department of the Kerala Govt.
This dam is home to many endangered species of animals and is frequently visited by birds and other animals. There are many boating services available for tourists including speed boats for exploring the dam and for enjoying the scenic beauty of Thekkady.
Less than 40 km from Thekkady lies the picturesque hill station and hamlet Ramakkalmedu. Like most hill stations in Kerala, Ramakkalmedu is a very windy and cool location that offers a brilliant top-down view of the Western Ghats extending onto the Tamil Nadu state as we can see small villages and hamlets from the mountain view.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Kerala and provides various adventures and sightseeing activities for tourists.
You can explore the mountain ranges through a jeep safari that can take to you to the most remote locations in the hill station for experiencing the cool winds and the breathtaking views. The trekking routes can also help traverse the scenic paths for beautiful viewpoints as well.
Check out the wind farm if you are in Ramakkalmedu as it is a popular attraction in the region.
The tortoise rock is another famous attraction in the place that features two huge rocks separated by a vertical crack that takes the shape of a tortoise.
Parunthumpara Hill Viewpoint
The “Eagle Rock” is another attractive hill viewpoint that you can check out during your trip to Thekkady which was named after the 360-degree view of the landscape that you can see from this place.
It is just 25 km away from, or on the way to, Thekkady, and provides a spectacular view of the western ghats and the forests surrounding it.
The way atop the viewpoint can be slightly adventurous with steep trenches and ditches that can hurt those who fail to maintain caution. The climb can be slightly challenging but the majestic view from the top is completely worth the effort, provided the mist hasn’t clouded your view.
From the Prunthumpara viewpoint, we can feast our eyes on the endless hill ranges, and the evergreen forests, and follow the streams that lead to waterfalls, all from one place. It is a highly recommended spot along your way to Thekkady.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Thekkady?
While winter trips can provide that exotic misty hill range experience, the best time to enjoy the viewpoints and panoramic mountain range scenes can be from September to March.
If you want to enjoy the breathtaking views then you may want to plan your trip at a time when the mist is lower and giving way faster.
However, the wintertime may be better for birdwatching and exploring the wildlife in the Periyar National Park to the fullest.
How To Reach Thekkady?
Thekkady does not have an airport of its own so the closest domestic airport located is the Madurai airport which is less than 136 km away.
The closest Internation airport is the Cochin International Airport which is around 150 km from Thekkady. You can get a cab from there if you want.
There are various buses, public and private that reach Thekkady from Cochin and Trivandrum, and all other districts in the State.
The closest railroad station is located in Kottayam, 114 kilometers distant. Kottayam to Thekkady is well connected through road routes.
If you are driving to Thekkady please make sure to be careful on your trip and sufficiently fueled as there are few fuel stations nearby.
Thekkady is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the State. It is home to the largest National Park which gets thousands of visitors every year.
The wildlife sanctuary in Periyar is very famous for its elephant and tiger reserves and for exploring the diversity of flora and fauna that is unique to the region.
There are many tour guides and trekking groups that you can join which will give you access to explore more remote places of the hill station and get in touch with nature.
The jungle safaris and boating trips available in Thekkady can give you the wildlife experience to make a memorable trip with your friends and family.
Most people come to Thekkady for the Periyar National Park but there are so many other places to explore close by that can make your trip more exciting and fulfilling. Some of the places we’ve listed here are among the highly coveted tourist attractions nearby Thekkady so please go through the full list.
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