Periyar National Park

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Periyar National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Periyar National Park.JPG
Map showing the location of Periyar National Park
Map showing the location of Periyar National Park
Location Idukki and Pathanamthitta, India
Coordinates 9°28′N 77°10′E / 9.467°N 77.167°E / 9.467; 77.167Coordinates: 9°28′N 77°10′E / 9.467°N 77.167°E / 9.467; 77.167
Area 305 km²
Established 1982
Visitors 180,000 (in 1986)
Governing body Kerala Forest Department

Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, is an example of nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 925 Sq .km., Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The protected area covers an area of 925 km2 (357 sq mi). 305 km2 (118 sq mi) of the core zone was declared as the Periyar National Park in 1982.

The park is often called the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or Thekkady. It is located high in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the southern Western Ghats along the border with Tamil Nadu. It is 4 km (2.5 mi) from Kumily, approximately 100 km (62 mi) east of Kottayam, 110 km (68 mi) west of Madurai and 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Kochi.[1]


The first official action towards the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Kerala was taken in 1934 by the Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, by declaring the forests around Periyar lake as a private game reserve to stop the encroachment of tea plantations.[2][3] It was founded as Nellikkampatty Game Reserve. It was consolidated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1950 after the political integration of India. [4]

Community Based Eco-Tourism[edit]

People oriented and park centered community based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. These programmes are conducted by local people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the reserve. By taking tourists along, they are involved in the conservation of the forests of Periyar and some valuable revenue is generated for community welfare. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through these programmes. Hence, as a visitor, when you join them in any of these programmes,you are directly contributing towards forest conservation and community welfare.


Periyar National Park lies in the middle of a mountainous area of the Cardamom Hills. In the north and the east it is bounded by mountain ridges of over 1,700 m (5,600 ft) altitude and toward the west it expands into a 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) high plateau. From this level the altitude drops steeply to the deepest point of the reserve, the 100 metre valley of the Pamba River. The highest peak is the 2,019 m (6,624 ft) high Kottamalai. The Periyar and Pamba Rivers originate in the forests of the reserve.[5] The topography consists of steep and rolling hills which are thickly wooded. The sanctuary surrounds Periyar Lake, a reservoir measuring 26 km2 (10 sq mi) which was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was erected in 1895. The reservoir and the Periyar River meander around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local wildlife.


The temperature varies depending upon the altitude and it ranges between 15 °Celsius in December and January and 31 °Celsius in April and May. Annual precipitation is between 2000 and 3000 mm, about two thirds occurring during the southwest monsoon between June to September. Much of the rest occurs during the northeast monsoon between October and December. Summers are warm with some precipitation in April and winters are cold.


North: Peerumedu taluk South: Pathanamthitta district East: Theni, Thirunelveli & Ramnad District of Tamilnadu West: Kottayam district


Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) in the park
Submerged trees in Periyar Lake

The park is made up of tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests, grasslands, stands of eucalyptus, and lake and river ecosystems.[6] There are many hundreds of flowering plant taxa, including about 171 species of grass and 140 species of orchids.[6] The grasses are found in the open grasslands found on the edges of the water body where fire resistant vegetation grows and dense grasses like elephant grass are found. This is the common dining hall of various herbivores.

The forests contain deciduous and semi evergreen trees like teak, rosewoods, terminalias, sandalwoods, jacarandas, mangoes, jamun, tamarind, banyans, sacred fig, plumerias, royal poinciana, kino tree, bamboos, and the only South Indian conifer, Nageia wallichiana.[6] The medicinal gloriosa lily grows in the park. The endemic flora includes Habenaria periyarensis and Syzygium periyarensis.[6]

The park is surrounded by agricultural regions, especially plantations of such crops as tea, cardamom, and coffee.[6]



There are 35 species of mammals recorded in the park, including many threatened species. It is an important tiger and elephant reserve. A total of 24 Bengal tigers were counted across 640 square kilometers of the park in 2008.[7] It is valuable for Indian elephant and also for a few of White tigers found here. Other mammals include the gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali's fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten.[8]


About 265 species of birds can be seen in the park, including migrants. Endemic birds include the Malabar grey hornbill, Nilgiri wood pigeon, blue-winged parakeet, Nilgiri flycatcher, crimson-backed sunbird, and white-bellied blue flycatcher. Other birds include the black baza, spot-bellied eagle-owl, Nilgiri thrush, little spiderhunter, rufous-bellied hawk-eagle, brahminy kite, great hornbill, Sri Lanka frogmouth, Oriental darter, and black-necked stork.[9]


There are 45 species of reptiles: 30 snakes, 13 lizards, and two turtles. Snakes include the king cobra, Malabar pit viper, and striped coral snake.

Amphibians in the park include caecilians, frogs, and toads. Species include the Malabar gliding frog, Asian toad, fungoid frog, and bicolored frog.[10]


There are about 40 species of fish in the local lakes and rivers include the Periyar trout, Periyar latia, Periyar barb, channa barb, and Travancore loach.[11]


There are about 160 butterfly taxa, including the South India's largest butterfly Southern Birdwing, lime butterfly, Malabar tree nymph,the highly threatened Travancore evening brown, and many kinds of moths, such as the Atlas moth.[12]


  • 1895 - Construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam
  • 1899 - Formation of the Periyar Lake Reserve
  • 1933 - S.C.H. Robinson made the first game warden
  • 1934 - Formation of Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary
  • 1950 - Consolidation of Periyar as a wildlife sanctuary
  • 1978 - Declaration of Periyar as a tiger reserve
  • 1982 - Preliminary notification of the core area as a national park
  • 1991 - Brought under Project Elephant
  • 1996 - India Ecodevelopment Project launched
  • 2001 - Divided into Periyar East and Periyar West
  • 2004 – Formation of Periyar Foundation
  • 2007 – 148 km2 of the Goodrical Range added to the reserve[1]
  • 2011 - The management of Periyar Tiger Reserve has been assessed as "very good" by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.[13]
  • 2012 - An additional 148 km2 of evergreen forest at Ponnambalamedu added to the reserve[14]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Welcome to Periyar Tiger Reserve, Periyar Tiger Reserve, 2012, retrieved 2012-01-31 
  2. ^ "The Thiruvithancore King Sri Chithira Thirunal Balaramavarma had put forward the law to conserve the forest. He also appointed S.C.H Robinson as Forest Conservation Officer. Soon Mr Robinson came to know the importance of the area and recommended that the area should be protected. The King then directed that this area should be protected and later become the sanctuary." By Periyar Tiger-Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala
  3. ^ "Periyar Tiger-Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Kerala Forest Dept.Kerala Forest Dept.
  5. ^ Periyar Tiger Reserve - Values of P.T.R - Catchment Value, Periyar Tiger Reserve, 2012, retrieved 2012-09-11 
  6. ^ a b c d e Flora - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  7. ^ Sudhi, K. S. Increase in tiger density in PTR. The Hindu October 2, 2008.
  8. ^ Mammals - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  9. ^ Birds - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  10. ^ Reptiles and amphibians - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  11. ^ Fish - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  12. ^ Butterflies and moths - Periyar Tiger Reserve. Department of Tourism, Kerala.
  13. ^ Sudhi, K. S. Acclaim for Periyar, Parambikulam tiger reserves. The Hindu May 17, 2011.
  14. ^ Pillai, P. T. M. Ponnambalamedu comes under Periyar Tiger Reserve. India, January 28, 2012.

External links[edit]