Periyar Lake is a reservoir measuring 26 sq km (10 sq mi). Construction of Mullaperiyar Dam created the reservoir in 1895. Many trees got submerged in the lake. You can still see tree stumps sticking out of the water. Thickly wooded hills of Periyar Tiger Reserve surround the lake. It is 1 km from Kumily in Idukki District of Kerala.
Boating on Periyar Lake
Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundation organises boating on the lake. Please click here to visit their website for online tickets. Tickets cost Rs 225 for adult and R 75 for child. On reaching the boating area, you will be allotted numbered seats on one of the boats. You have to go to a ticket counter and get the seat allotment. In addition to the fee for boating, there is an entry fee of Rs 25 per person at Periyar Tiger Reserve. Visitors pay it at the entry point.
From the entry point, you walk 500 metres to the boating area. Vehicles are not allowed inside. The road has many towering trees on both sides. We could see black monkeys cavorting on the trees.
Visitors can buy tickets for boating at the ticket office. Only two tickets are issued per person. Ninety minutes is duration of the cruise, starting at 7:30, 9:30, 11:15, 13:45 and 15:30 hours.
On entering the boat, everyone has to wear a life jacket. For reasons of safety, moving around on the boat is not permitted, . The guides keep a lookout and do a good job of spotting animals on the lake shore.
Wildlife Around Periyar Lake
The cruise is a wonderful experience. The waters are calm and few ripples disturb the lake surface. There is hardly any noise but for the sounds made by the boat. The lake and the forests are beautiful. We were able to pick out Indian Bison (Gaur), Otter and monkeys from the safety of our boat. Among the birds that we noticed were cormorants, herons, parrots and many kingfishers.
The king of Periyar Tiger Reserve is the tiger. But he rarely steps out of the forest to greet his fans. From the safety of the boat you can observe herds of elephants. Binoculars will come in handy. There are many photo opportunities in the cruise. A tele lens will be useful to keen photographers.
There are 35 species of animals in the park, including many threatened species. It is a celebrated tiger and elephant reserve. Other animals include sambar, gaur, Nilgiri tahr, wild boar, sloth bear, Nilgiri marten, Nilgiri langur, otter, stripe-necked mongoose, Indian giant squirrel and Travancore flying squirrel.
The lake is home to many types of fish, including Periyar trout, Travancore loach, Periyar barb, channa barb, and Periyar latia. Authorities prohibit fishing.
In the middle of the reservoir, 20 minutes by boat from the mainland, is the lake palace. It was the summer residence of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, former Maharaja of Travancore. Now it is a top-end jungle resort. The palace could be a grand place to watch wildlife across the water.
Population of Butterflies
The forests nurture 246 species of butterflies. Nature lovers have spotted three rare species of butterflies here: Sahyadri Baby Five Ring, Pale Green Awlet and Broad Tail Royal.
Other outdoor activities in Periyar National Park are: Nature Walk, Bamboo Rafting, Border Hiking, Jungle Camp and Green Walk.
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