UNESCO thinks the forests of Western Ghats are among the 8 hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world. The most pristine among them are the forests of Thekkady in the Periyar National Park. This is a forest where you are almost guaranteed to spot a herd of wild elephants, while it is also home to around 30 tigers. One of the most favoured things to do in Thekkady is to take the boat safari organized by the Forest Department. We however, recommend doing a hike organized by the Forest Department. For something totally unexpected in the middle of the forest region, we recommend a visit to watch the Kalaripayattu performance, Kerala’s traditional martial art show, at the Mudra Cultural Centre. You also get to sample some of the freshest and best spices ever to be found in the world, on the spice plantation tours. For the adrenaline seekers, we recommend taking some time off and go bamboo rafting on the white frothing Periyar River. We think Thekkady is one of the best wildlife destinations in India and a visit to Kerala is not complete without at least a night here.


Wildlife and nature along with a Kalaripayattu performance are the best things to do in Thekkady.

  • Do a boat safari organized by the forest department. It is recommended to book your tours in the peak season, as they get quite full easily. This 2 hour ride will take you through the lake into the deep forests and you can spot many wild animals coming to the lake to quench their thirst.
  • The Forest department also conducts hikes in the region. The Nature Walk and the Green Walk are both 3 hour walks into the forest where you get a hands-on introduction to the Western Ghats. A local tribal leads the tour and this is an absolute ‘MUST DO’ to experience for nature lovers.
  • Bamboo rafting conducted by the Periyar Forest Department is a full day event that takes you deep inside the jungle on a handmade bamboo raft! Sightings such as Giant Squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, herds of Asian Elephants and Gaurs are common. However, make sure you book well in advance for this, as only two batches of 5 tourists are allowed to venture into the forest everyday.
  • The Kalaripayattu show at Mudra Cultural Centre: Kalaripayattu is the local form of martial arts that has been practiced in Kerala from around the 13th century. Watch the warriors put up a show for you, showing some amazing skills with sticks, fire and armoury.
  • Take a spice plantation walk: This one hour walk will introduce you to the Indian spices and some of the herbs used in Ayurveda. You can see cinnamom, cardamom, pepper and many more spices typically grown in this region. You are even allowed to pluck some and cook up Indian delicacies. You can also buy some spices at the end of the tour.


  • Periyar National Park is one of the most pristine stretches of forest in the entire country. Thekkady, the town from where you can enter the wildlife sanctuary is 150 Km from Kochi. It is best to reach the place in a taxi, since the public buses are few and far.
  • The best time to visit Thekkady is from October to March. It gets hot in summer around April and May and the monsoon shows its full fury in June and July, making it the worst time to travel around in this region.
  • There are numerous homestays available around Thekkady.

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