Best 8 Tourist Places to Visit in Thekkady: Sightseeing Off-road, Boating and more

Thekkady is known to have one of the dense forests in India, rich in a diverse ecosystem located in the Idukki district of Kerala. Thekkady is better known as a “Tiger Reserve” as this region of Kerala is dominated by vertebrates especially tigers as well as elephants. The diverse forest types, marshy land, and a large aquatic habitat together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles, 27 species of amphibians, and 38 species of fish. Also, 160 species of butterfly have been recorded here.

Thekkady is also popular for producing high-quality natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. It is also known for vanilla cultivation that gives you a fragrant breeze all around. This land is also a very popular space for trekking activities, wildlife safari, and photographic expedition.

Best Time to Visit Thekkady: The best time to visit Thekkady is during winter months i.e. from October to February. This season is quite pleasant with an average temperature between 15°C and  27°C. This is an ideal season for sightseeing, outdoor activities and wildlife safari.

Top 8 Attractions of Thekkady:

There are many beautiful tourist attractions in Thekkady, especially for the nature lovers,  of which, the following are the top tourist attraction in Thekkady, that certainly not be missed:

  • Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Periyar Boating
  • Mangla Devi Temple
  • Gavi Forest
  • Chellarkovil Viewpoint
  • Ottakathalamedu Viewpoint
  • Pandikuzhi View Point and waterfall
  • Sathram -Offroad destination

More details of all the attractions of Thekkady are as below:

Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary:

Elephant herd in Periyar National Park Thekkady
Elephant herd in Periyar  | by Unniklda (CC BY- SA 4.0)

The beautiful Periyar National Park and wildlife sanctuary is a protected area and is best known for the tiger reserve. About 925 sq. kilometers area in Thekkady has been declared as Protected area out of which 305 sq. kilometers is regarded as the core zone of Periyar Tiger Reserve. This thick evergreen forest was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 and is known to be one of the best tiger reserves in the country.

The highest peak in this park is Kottamalai, which stands at 2,019 meters. Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve is very popular for its eco-tourism activities. The seven most popular ecotourism programmes at Periyar Tiger Reserve include Nature Walk, Green Walk, Jungle Scout, Border Hiking, Bamboo Rafting, Bamboo Groves and Jungle Camp.

Timing:Everyday 7am- 5pm
Entry Fee:INR 25 per person ( Indian)

INR 300 per person ( Foreigner)

Read more: Things to Do in Thekkady: 7 Eco Tourism Programmes in Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Boating:

Thekkady Boating
Boat ride at  Periyar Lake  | by Sibyperiyar (CC BY- SA 3.0)

Boating or Boat Ride at Periyar is one of the major attraction in Idukki district. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) offers the 2 hours boat ride at the artificial lake formed near the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is the only sanctuary in India where one can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.

The route covers the moist deciduous forest and grassland that brings along many wild animals on either bank of the lake in the way. One can easily spot herds of elephant, Deer, sambar, gaur and wild boars at frequent interval. It is also an ideal location for bird watching especially during winters when this region acts as a home to many migratory birds.

Timing:Everyday 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 11:15 am, 1:45 pm and 3:30pm.
Entry Fee:INR 225 per person ( Above 11 years)

INR 75 per child ( between  5- 11 years)

Read more: KTDC Periyar Lake Thekkady Boating Online Ticket Booking

Mangla Devi Temple:

Mangla Devi Temple Kumily
Mangla Devi Temple,  Periyar  | by RameshSharma1 (CC BY- SA 2.0)

Located at an altitude of 1337 meters above the main sea level, the Mangala Devi Temple is a 1000 years old temple. It is located at about 15 kilometers away from Thekkady on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The temple is located in the dense forest on the borders of the Periyar National Park. The Mangla Devi temple remains close throughout the year except for the month of April / May during the Chithra Poornima celebrations.

The presiding deity of the temple is Mangla Devi, also known as Kannaki, who symbolizes the moral abilities of women. The huge stones and granite with intricate work of scriptures on the stone walls are the prime attraction of the temple. As this area is strictly prohibited hence one needs to seek prior permission from the Periyar forest department for trekking towards and near the temple.

Timing:6 am to 6 pm (during Chithra Poornima)
Entry Fee:Nil

NB: Entry to Mangla Devi temple is strictly restricted by Kerala Forest Department and is allowed only on Chithra Poornima day(this year: 30 Aprill 2018, next year: 29 April 2018).

Gavi Forest:

Gavi_Forest_Waterfalls
A waterfall at Gavi | by Sarada c (CC BY- SA 4.0)

About 14 km south-west of Vandiperiyar, 28 km from Kumily, near Thekkady, Gavi is a part of Seethathode Panchayath in Ranni Taluk. It is a part of Periyar Tiger reserve, hence it is a popular location in Thekkady. After being listed among the top eco-tourism centers in the world by ‘Alistair International’, Gavi Forest is attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists.

Gavi is one of those places where you can easily spot few endangered species like Nilgiri tahr and Lion-tailed Macaque. With herds of elephants and more than 260 species of birds which includes the great pied hornbill, woodpecker, and kingfishers, Gavi is a paradise for all wildlife lovers. The forest also has a thick, beautiful waterfall that edifies the beauty of this location.

Timing:Everyday 8:30 am .to 5:30 pm ( Except Monday)
Entry Fee:INR 25 per person

INR 50 per vehicle

Chellarkovil Viewpoint:

View from Chellarkovil Viewpoint
Mangla Devi Hill view from Chellarkovil Viewpoint  | by Jayashankar Vasudevan (CC BY- SA 2.0)

Chellarkovil is a small sleepy village which is located at about 15 kilometers away from Kumly town near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. It is considered to be one of the best tourist locations in Idukki district as it is abundant of natural beauty. Chellarkovil is present at 1200 meters and is known for its greenish mountains, cascading waterfalls and picturesque beauty.

Chellarkovil Viewpoint offers a spectacular panoramic vista of Tamil Nadu, which includes a colorful patchwork of plowed fields, rolling hills, and tall mountain ridges piercing through the clouds. You can also see the waterfalls around the hills that shine like a diamond on a sunny day. It is certainly the best place to view the hills covered with dense green forest all around.

Timing:24×7
Entry Fee:Nil

Ottakathalamedu Viewpoint:

Ottakathalamedu is a lesser known attraction in Thekkady, which is getting popular day by day. Ottakathalamedu is situated at about 1300 meters above sea level at about 4 kilometers away from Thekkady. The Ottakathalamedu viewpoint is a tall tower which is manned by Kerala Police to observe hunters and poachers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Ottakathalamedu viewpoint offers the breath-taking view of Kumily, Periyar Tiger Reserve, spice gardens, Mangaladevi Temple, beautiful landscapes and some villages of Tamil Nadu. It is a beautiful location to enjoy the sunset and hence it is gaining popularity among the trekkers and adventure loving people.

Timing:24×7
Entry Fee:Nil

Pandikuzhi View Point and waterfall:

Pandikuzhi is located around 5 kilometers away from Thekkady between the Chellarkovil and the Tamil Nadu border. This hill station with lush greenery, natural waterfall, and a myriad of flora and fauna is a popular picnic spot in Iddukki. The Pandikuzhi viewpoint overlooking the Tamil Nadu and dense forest accompanied by small streams makes it a picture perfect location and hence is greatly loved by photographers.

The most beautiful part of Pandikuzhi trip is the Pandikuzhi waterfall. The cascading waterfalls, falling from a height of almost 1200 ft with the roaring sound and sprinkling chilled water definitely takes away your tiredness. This place is absolutely loved by trekker and adventure enthusiasts.

Timing:24×7
Entry Fee:Nil

Sathram -Offroad destination:

Sathram Thekaddy_kerala
Sathram Thekkady Off road  | by  Abhignya simhachalam (CC BY- SA 4.0)

About 14 kilometers away from Vandiperiyar, Mount Sathram has been used as a resting place by pilgrims and devotees towards Sabarimala Temple. The word Sathram means ‘a resting place’ in Malayalam and truly this place is a halt station for the devotees. Apart from being an important place for pilgrims, it is also known for the unique off-road trails. The trail can only be accessed by 4*4 vehicle or two-wheelers.

At a very nominal price, one can also opt for Jeep Safaris from Vandiperiyar to Sathram. The off-road route of Sathram crosses by the border of Periyar National Park, hence, this route brings along dense forest and grassland. Rare species like the Hornbill and Lion Tailed Monkey can be seen often on the trees that line forest boundary line during your trip.

Timing:24×7
Entry Fee:Nil

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