Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, in Kerala, is the Periyar
famous for its National Park and Tiger Reserve. The park has a picturesque
lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Formed with the building of a dam in
1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills,
providing a perennial source of water for the local wildlife. Herds of
elephant and sambar, gaur and wild pigs wander down to the lakeside and can
be observed from the launches that cruise the lake.
In March and April, during the driest period here, the animals spend a lot
of time near the lake and the elephants can be seen bathing and swimming in
the reservoir. A glimpse may be had even of the tiger during this season, as
it comes to the water. Periyar also harbors the leopard, wild dog,
deer and mouse deer. On the rocky outcrops along the lake, monitor lizards
can be seen basking in the sun. Visitors who trek into the Park often see a
python and sometimes even a king cobra.
Although an excursion on the splendid artificial lake is the standard way
to experience the sanctuary, you can also walk around with the local guide
in a small group. Wild Elephant herds come to the lake to frolic in the
water. There are boat services which takes the visitor around the lake. The
best season to visit the park is between October and June.