Periyar, best known for its wildlife, is a must-see for all visitors to Kerala. The Periyar Lake lies at the heart of the sanctuary which is a veritable paradise for all wildlife lovers. Where else can one view the animals in their natural surroundings while cruising on the lake, or better still come within a few feet of a herd of wild elephants and still be at ease! The majestic gaur, deer, wild boar and the distinctive Nilgiri langur are often spotted along the lake as also water birds.
Periyar's wildlife variety includes the tiger, sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, the Nilgiri tahr, wild dog, porcupine, lion tailed macaque, Malabar squirrel and sloth bear. The reserve has also attractions for the bird watcher as varieties of birds like the hornbill, blue winged parakeet, whistling thrush, flycatcher and water birds are to be seen here.
Observation towers are set about the reserve for the more enthusiastic of nature watchers and a cool summer palace of the former Maharaja of Travancore is a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. The ideal time to visit is between the months of December and May.