The Nature Rich Area
A landlocked district with an area of 5019 sq kms and an altitude of 2200 metres above the sea level, Idukki is one of the most nature rich areas of Kerala.
Three main rivers - Periyar, Thalayar and Thodupuzhayar - and their tributaries, gird high ranges and wooded valleys. The river Pamba also has its origin here. As a tourist destination, Idukki also offers diverse attractions like wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, spice plantation tours, mountain treks and elephant rides etc.
Idukki has a large population of tribals, the main tribes being Muthuvan, Malayarayan, Mannan, Paliyan, Urali, Ulladan, Malavedan and Malampandaram. The tribes of Kerala have unique customs and beliefs and maintain an ethos, which is distinctly different from that of the mainstream culture.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
About 4 km from Kumili. The most renowned destination is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady, one of India's major sanctuary areas. The pride of Kerala and a testimony to nature's splendor and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
The sanctuary offers a lovely and comfortable way to see the animals via boat rides on the man-made lake, which the wildlife areas encircle. In addition to the wild life, there are water and land birds galore here, and one can sometimes find dedicated bird watchers setting in for one or two weeks of serious observations. This sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters.
Idukki Arch Dam
Idukki Arch Dam is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam, constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. 550 ft high and 650 ft. wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located close by.
Munnar Hill Station
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni, Kundala. 1600 m. above sea level, this hill station was the summer resort of the British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, and holiday facilities make this a popular hill station. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi - which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.
Lies at an altitude of 900-1800 m above sea level. Rainfall: 2500 mm. The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
Eravikulam National Park
130 km from Ernakulam. This sanctuary was established specially for the preservation of Nilgiri Tahr, one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Now the number of tahrs has increased and they constitute the largest known population of tahrs existing in the world. In addition to tahr, the park houses elephants, sambars, gaurs, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, tigers and leopards. Accommodation and board facilities are available at Munnar, the nearest town, which is connected to Kottayam (148 km.) and Ernakulam (130 km.) by road. There is a motorable road up to Rajamally. Further, travel is on foot, which makes for some great trekking.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluk of Idukki district, spreading over 77 sq km and is about 450-748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq km. Fauna: Elephant, bison, sambar deer, wild dog, jungle cat, tiger, wild boar, cobra, viper, krait... Birds: jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher.