Thekkady has one of the most unique natural landscapes that conjures up immense scenic beauty and diversity in lush green forests of Periyar. The vegetation and cool climate blended with the mesmerizing beauty of spice gardens created a boom in the tourism industry. With a number of activities provided and an immense number of places to visit, Thekkady makes a perfect holiday spot for all age groups.
The graceful lands of Kumily have its historical roots from the colonial period when India was ruled by Britain.The area which was initially in the hands of the Thekkumkoor Rajas came under the rule of Marthanda Varma in his campaigns in Travancore. The land which was ruled by the kings of Poonjar in the 19th century came under the rule of Britain during the colonial invasion. The thick woody forests were made into agricultural lands and were strewn with cash crops like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, coffee etc. Many workers were brought from parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu into Kumily to work these plantations.
Kumily is a village located in Peerumedu Taluk of Idukki district, Kerala, India. At a height of 2,890 feet from sea level, the hilly terrains are covered mostly with cardamom plantations. The heritage and diversity of Periyar Wildlife sanctuary in its premises adds on to the glory of Kumily. Situated at a latitude of 9.6037 degree North and a longitude of 77.1675 degree east, the temperature of Kumily varies from 11 degree Celsius to 28 degree Celsius. The average rainfall here is around 1910mm to 75.2 inch per year.
Thekkady, located at just 5kms from Kumily has many plantations across the whole area including coffee, cardamom, pepper and other spices. The area is populated with around 29,368 and 36,331 people who speak mainly Malayalam and English. The best time to visit Thekkady is between September to March when the climate is moderate and the forest is lush green. The Monsoon time between June to August all waterfalls and rivers gets live with mesmerizing beauty of nature.
Kumily connects Kollam to Dindigul through NH 183. The nearest railway station is Kottayam and Madurai while the nearest airport is at Madhurai and Cochin International Airport. The famous pilgrim center Sabarimala is just 105 km from here. From Kottayam, it is easy to access Thekkady through KK road which passes through Pambanar, Vandiperiyar, Kanjirapilly, Pampadi, Ponnkunnam and Mannarkadu. It is possible to reach kochi from Kottayam via Pala, Kaduthuruthy, Thalayolaparambu, Thripunithra and Vyttila.
Thekkady is well known as a spice trade center and shopping hub. But it is golden fame lies with the boating offered through the calm Periyar Lake. You can take a bus or rent a bicycle and ride around the park spotting wild buffaloes, bears, elephants and different birds. These are some spots that you can cover on a trip to Thekkadi. Murikkudy is an aboard of spices like cardamom, pepper and coffee and is located at a distance of 5 kms from Thekkady. Pandikuzhi gives an exotic picture with clear streams, flora and fauna and is located near Tamil Nadu border. Mangala Devi Dam which is located at a height of 1337 metre from sea level is a main tourist attraction and is only open to visitors during the time of Chithra Pournami. Challarkovil is just 15kms from Kumily and provides an enchanting view with lush green plains and waterfalls. Vandiperiyar has huge tea, pepper and coffee plantations. The place is well known for the rich fauna. There is a government agricultural farm with anthuria, roses and orchids. Vandanmedu, which is 25 kms from Kumily is an auction center for cardamom. A stroll through these scented plantations would be definitely refreshing. Pullumedu, which is just a few kilometers away from Thekkady offers a beautiful view of hills and valleys and the rich fauna and flora adds on a special beauty to it.
Being one of the finest wildlife resources around the world, Periyar tiger reserve promises a refreshing experience with the cool breeze of the Western Ghats and a view of wildlife and vegetation.The forest types of Periyar include tropical evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, ,grasslands and eucalyptus plantations. Tigers, Asiatic wild elephants, Nilgiri Langurs, wild boar, wild dog, bison, leapords and bears rules the forest and can be spotted here. The area is well known for plant species like Vateria Indica, Artocarpus hirsute, Salmalia malabarica, Hopea parviflora, Careya arborea etc. The rich avifauna includes Malabar grey hornbill, herons, kingfishers, herons etc. Spread across an area of 7777 square metres, the amazing stretch of greenery derived its name from river Periyar which is the lifeline of the reserve. There are different activities provided in the sanctuary like Bamboo rafting, tribal dance, nature walk, jungle scout, border hiking, tiger trail, jungle camp etc.