THE CONSTRUCTION of the Mullaperlyar Dam across the Periyar river at Thekkady, in 1895, submerged large tracts of land and created a huge lake, covering an area of 26 sq km (10 sq miles). Years later, in 1935, the then Maharaja of Travancore declared 600 sq km (232 sq miles) of forest surrounding the lake a wildlife sanctuary. The Periyar Lake now forms the nucleus of the ecosystem of the sanctuary which, over the years, has been expanded to 777 sq km (300 sq miles). Declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the sanctuary is a rare example of human interference having enhanced rather than damaged an ecosystem.
The former buinting lodge of the maharaja of travancore is now a delightful hotel inside the santuary.
The petrified tree trunk that jut out from the lake convenient perches for birds loocking out for fish.
The deciduous forest grassland and tropical evergreen of periyar and tropical
every green interiors the endangered lion- tailed maceque as wel as indian bison (gaur), sloth bears and the slender loris.
HERDS OF ELEPHANTS
The lake, a year- round source of water,and the abundant grassland make the sanctuary an ideal habitat for elephant, which now number opproximately800.
THE MANGALADEVI TEMPLE
15 km (9mils) est of tekkady, lirs at ahight of 1,337 m (4,387), and offers excellent panoromic views of the forested hill of the ghats.
Two hour baat cruise on the mist shrouded lake offer excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, especialy bers of elephants.