Periyar is South India's most popular wildlife sanctuary. It covers an area of 777 sq. km with a 26 sq. km artificial lake, created by the British in 1895. The Periyar Lake was formed by a dam across the Periyar River. This tropical forest reserve has all the major birds, animals as well as flora, It is home to bison, antelopes, sambar, wild boar, monkeys, langur and a variety of birds, elephants and of course the tiger.
Periyar is also known for the best quality Indian spices and the whole atmosphere is full with the aroma of high quality spices.
Wildlife can be seen in its natural habitat by cruising on the lake in motorboats. Two-hour boat trips on the lake are the usual way of touring the sanctuary. Elephant rides inside the park are also popular. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from September to May. Although the hot season February to March may be less comfortable, it offers more opportunities for wildlife sightings because with other water resources drying up, the animals are forced to the lakeside.
There are many picnic spots around the sanctuary that are approachable by either motor launch or bridge path in the forest, some of which are Manakkavala (10km), Periyar Dam (12kms), Arubi Creek (16kms), Crusoe Island (19km) and Pavarasu (19kms).