Thekkady : The Town with the Spice-scented Sills
A delightful plantation town, Thekkady continues to ooze oodles of charm so special of the Raj. Located in central Kerala, the town has a long line of spice plantations and hill all around.The star attraction of Thekkady is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, where it is possible to see the Indian tiger in its natural habitat along with elephants and a host of other animals. The Periyar Sanctuary covering the rich jungles of Periyar is spread across 777 sq. km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest. The sanctuary is a great draw for tourists and the park along with the artificial Periyar Lake makes it one of the must-visit places on the itinerary. For those with a keen interest in wildlife, there are three observation towers at Edappalayam and Manakkavala and Thannikudi. However, prior reservations have to be made before going to the observation posts.
On the fringes of the sanctuary is Kumily, 4 km away from Thekkady. The small town is a spice trade centre. Further on is Murikkady, another little place with big plantations of cardamom, coffee and pepper. The venue of the world's largest cardamom auction centre is Vandanmedu, 25 km from Kumily. The town also has sprawling cardamom plantations.
The town of Pullumedu , 43 km from Thekkady, is also on the hills and it offers views of the Sree Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Joythi illuminations at the shrine.
Thekkady has a few temples and the most notable among them is the ancient Mangala Devi Temple, 15 km from the town. Built in the traditional style of Kerala temples, Mangala Devi is deep in the forests and visitors are allowed only during the Chithra Pournami festival day.
Reaching Thekkady: The nearest airports are at Madurai and Kochi while Teni, Kottayam, Madurai and Changanaserry are the convenient railheads. There are frequent buses from Kumily, just four km away from Thekkady.
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