The Periyar Tiger Reserve’s most popular activity, the Boating Trip around Periyar Lake, gives guests a relaxing yet incredibly rewarding view of one of the most beautiful locations on earth. The wildlife is unbelievable, the scenery is spectacular, and the opportunities for photographing these wonders are plentiful.
In an attempt to beat the crowd, we left Cardamom County at 6:00 AM for the 7:30 AM boating trip. We were waiting at the Periyar gate when it opened at 6:30 AM, and being the first inside, we were able to get tickets for the front of the boat. This is something I definitely recommend because it allows for an unobstructed view of the animals and scenery ahead, offering fantastic photo opportunities. After purchasing our tickets, we had 45 minutes until it was time to board and used this time to look for birds and animals around the gift shop area. We were able to find Malabar Gray Hornbill, Common Goldenback, Lesser Yellownape, both species of treepie, and Jungle Babblers in a very short amount of time.
We returned to the boat launch and boarded, and right away we found that the birdlife was fantastic with Darters, Little Cormorants, Woolly-necked Storks, White-throated and Pied Kingfishers, and Ashy Woodswallows all around. Other bird species we were able to see included Grey Heron, Brahminy Kite, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White-browed Wagtail, and Paddyfield Pipit. We got great photos of most of these bird species, which made the trip even more exciting. The mammal life on our trip was not great; we only saw two Wild Boar. However, that is certainly not the norm, as elephants, bison, and tiger are possible, and all except tiger are pretty likely. (On the walk in, we did find langurs and macaques.) With snags sticking out of the lake, mountains towering in the background, and lush jungle crowding the shore of the lake, the scenery was stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed this excursion. It is an inexpensive and laid back way to experience the beauty and the wonder of the Periyar Reserve.