The tiny town of Thekkady packs a lot of activities that can be enjoyed by all kinds of travellers. We list down the top experiences you must certainly have while visiting this stunning destination, conveniently located amongst spice and tea plantations in the Western ghats, one among the eight best bio-diversity places on the planet. By Amitha Ameen
1. Walking Trails & Boating
Thekkady is home to the country’s largest Tiger Reserve — Periyar. A moist, evergreen forest that contains within it rich flora and fauna. Apart from the obvious, spotting Tigers that is, the reserve offers a plethora of activities. For the adventurist, we recommend the walking trail lining the Periyar lake, part of the longest river in Kerala. For a more laid-back experience, the boat ride on the lake offers stunning views of the surroundings.
2. Bamboo-rafting & Hiking
What is special about bamboo rafting at Thekkady is that the rafting tour caters to only 10 people at a time. Limited people and absolute silence will let you better enjoy the natural surroundings. An hour-long trek through the jungle followed by three-four hours of riding on bamboo rafts in still waters, while spotting several species of birds and animals makes for a beautiful experience. What makes this even better is the food provided by the forest department. As part of the tour, the Kerala forest department offers neatly packed meals in a backpack for you to carry during the trek. The officials also make sure that no traveller leaves behind any waste during the entirety of the trek.
3. Night Patrol
Now, this one is our personal favourite! Claimed by some to be the only place in the whole country that offers a night patrol, makes it even more enticing for any traveller. Each night a maximum of two teams of five-six people are allowed to participate. With two slots between 10:00 PM–4:00 AM every day, the night patrol isn’t for the faint-hearted. Accompanied by a guide and an armed forest guard, you make your way through the depths of the jungle on foot with nothing but a torchlight. From Sloth Bears and Elephants to Tigers and Indian Gaurs and 45 species of reptiles including the endangered and deadly King Cobra, there is no guessing what type of animal will pop up in front of you. But the sound of sheer silence, the night sky and the thrill of the unknown are enough reasons to urge you to take this one-of-a-kind patrol experience.
4. Indulge locally
Be it Puttu and Kadala (steamed cake and black chickpeas), Malabari Parotta (Flatbread) and Fish curry or just the traditional Kerala meals — food in Kerala has a personality of its own. But if you aren’t of the experimenting kind, not to worry. With the recent tourist influx, there are a lot of new restaurants that have opened up that offer everything from continental to Chinese.
5. Spice Trail
Dotted with spice plantations, it only makes sense that more than 80% of the town’s markets are filled with wholesale spice seller shops. From cardamom and clove to cinnamon and peppercorn, there is no spice that you wont find here. Take a step further and sign up for a spice trail and enjoy a picturesque, aromatic walk through the plantations.