Thekkady Ultimate Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Planning a trip to Thekkady? This guide is all you need! Find out what to see and do in this beautiful place, from exciting adventures to amazing sights. Learn about Thekkady’s history and how to get there too!

Updated 2 May 2024

7 mins read



Thekkady boasts a pleasant year-round climate and stunning natural beauty. Tall mountains covered in green plants, calm lakes, and waterfalls create a wonderful view and sound. Tribal people who live in the forests around Thekkady add to its charm. They can show you what it’s like to live close to nature. There are also adventure and cultural experiences in Thekkady & Periyar Tiger Reserve that visitors can explore.


Thekkady’s name holds a fascinating connection to its history. Derived from the Malayalam word “thekku,” meaning “teak,” the name reflects the region’s past abundance of these majestic trees.


The area has a rich conservation history. Initially protected in the late 1800s, it later became a wildlife sanctuary and then a tiger reserve. Recognizing the importance of diverse wildlife, it joined Project Elephant and even expanded its protected area in the recent past.


1895 – Mullaperiyar Dam was built

1899 – Periyar Lake Reserve was established

1978 – Periyar was designated a tiger reserve

1991 – Periyar was included in Project Elephant

2012 – Periyar Reserve gains 148 sq km² of Ponnambalamedu forest


Thekkady is a border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, surrounded by the foothills of the Western Ghats. Dense evergreen forests, grasslands, and Periyar Lake dominate the landscape, making it a great place for wildlife spotting.

Malabar Giant Squirrel in Thekkady



From calming boat trips to heart-racing treks, Thekkady has adventures for everyone!

Guide trekking in Periyar Tiger Reserve
Trekking – Periyar

Periyar Tiger Reserve caters to trekkers of all levels with trails through varied terrain. Led by experienced guides, treks offer opportunities to spot wildlife & diverse flora. Choose from a variety of options, ranging from short hikes to multi-day expeditions that take you deep into the forest.

Bamboo raft gliding through Periyar lake
Bamboo Rafting – Periyar

Bamboo rafting offers a unique eco-friendly way to explore the Periyar Tiger Reserve. This adventure combines hiking & rafting, with full-day & half-day options available. This allows for wildlife sightings & an immersion in the region’s diverse flora & fauna.

Boat cruising in Periyar lake
Boating – Periyar

Experience the thrill of boating in Thekkady, as you navigate through the picturesque Periyar Lake. Boating cruises last 1.5 hours and it’s not unusual to see an elephant herd or a group of Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Indian Gaur herds & other wild animals.


Dive into Kerala’s rich heritage with Thekkady’s traditional performances & art forms.

Artists performing Kathakali in Thekkady

The Kathakali performances at the Kadathanadan Kalari are a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing this unique art form. The performers are highly skilled & talented, & they bring the stories to life with their performance.

Artists performing Kalaripayattu in Thekkady

Kalaripayattu is an ancient Indian martial art with roots in Kerala. Several cultural centers like the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre & Navarasa Kalari Centre, host demonstrations. These performances typically include weapon drills, displays of agility and flexibility, and simulated combat sequences.


Thekkady has amazing things to see, from cascading waterfalls to breathtaking views!

Mlamala waterfalls in Thekkady
Mlamala Waterfalls

The Mlamala Waterfalls is a scenic waterfall located in Idukki district, Kerala. It is known for its cascading waters and the lush green surroundings. The waterfall is a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers.

View from Parunthumpara viewpoint
File:Manu Mathew Keerampanal Parunthumpara.jpg” by Manu Mathew Keerampanal is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Parunthumpara is a nature lover’s dream. Meaning “Eagle Rock” in Malayalam, this 4,700-foot hill station offers treks, stunning views, and unique rock formations like the eagle-headed peak and the poet Tagore’s profile.

Stream of Chellarkovil flowing through

Chellarkovil boasts a viewpoint offering breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls, especially during the monsoon season (June to September). Adding another layer to the charm is a short but very beautiful bridge that passes over the stream.


SUMMER (March to May)

Thekkady is beautiful in the summer. It’s not too hot, just warm and sunny. This is a great time to visit if you want a peaceful and relaxing trip.
You can enjoy:
• Visiting viewpoints like Sathram & Parunthumpara which are gushing with cool breeze.
• Local theatres like Kathakali & Kalaripayattu.

MONSOON (July to September)

Thekkady receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season which transforms into a lush green paradise.
You can enjoy:
• The waterfalls and the lush greenery are at their peak during this time.
• The monsoon season is considered ideal for certain Ayurvedic treatments.

WINTER (October to January)

This is the best time to visit Thekkady, with cool and comfortable weather. The temperature ranges between 15°C and 21°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities.
You can enjoy:
Boat rides on Periyar Lake.
Jeep adventures, Bamboo Rafting & more.

SPRING (February to April)

Spring in Thekkady is a delightful time to visit. The summer heat hasn’t arrived yet, so you’ll enjoy comfortable temperatures.
You can enjoy:
• The forests come alive with vibrant colors during spring.
• Learn about the cultivation and harvesting of spices through a plantation tour.



From Bengaluru
• Distance & Time: Approximately 509 kms & 9 hours.
Bengaluru ⮕ Hosur ⮕ Krishnagiri ⮕ Salem ⮕ Dindigul ⮕ Theni ⮕ Cumbum ⮕ Thekkady

From Kochi
• Distance & Time: Approximately 155 kms & 4 hours.
Kochi ⮕ Kanjiramattom ⮕ Thalayolaparambu ⮕ Kuravilangad ⮕ Pala ⮕ Vandanpathal ⮕ Vandiperiyar

From Chennai
• Distance & Time: Approximately 647 kms & 11 hours.
Chennai ⮕ Tindivanam ⮕ Ulundurpet ⮕ Salem ⮕ Dindigul ⮕ Theni ⮕ Cumbum ⮕ Thekkady


Only private operators offer service to Thekkady from major cities Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. You may be able to find government operated buses from nearby towns.


The nearest station is Kottayam Railway Station, which is roughly 100 kms away. Kottayam station is well-connected to many major cities, including Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, and New Delhi. From Kottayam station, you can reach Thekkady by taxi or bus, with the journey taking roughly 2-3 hours.


Cochin International Airport (COK) is the recommended airport to fly into when visiting Thekkady. This is a larger international airport located about 144 kms from Thekkady with a wide range of domestic and international flights options. From the airport, you can reach Thekkady by taxi or bus, with the journey taking roughly 4-5 hours.


Don’t worry about navigating unfamiliar streets! Taxis and auto rickshaws operate in the city & can take you comfortably to all the must-see sights. They’re also a reliable option for airport pickups, train station arrivals, and even journeys to nearby towns.

Here are few of our local partners who can assist you with local transport:
Jeemon (Taxi): 9061137208
Vinod (Gypsy): 9446342227
Sugu (Rickshaw): 9895093572


Situated at the edge of the Periyar forest, Avadale Thekkady is a quaint resort with comfortable large rooms, modern amenities and an on-site restaurant. Surrounded by lush greenery, Avadale Thekkady is an oasis of peace & quiet yet situated just a couple of KMs from the hustle & bustle of the tourist town of Thekkady, the gateway to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. And while you’re staying here with us, our friendly little neighbours – the Lion-tailed Macaque & the Malabar Squirrel may drop by to say hello!

Outdoor shot of Avadale Thekkady

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