A boat ride on a placid blue lake with a delicious canopy of evergreen and deciduous trees enveloping it sounds too Amazonian to be true. But there’s rainforest here too —in the heart of Kerala, at the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated between two rivers, Cheruthoni and Periyar, the sanctuary spans an area of 105 sq km at an altitude of450-748m above sea level in the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola talukas of the landlocked Idukki district. Adjacent to the Idukki Arch Dam, the sanctuary is home to a wide range of wildlife including jungle cats, tigers, elephants, bison, sambars, wild dogs, etc. Snakes too: cobra, viper and krait can be found rustling on the forest floor here.
Birding enthusiasts can train their sights on the laughing thrush, Malabar grey hornbill, woodpeckers, bulbuls, flycatchers, etc in the area. Some parts of the sanctuary can be trekked, with permission from the forest department. Kottayam is the nearest railway station (114km); Madurai in neighbouring Tamil Nadu is around 140km away. Munnar (50km) offers a range of accommodation options.