Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 40 kms from Thodupuzha.
The first thing about this sanctuary is its great location. Being just across the famed Idukki Arch Dam, there is the extra benefit of enjoying the spectacular panorama of the dam site.
However, the dam has entry restrictions and is open to public only during holiday seasons.
The wildlife sanctuary frills the reservoir of Idukki Arch Dam. The reservoir, created by three dams, is almost a lake. It extends about 60 sq kms.
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is about 77 sq kms in area. Although smaller compared to the adjoining Periyar Reserve, it is blessed with thick forests.
The forest here is similar to that of Periyar Reserve. Most forests are evergreen and semi evergreen. You may also come across patches of Shola forests and grass lands.
There is a good variety of animals within the forest. However, the ones usually sighted are elephants, bison, snakes, jungle dogs, wild boars and types of deer. There is also a commendable population of birds, which include mynas, fowls, wood peckers and kingfishers and lots more.
One of best ways to sight animals is boating in the reservoir. Herds of elephants and other animals are seen at the banks as it is the major water source within the sanctuary.
Idukki Sanctuary is a daytime sightseeing spot, where the action is mostly treks and boat rides.
If you are disappointed by the crowds and queues of Thekkady, Idukki Reserve is a less crowded not so hyped alternative. Another plus is that you could see several attractions in one go. The Arch Dam is an obvious choice, so check in advance if it is open during your planned visit.
The lake of Kizhakkilachimala and its surrounding forests are very scenic. Equally impressive is the view of two dams (Idukki & Cheruthoni) from Hill Valley Park.
No accommodation facilities are provided at the sanctuary. One of the best towns in the region is Thodupuzha (40 Kms) where there are a few hotels. You could also stay at Munnar and have a day tour (50 kms). Another option is Kattappana at 34 kms. Being a small town, stay choices are very limited at Kattappana.
When to Visit
Though the sanctuary can be visited year round, heavy rain and leeches can take the fun away during the wet season (June- Sept).
Expect afternoon / evening rains during October and November. December till early March is nice and pleasant.
March to May is hot and the temperature reaches hovers above 30 degrees C.
How to reach
Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is near the middle of Idukki district. It can be reached only by road.
Cochin airport is at about 112 kms. Expect a three hour drive.
The nearest major railway station is at Kottayam. It is at about 87 kms (2.5 hours by road).