ing 777 square kilometres of the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park is one of India’s largest and most visited national parks. International and domestic visitors arrive in the hundreds each day, hoping to catch a glimpse of wild elephant, sambar deer and even tiger. Most who visit climb aboard one of the safari boats that ferry tourists around the 26-sq-km lake that the British built back in 1895. Sometimes wild elephant can be spotted on the open plains of grass that surround the water, but this isn’t guaranteed. In fact wildlife sightings in Periyar are fairly poor considering its popularity. Periyar generally features heavily on many itineraries through South India as it sits conveniently between Madurai and Cochin; because of this it can feel crowded with aged facilities. Having said that, if you are prepared to wake early for a morning trek, or have a specific interest in spices, we do feel it’s worth one or two nights. The cool air also provides a respite from the lowland heat so it makes a great stop as you cross over between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.