Paniyeli Poru, a Scenic Beauty on the Periyar River of Kerala

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India was celebrating its 71st year of independence by paying tributes to the freedom fighters, hoisting Indian flags, and sharing sweets. For me, I was running short of ideas for my Jaunt Monkey Channel and I had to shoot a video for uploading during the last week of August. After some Internet searches and discussions with friends, I decided to visit and explore Paniyeli Poru.

Perhaps you’ve sensed a thrilling Independence day celebration brewing here. I am obviously going to narrate one uniquely celebrated Independence day in the midst of tall tress and on the banks of giggling river. More than all, it was a ride that we were waiting since January 2017, me and Key. Starting off early in the morning was our plan, but our younger daughter’s health conditions paused our journey for sometime. We stayed back with her until she was perfectly alright to stay with her elder sister and grandparents.

Sprouting springs feeding Periyar
Sprouting springs feeding Periyar

Paniyeli Poru Ride: A Journey to Nature

The roads were so decorated that we could see the Indian flags and flowers everywhere. Golden rays from the sun hit the glitters and shined. I rod through the narrow yet curvy roads of Kochi. From the city to the outskirts, and from the less crowded outskirts to the countryside took less than two hours. We followed the signboards and took a final left turn to enter the mangrove style forest at the entrance of Paniyeli Poru, an eco-friendly tourism destination in Kerala. The spurting streams helped the vegetation to grow thicker and stopped soil erosion.

After a few attempts and positional changes, I parked my bike on a comparatively flatter surface. Slowly walking out from the wet tree roofed parking space, we walked towards the ticket counter. One side of the counter was a shelf arranged with locally produced forest products – honey, lemon grass oil, sandalwood oil, and many more.

On our way to Periyar
On our way to Periyar

People who visit Paniyeli Poru mostly do not expect to see an elephant or a tiger, but there were incidents that these wild animals come out of the jungle’s wrap for quenching their thirst from Periyar River. The task of forest guards and travel guides here is tough. Not only that they have to guide the tourists, but also that they need to care for the safety of animals and of course, men.

A Stroll Through the Banks of River Periyar

As directed by the guards at the gate, we strolled towards the river banks. On our way was a small homely structure, office of the Range Officer. The yard was prepared for the celebration and we were ambitious to join the forest management team. Key did not hesitate, but asked an officer who welcomed us gladly. The celebration that started with flag hoisting ended with sweets – rice porridge. Thanking the forest officers we continued our ramble.

With forest officers Paniyeli Poru
With forest officers at Paniyeli Poru

The cobblestones led us through the rim of the forest. Tall trees and bamboo thickets were on our sides. The forest was so silent and we could only hear the crackling of bamboo trees. Soon the clatter of water announced our proximity to the river Periyar. Pariyar is the major attraction of this less explored getaway location from Kochi.

Majestically flowing Periyar River
Majestically flowing Periyar River

Splashing waters in the ripples of river Periyar gave me goosebumps. While my heart was throbbing for taking a dip in the inviting waters, my mind warned me to keep myself away from the deceptive whirlpools. We were already warned by the forest department staff regarding the dangers cloaking under the beguiling estuary. We walked ahead through the banks of river Periyar. The weather was mild but humid and we precipitated severely. As the trail narrowed, the soil turned wet.

Forest trail @ Paniyeli Poru
Forest trail

In spite of all warnings, I requested a forest guard/guide to allow me for splashing a handful of water on my face from the river. The freshness of water and the coolness of air swiftly tickled my skin and inspired my mind.

Raman, the friendly guide advised me to revisit Paniyeli Poru during the summer months as only then you will have a wide range of activities to explore in this nature friendly Kerala destination. Listening from him that I missed a chance to cross one of the tributaries of the river for watching a small yet beautiful waterfalls and a lengthier walk in the jungle, I felt sad. More than all, what I missed out during our Paniyeli Poru ride was a dip in the pristine waters of Periyar.

Bamboo Thickets on the banks of River Periyar
Bamboo Thickets on the banks of River Periyar

Paniyeli Poru: Travel Tips

Overview: Paniyeli Poru is an eco-friendly tourism destination on the banks of river Periyar. When visiting this destination that is located on the edges of the forest in Kerala, you are expected to follow the norms of responsible tourism. Do not carry food inside the forest. Do not litter plastic and other waste materials in and around the forest. 

How to reach: The nearest airport to Paniyeli Poru is Cochin International Airport at Nedumbasseri (28 kilometers via Kalady Malayattoor Road). The nearest major railway station is Aluva at a distance less than 30 kilometers.

When to visit:  The best time to visit Paniyeli Poru is from October until May. To enjoy a pleasing dip in the waters of Periyar, you need to visit during January – March months.

Where to stay: If you visit this place for a stay, there are hotels and resorts nearby. Whispering waters Resort and The Quiet by the River Resort are the two major options available closer to Paniyeli Poru. Perumbavoor is the nearest town to choose a hotel of your suitable budget and comfort.

Nearby attractions: When visiting Paniyeli Poru, it is worth to visit Abhayaranyam (a place for protecting orphan antelopes and elephants. One can also visit Haritha Bio Park and AthirappillyVazhachal Falls. The forest department is also planning to introduce trekking facilities here (currently there are no trekking options here). Make sure that you enquire about the trekking options at the ticket counter, if you are interested in trekking. The forests here connects to Malayattoor forest and Bhoothathan kettu dam.

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E Jey
A traveler who loves to enjoy food and shares stories, I spent several years in Africa for job and for travel. I quit my full-time job in 2016 and now serious about my travels and story telling.
Real name: Ebbin Jose
Citizen of: India
Living in: Kochi (India)

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