Wildlife, spices, & tea plantations in Periyar
As we explore all of the regional and cultural wonders that South India has to offer, we find ourselves traversing through the rolling hills of Periyar. Periyar is the green-thumb region of the west, the western ghats, or Sahyādri, offering cool respite from the customary heat of the south. Many Tamil Nadu and Kerala locals escape to Periyar to enjoy the untouched jungles and sprawling scenery. It is one of the highlights on our meditation retreat to South India this March.
Besides being exquisitely lush and offering an abundance of flora, Periyar hosts miles of tea plantations that cover the hills. On any given day one can see the tea-leaf pickers working away, sorting tea leaves by the side of the road. Once the tea is picked and sorted, it is then packed into large sacks to be delivered for distribution.
Along with tea, Periyar is also known for its spices. Plots of cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom are common to the area. The elevation, geographic location, and climate make for an ideal environment for the spices to grow. Normally, it is the strong and sweet spice aroma that is first noticed, and our spiritual adventurers can’t help but smile at these warming and familiar smells.
Describing Periyar without mentioning the animals inhabit the region would be a great injustice, as it is one of the best places to encounter undisturbed wildlife. Periyar is home to one of the largest and most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in the world, the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Here one can spot elephants, monkeys, deer, Indian wild dogs, and sometimes, if you are lucky, one of the 40 tigers found in the Tiger Preserve.
Tea, spices, wildlife, and much more awaits us in Periyar.
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