This town is located approximately 100km south of Munnar, and was our next stop. It is very popular among European tourists; the majority are German, Italian, French, and British. The main attraction is Periyar Wild Life Reserve.
The most popular part of the reserve is the 2-hour boat ride along the lake that offers views of many different animals. **Note: Your best chances of seeing an elephant or tiger are early in the morning. The first morning boat is a must! In January, this is 7am, but times vary by season. On the single-decker boat and double-decker boat, the top level is the best. On the double-decker boat, the bottom level is slightly cheaper, but some views are partially restricted depending on where you sit on the boat. Pay a little more and sit on the top deck. Wild boar, black monkey (larger than typical monkey, more like an ape), elk, gazelle, and tropical lizards are all commonly seen. Elephants and tigers are more rare. The most ideal situation is a clear, dry day, and catch the first boat (6 or 7am). If it is the summer time or a time of drought, you will be more likely to see elephants (and other wildlife) come to the lake for water (as opposed to the rainy season).
Thekkady is also famous for Aurvedic massages. These have been featured in Lonely Planet Guide Books and are very popular, so you will have to sign up for an appointment in advance. They are usually available seven days a week. Ask at the main desk of your hotel, and they will give you details. The rates are Rs500 for full body massage (not including head massage), Rs600 for full body including head, and Rs700 for full body and head and a more expensive oil. The massage lasts about 60 minutes, followed by a relaxing 15-minute steam bath. The whole thing is extremely soothing and well worth the price, which equates to about $15 US for the full body massage with head massage, which is also the most popular choice.
Not a bad destination for animal watching and affordable ayurvedic relaxation!!