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Kerala is filled with numerous interesting attractions and millions of people visit the tourist places in Kerala every year to enjoy an exotic tropical vacation. Athirapally and Thekkady are two interesting tourism spots, which are just 108 km away from each other. It takes a little more than five hours to reach one destination from the other.

It is recommended to choose both the destinations for your vacation or your honeymoon place in India. If you happen to be in a situation where it is practically possible to visit just one out of the two destinations, it would take a long discussion to choose one. We have listed a few key differences between the two cities to help you make an important decision.

Kerala Travel Guide - Thekkady

1. Tourist Spots

If rich wildlife and lush greenery is your calling when vacationing, Thekkady in the rolling hills of Western Ghats is a must visit spot for you. There are sprawling spice gardens and glistening backwaters. You can hear the chirps of migratory birds and witness the winter flowers in bloom. February is one of the best months to visit Thekkady in Kerala for nature-lovers and wildlife travel enthusiasts around the world.

Thekkady is famous for Periyar National Park located in the well preserved high ranges of Western Ghats. Other attractions nearby are Chellarkovil, Mangala Devi temple Murikkady and Anakkara. Sabarimala temple of Ayyappa is located on top of a hill in Periyar Tiger Reserve. The best way to explore the Periyar Tiger Reserve would be to take a boat ride on Lake Periyar.

Vehicles are only allowed up to the Pamba River. Upon reaching the Pamba River, devotees begin a steep hike on the Neelimala mountain trail. Finally nothing better than visiting Peermade, which was once the summer residence of the Maharajas of Travancore. The tranquility that is breathed in its plantations of tea, coffee and its meadows covered with forests of pine and eucalyptus are incredible. You also have to go to see the famous Peermade Waterfall doing some of the wonderful hiking trails in the area.

Athirapally or Athirappilly is famous for the largest waterfall in the state. It is also called as the Niagara of India. It is located 1000 ft above sea level. The waterfalls are surrounded by forests. Apart from Athirapally falls, other attractions include Charpa falls, Thumpurmuzhi garden, forest garden, Sholayar dam, Peringalkuthu dam, Anakkayam and others.

It is the favorite place of some prominent film directors and many sequences of films such as Dil Se and Baahubali were filmed here. The best time to visit Athirapally is between June and December.

2. Wildlife Attractions

If you love wildlife attractions, you ought to choose Thekkady over Athirapally. Athirapally might be aesthetically pleasing with waterfalls and other scenic spots. It is hard to spot any animals or birds other than the occasional local species. The park lies in the middle of Cardamom hills.

This hilly region has thick forests, dams, rivers, reservoirs and many others. Top animals to spot here are tigers, Asian elephants, white tigers, wild pig, flying squirrel, macaque, Nilgiri langur, fruit bat, marten, sloth bear, jungle cat and others.

There is safari in Athirapally, which is just a ride to the rainforest. You can find many animals here but spotting elephant is common. Night drive through the forest is an important tourist activity in Athirapally.

3. Birdwatching

As mentioned before, the wildlife element of Thekkady has no boundaries. You can find more than 266 birds here when opposed to some very rare bird spotting in Athirapally. The top birds to spot in Thekkady are grey hornbill, wood pigeon, flycatcher, black baza, Oriental darter, black necked stork, brahminy kite, little spider hunter and many others.

4. Picnic Spots

Although Thekkady is filled with many interesting scenic spots and natural paradises, it is easier to find a good picnic spot in Athirapally than in Thekkady. A good picnic spot near the waterfalls will make the day more refreshing.

5. Time Span

Thekkady has many attractions including Periyar National Park, plantations, rafting and others. On the other hand, Athirapally is famous for waterfalls and picnics. It is easier to enjoy Athirapally in just one day. Thekkady can keep you busy for a couple of days. You would need more time to span all attractions in Thekkady. Athirapally has waterfalls, dams and a butterfly garden.

6. Budget

Travelling to Athirapally will not cost much. The travel cost, food and visit to butterfly garden are the major expenses to spare in Athirapally. On the other hand, you will be spending considerable amount of money for wildlife safari, rafting, entry ticket to the reserve and others.

7. Photography

If you love scenic photographs, you ought to visit Athirapally. If you want to click some interesting pictures with wildlife, Thekkady is the best. In short, if you are a photo enthusiast, both the places are very interesting.

8. Rainy Season

If you happen to visit Kerala during rainy season, it is recommended to visit Athirapally over Thekkady. It is hard to spot animals in the park during rainy season and heavy rains can lead to cancellation of safari, rafting and others. On the other hand, Athirapally will be aesthetically pleasing during heavy rains.

Kerala Travel Guide - Athirapally

9. Summer Season

You can find numerous animals with their cubs near the lakes in the wildlife park. Summer is also the right time to find numerous colorful birds and flowers in the park. On the other hand, Athirapally will not be at its prime beauty during summer. With lack of water, the waterfalls might not be a good picnic spot or sightseeing spot.

10. Water Activities

Thekkady might be famous for rafting but you cannot swim or bath in the water. On the other hand, you can bath, and allow the fast flowing water to massage you in Athirapally. You can float down the slope or perform any water-based activity here.

11. Shop and Dine

Athirapally is the best place to buy natural forest honey. There are a few resorts and hotels near Athirapally waterfalls to enjoy the traditional cuisine of the land. There is no shop or restaurant in the national reserve. You can find a few away from the park.

12. Water Theme Park

If you love theme parks, you ought to visit Athirapally. There are two theme parks little away from Athirapally. Thekkady does not have any theme park in it.

All differences apart, these two places are very important tourist spots. No matter which spot you choose, you are in for an exotic vacation. It is better to choose the right season for visiting each destination.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author


  1. Anywhere with bird watching and picnic spaces is a winner for me!

  2. Kerala is one of the most stunning places in the world! There certainly is no shortage of breath-taking photo opportunities while travelling the lush greenery of the Indian state.

  3. I would probably be more likely to visit Athirapally since the photography would be better.

  4. Super nice photos. After seeing them, I would now like to visit it soon.

  5. sounds like such a wonderful place to visit! I love the pictures you have of the water there! So beautiful!!

  6. Wow! That place is serene and stunning like a virgin rainforest or conservatory. Perfect place to go picnic and unwind just like what you have cited. Awesome!

  7. These pictures speak volume about peace and satisfaction. I really wish to visit these places soon. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. I think both places sound amazing to visit, hopefully, one day we will be able to save enough to venture out and have an amazing adventure.

  9. From your description you make it very hard to chose one location over the other. You almost have to visit both or you would be loosing out on an amazing experience. Your pictures show a fantastic landscape. Both locations have so much to offer, very tempting.

  10. Absolutely stunning! I could spend months exploring the many beautiful places in India.

  11. Looks like a great place to visit. I'll definitely go here one day with my family. Looks like a great place to visit. I'll definitely go here one day with my family.

  12. I live in Pune and it is one of the best places to visit in Western ghats. If it is to water activities I can travel little down to South.

  13. We love visiting places with wildlife! What kind of animals do they have?

  14. This looks like a great place to visit! The pictures are gorgeous! I definitely love to go places with beautiful scenery and wildlife.

  15. Thanks for sharing your insight into what seems like an awesome trip! The pictures look lovely.

  16. Both of these places are amazing and great to visit. Kerala is one of the beautiful places in India. Thanks for sharing.