Located in the middle part of Kerala, the District is bound on the East by Madurai District of Tamil Nadu State while on the West by Ernakulam and Kottayam Districts of Kerala. In the South it is the Pathanamthitta District, while on the North it is bound by Trichur and Coimbatore Districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu States respectively.
It lies between 9 degree 15' and 10 degree 21' of north latitude and 76 degree 37' and 77 degree 25' of east longitudes.
With an area of 5,087 sq.km. Idukki ranks first among the districts in the state in respect of area, forming 13 percent of the total area of the state. It extends by 115km. from south to north and 67km. from east to west.
Idukki has many unique topographical and geographical characteristics. Idukki is the largest District of Kerala with an area of 5105.22 sq.km. About 97 percent of the total area of the District is covered by rugged mountains and forests. There is only a strip of Middle land (3%) in the western part of the district. Low land area is totally absent in the district. More than 50% of the area of the district is covered by forest.
There are 14 peaks in the district which exceed a height of 2000 meters above M.S.L. They are Anamala, Eravimala, Tathumala, Chenthavara, Kumarickal, Karimkulam, Devimala, Perumal, Ghudoor, Kabhula, Devicolam, Anchanad, Sabarimala and Karimala. Anamudi (Anamala) the highest peak south of Himalayas is in the Kuttampuzha Panchayat of Adimali Block and in the K.D.H Village of Devikulam taluk. The estimated height of the peak is 2817 meters.
As the district lies mostly in the highland, it is covered with dense forest, steep hills, and deep valleys. Because of the undulating topography large area of the district is not suitable for scientific cultivation.
The important rivers of the district are Periyar, Thodupuzhayar and Thalayar. Periyar which is 277km. long is the second longest river of Kerala. It originates from Sivagiri in the southeast part of the district and touches all the taluks of the district. The Periyar is harnessed at various points in its course for generating electricity and for irrigation purpose. Mullaperiyar dam, Idukki Hydro-electric project, Idamalayar Hydro electric project and the proposed lower periyar are constructed across the Periyar.
Kundala Dam, Mattupetty Dam, Munnar head works, ponmudi dam and the kallarkutty Dam are constructed across the various tributaries of Periyar. There are a few natural lakes in the district. They are Eravikulam and Devikulam lakes in Devikulam taluk, Elavizhapunchira, in Thodupuzha taluk. Two types of the soil are found in the district. The highland area is covered by forest soil(Alluvial soil) and the other parts by laterite soil.
The climate in the district undergoes a sudden variation as we go from West to East. The western parts of the distirct comprising midland area experiences moderate climate, temperture varying between 21degree C to 27degreeC with minimum seasonal variation.
The eastern parts of the district located in the highland have a comparitively cold climate with temperature varying between minus 1 degreeC to 15 degree C in november/january and 5 degree C to 15 degree C during March/April.
The district receives plenty of rains from both the South- West monsoon during June-August and the North- East monsoon during October - November. The normal rainfall is 3265 mm. As common to other parts of the state, the Idukki districtt also experiences both the south-west monsoon (Edavappathy) and North-East Monsoon (Thulavarsham) during June-July and October -November respectively. The former is more predominat with June experiencing the maximum rainfall.
The annual rainfall in the district varies from 250 to 425 cms. The western region of Devicolam taluk gets more rainfall which goes even upto 500cms. The Eastern and North-eastern regions of the district get very low rainfall normally upto 150 cms. Munnar, Devikulam Pallivasal, Vellathooval etc. are places getting high rainfall.
Idukki Wild Life Sanctuary
This sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district spreading over 105 Sq. Km. at 450 - 748m above sea level. The Idukki reservoir formed by three dams-Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu-extends to 33 sq km.
Elephants, Poorcu Pine, Sambar Deer, Wild dogs,Jungle cats, Malabar Gaint Squirrel, Wild boar etc.
Cobra, Viper, Krait and a large number of non- poisonous snakes
Jungle fowl, Myna, Laughing thrush, Black bulbul, Peafowl, Wood pecker, King fisher etc.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Lying in Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district, chinnar was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1984. It is located in the rain shadow region of Western Ghats. It is the second habitat for the endangered Giant Grizzled Squirell in India. With an area of 90.422 sq kms, Chinnar has the unique thorny scrub forest with Xerophytic species.
The undulated terrain with rocky patches increase the scenic splendour of the sanctuary. As the altitute varies from 500 to 2400 metres within a few kilo metre radius, there is a drastic variation in the climate and vegetation. The highest peaks are Kottakombumalai (2144 metre), Vellaikal malai(1863m), Viriyoottu malai(1845 metre). Unlike in most forests of Kerala, Chinnar gets only about 48 rainy days in a year-during October - November (North - East Monsoons). The forest types comprise thorny scrub forests, dry deciduous forests, high sholas and wet grasslands
FLORA The following species are found in the thorny scrub forests:
Acacia arabica (Karivelam) Acacia leucofolia (Velvelam) Acacia concinna (Cheevaka) Prosopis juliflora (Prosopis) Opuntia dillenii (Kallimul)
DRY DELICIOUS FORESTS.
Santalum album (chandanam), Anogeissus latifolia (Mazhukanjiram), Tamarindus Indica(Puli), Terminalia arjuna (nirmaruthu), Pongamia glabra (pongau) Largerstoemia lanceolata (Ventheku), Dalbergia latifio(Rosewood), Tectona grandis (Teak), Cassia fistula (Konna), Terminalia bellerica (Thanni), Emblica officianalis (Nelli) etc. are the common species
HIGH SHOLAS AND WETLANDS
Rhododendrom Nilagiricum (Kattu chemparathi), Elaeocarpus recurvatus (Bhadraksam), Strobillanthus kunthianus (Neelakurunji) grow in these areas.
Elephant, Gaur, Panther, Spotted deer, Sambar, Giant Grizzled Squirrel, Hanuman monkey, Rabbit etc. inhabit the chinna forests. The Giant Grizzled Squirrel is an endangered species. It is dull gray in colour.
The Chinnar sanctuary is accessible by good roads from the Airports of Coimbatore and Kochi. The nearest railway stations are Aluva(200 km) and Pollachi(60km)
As you travel along the road from Karimutti to Chinnar, you can spot elephant, spotted deer, sambar, hanuman monkey and even peacocks on either side of the road . This is a unique experience because generally one has to go deep into the jungle to see wildlife as in the case of most other sanctuaries.
Periyar Tiger Reserve
Getting to Thekkady is as sublime as the destination itself. A Scenic journey past mistcapped Mountains, spice plantations and open grasslands lined with spectacular waterfalls and delightful trakking trails forms the access to your hideaway here. Perched amidst dense greenery in the outskirts of the Periyar Tiger Reserve; Throwing up pleasant surprises like wild boars scuttling across the road in front, as you near the sanctuary. Which, sprawling across 777sq.kms, is one of the largest in India. With its matchless scenic beauty and the facilities offered by the Periyar lake formed by the damming of the Periyar river attracts a lot of tourists every year. The sanctuary spreads over an area of 673 sq.km and is situated at a height of 900 to 1800 metres above mean sea level. Facilities are available for cruising in this lake.
Wild animals seen here include elephants, bisons, sambar, monkeys and wild bear. Fortunate visitors can have a glimpse of the tigers foraging in the area. How ever on sunny summer days one can sight herds of wild elephants bathing in the lake. However the bisons are a wary and hardy lot and usually never allow any intruder to approach them. The sound of the motor boats scare them away. But a keen animal lover can stay in the few observation towers for a few days and luck will surely come in their way. Some of the famous tea gardens are located around this place. Further Peermade 43 k.m below Thekkady offers a golf-course and Peermade offers excellent facilities for stay.
Thekkady-the very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations.Here in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. With the animals of the wild and the simple unsophisticated mountain people. In the Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.