One of 16 tiger reserves in India, Periyar is it is perhaps better known for its elephants.
There are about 40 tigers living in the 777 sq km park but, as they are solitary creatures, the chances of seeing them are very slim.
The ecosystem of the tropical evergreen jungle is very interesting as the trees grow up to 40m, and the dense canopy only allows in limited sunlight.
Therefore at ground level, there are abundant ferns, orchid and airplants- plants which need little light to survive.
There was also a flourishing trade in 'black gold' - pepper - which, along with the spices, was sent to Europe by the Jewish and Arab traders.
In return, copper, brass and gold coins came to Kerala.
We stay with local families within a village, and your tour leader will brief you on local customs and traditions.Kochi has been a gathering place of merchants since antiquity and is full of bustling traders. Fort Kochi is the oldest European settlement in India (1500), and has a mixture of English, Dutch and Portuguese influence.The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but extensive renovations by the Dutch some hundred years later earned it the name the Dutch Palace.Nearby are the interesting cantilevered Chinese Fishing nets.In the early evening we see a performance of Kathakali, which is thought by some to be the very essence of the culture of Kerala.