Our contributor Vijaykumar Thondamon received an extraordinary gift last week: His Highness Marthand Varma of Travancore, who celebrated his 90th birthday March 16th, presented him with his collection of rare photos of Thekkady. We are honored that Mr. Thondamon is sharing them with us.
Taken in the 1940s by HH Marthard Varma himself, the photos show the Periyar Lake Reserve in what was then called the Nellikkampatty Game Sanctuary, which included only an area of around 600 km2 around the lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam (built in 1895).
The photos include the Edapalayam Lake Palace, built for the guests of the Travancore State.
In 1950 the Nellikampatti Game Sanctuary was expanded into Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (777 Km2) by adding the adjoining forests of Rattendon Valley (12.95 Km2) and Mount Plateau (163.17 Km2) to the Periyar Lake Reserve. Declared Periyar National Park in 1982, additional lands have been added over the years to include a core tiger and elephant zone, and buffer zone, creating a current total of 925 km2.