Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the Periyar Lake presents an excellent boating spot for tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water's edge. The upper deck is best for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise, but better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat. To maximise you chances, take the 7.00 am boat. You can also consider renting your own boat.
Jeep and elephant safaris are also a good perch from where to view the animal world. A little 'encouragement' from you would probably take the mahout off the beaten path to more rewarding locations. If you are staying outside the park then a rented bike or local bus will take you to the park's entrance. Most visitors tour the park on the two-hour boat rides around Periyar Lake. Rather than the larger sized public boats, which proportionately dim your chances of actually seeing game, go for a smaller private boat, which would correspondingly tilt the odds in your favour. Early morning and dusk are the best times for wildlife. In the afternoons they all tend to disappear into the shade of the thick forests.
A morning 'trek' is another great way of doing some serious game watching. A knowledgeable guide will take you to all the hot spots and point out anything interesting like pug marks (if you are really lucky) or chital droppings. Some hotels offer more serious treks into the forest that a keen enthusiast will enjoy.