Thenmala, an ecotourism centre, is located in Kollam District in the state of Kerala at an altitude of 1,640 ft. Situated in the Kollam - Shencottai Road about 72 km from the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram, it is adjacent to the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary and is a short distance away from the Courtallam Falls in Tamil Nadu. Often called as the hills that flow with honey, Thenmala is India’s first planned eco-tourism project which is spread over acres of evergreen forest.
Things to do in Thenmala
This unique eco-tourism habitat lies 500 m above sea level. It offers plenty of adventure and leisure activities with waterfalls, canopy walkway, mountain biking, rock climbing and river crossing, nature trails and picnic spots attracting naturalists, conservationists and adventure seekers.
The major attractions are the amphitheatre where local art forms and other cultural programs are performed. The Musical Dancing Fountain
– a rhythmic ballet of water, sound and light makes for a beautiful sight. The Lotus Pond has various aquatic plants while the Shop Court is used by local women for selling forest produce and local handicrafts.
There is also a deer rehabilitation centre where spotted deer and sambar are the main inhabitants. The centre also has a children's eco-park with treetop huts and swings. The sculpture garden here depicts the relationship between Man and Nature.
The eco-trip to the 300 ft waterfall at Palaruvi
is managed by the local community. Hanging Bridge
, Punalur (22 km) is on the way to Thenmala from Kottarakkara. The waterfall in Manalar on the way to Achankovil is a natural beauty. The Kumbavurutty Falls has a nature interaction centre. It also has tree houses for children. Boating and bird watching are major activities at the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary.
Travelling to Thenmala
Thenmala is located on NH-208, on the way from Thirumangalam to Kollam. By bus, Thenmala can be reached from Thiruvananthapuram. Buses are operated by the State Government and are available from the Central bus station every hour.
The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram, over 70 km away, which has flight connections to the rest of the country. The nearest rail head is at Kollam, over 60 km away, which is well connected to different parts of the state. Taxis are available from the railway station to reach Thenmala
. Transport arrangements can also be made through the hotel of stay.
Travel tips for Thenmala
The four zones of the Thenmala eco-tourism project have separate tickets which should be collected from the tourism facilitation centre. In addition, there are separate tickets for individual activities which need to be bought on the spot.
Accommodation options in Thenmala
Tents and dormitories are among the Thenmala popular hotels. Sleeping bags are provided for these types of accommodation. Apart from these there are jungle camps, an inspection bungalow at Ottakkal and motels run by the KTDC. While accommodation options can be booked separately, they can also be combined with other activities as part of Thenmala packages
The best time to visit Thenmala is during the winter season, from December to February. The temperature during this time ranges from 16⁰ Celsius to 30⁰ Celsius. In the summer months (March – May), the temperature goes over 35⁰ Celsius at times during the day time. However, after sunset, there’s a fall in the barometric readings. The rainy season, from June to September, is best avoided as the region receives heavy rainfall.