Thenmala translates into the lyrical sounding honey hills. Earlier Thenmala was a sought after place because of the belief that the honey collected from this region had medicinal qualities, has now become a destination known for conservation. This is India’s first planned eco tourism destination. Thenmala is situated 500 meter above sea level in the southern part of the Western Ghats. Thenmala is gaining popularity due to its unique landscape, bio-diversity and functioning. Situated about 72kms from Thiruvananthapuram, in the District of Kollam, the Thenmala Eco-Tourism shares its resources with the famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary at the foothills of the Western Ghats. The Eco Tourism project is managed by Thenmala Eco-Tourism Promotional Society, which is an undertaking of the Government of Kerala, Thenmala Eco-tourism is a unique destination from a visitor's point of view. It has equal opening for enjoyment, exciting activity, and relaxation and for education the meaning and necessity of eco-friendly measures for promoting tourism related activities.
There are well-placed signboards, direction pointers, and information boards to facilitate one's movement inside the project area. Divided into different zones with a particular theme, the project area currently has three major zones viz.
- Culture Zone
- Leisure Zone
- Adventure Zone
At the Culture Zone one can indulge in a multiple of activities like trying few traditional Kerala dishes at the restaurant there, a bit of shopping for memento sake, a peep on Kerala's art and culture, an amphitheatre etc. But the highlight of the Culture Zone is the open air Musical Dancing Fountain, which is a big attraction among the visitors. There is also a Tourism Facilitation Center in the Culture Zone to provide information on a wide range of tourism products available at Thenmala.
When you enter in to the Leisure Zone here and try the walkway leading to the dam. The sway bridge here could be an exciting proposition, especially for children. Adding more variety and elegance to the landscape here is the Sculpture Garden, which has Man & Nature as its theme.
For those with an overindulgence of adrenalin and those willing to test their adventure spirit would find the Adventure Zone here quite a thrilling experience. Take the elevated walkway for a journey that winds through the canopy of trees and going over rocky terrains bringing one close to life at different heights. And still those who don't mind to give their body muscles a real work out can go for mountain biking, rock climbing and river crossing.
Besides the zone-based activities for a visitor, Thenmala Eco-Tourism also offer other attractions, like an invigorating boat ride in the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary.
Deer Rehabilitation Centre, where one can have a look at a group of spotted deer, the sambar deer and the barking deer, which have been given protection after straying out from the forests. You can walk along the banks of Kallada River by the side of enclosure.
The centre also has children Eco Park with tree top huts and swings.
Palaruvi Waterfalls is just 16 kms away from Thenmala, This is highest waterfall in Kerala. This is managed by Local forest Development Agency. Palaruvi means milky stream, falls down from a height of 300 feets and collects in a small pond beneath, where visitors are allowed to have dip.