Thenmala Eco Tourism - First Planned Indian Eco Tourism Project @ Kerala - Photos and Details


Tourism projects based on Nature, which includes environment awareness programmes and interpretations along with benefits to local people can be termed as eco tourism. Eco tourism should maintain the rhythm of nature along with the tourism activities. The International Eco tourism society/TIES, defines eco tourism as, 'responsible travel that conserves the nature and sustains the well-being of local people'. In short eco tourism is the co existence of nature conservation and nature tourism projects.

Eco Tourism in Kerala/India

Kerala, the small Indian state which is bordered with the green stretched western ghat mountains in the east and beautiful beaches along the shores of Arabian sea in the west, no wonder the natural topography with rivers and mountains are much ideal for Tourism of all kind. Tourism being the major revenue to the state, it can't be ignored as well as the God gifted Natural beauty along with the flora and fauna has to be preserved from the hazards of Tourism. Their emerged the concept of eco tourism and started ecological friendly tourism project developments with utter care given to the fragility of nature we are getting engaged into. Thenmala eco tourism is just one among them and also the first planned eco tour project of Kerala and even India.

It's found that about 60 percent of worlds plants, reptiles, fishes, amphibians, birds, mammals etc are seen in about 25 spots of the world which covers only 1.4 percent of the whole land area. Western ghat forests are considered one among those spots and thus conservation of nature and wildlife is most important here.

Along with the Western Ghats  forests which abounds Kerala's eastern side, about 2324 square kilometer  is considered protected area having two National Parks and 12 Wildlife sanctuaries. The eco system inside the tropical forests of western ghats is an ideal support from the part of Nature for the development of eco-tourism projects here in Kerala.

Kerala's Eco-Tourism Projects List

  • Thenmala
  • Palaruvi
  • Periyar
  • Parambikulam
  • Eravikulam
  • Peppara
  • Neyyar
  • Arippa
  • Gavi
  • RhodoValley
  • Shenduruney
  • Aralam
  • Chimmini
  • Mankayam
  • Konni
  • Tommankuthu

Thenmala Eco-Tourism

India's first Planned Eco-Tourism Project: The Eco-Tour Area Map and Info

The first planned eco-tourism project implementation done in India, is in and around the Parappar dam and Shenthurinny wildlife sanctuary forests of Thenmala. The ecotourism project here in Thenmala is a joint venture by the Forest, irrigation and Tourism departments of Kerala. Thenmala is a small village in the valley of western ghat mountain ranges and is seen covered in the tropical deciduous mixed forested land.

Thenmala the Malayalam word means Honey Mountains and the honey collected from these forests is considered special and medicinal. You being a traveler especially if comes under the category of nature lover or the one who loves trekking and forest camping, this eco-tour spot is ideal for you. You can do trekking and forest explorations in the dense greenery cladding the mountain slopes and valleys here in Thenmala.

Eco Tourism zones of  Thenmala

The ecotourism project attractions and activities of Thenmala are distributed in 3 zones coming in around 500 meters radius. The major spots of this ecotour spot are:-

Thenmala Eco-tour Project Area Map

thenmala eco tourism map photo,area map of thenmala ecotour project drawn in the wall of tourist facilitation centre

This map of the ecotourism project area is photographed from the wall painting of tourist facilitation center, where you should go first to take the entry tickets for various tourist zones. You may take this map picture and enlarge to see the tour spots.

The road that approaches the culture zone from your left-hand side is the pocket road from Nh208 which you may take when coming from Kollam side. The road that joins the junction in front of Thenmala Dam area is the one coming from Trivandrum, and going straight through it will get you into the NH208 again towards Palaruvi waterfalls, Kuttalam waterfall etc.

Adventure zone, Culture Zone and Leisure zones are marked in this Thenmala eco-tour map along with sculpture Garden, Deer Rehabilitation centre, lookout point, boating start point, Sway or Hanging bridge etc. The dam shown in the map is Parappar dam which is the heart of KIP irrigation project and also a Hydro Electric Dam. The river that continues from the dam reservoir is River Kallada.

View of Thenmala Sway / Hanging Bridge from the Nature Trails In leisure zone Sculpture Gardenthenmala photos,western ghat forest trees from thenmala sculpture park,sway or hanging bridge of thenmala viewed from sculpture garden of thenmala eco tourism leisure zone

This photograph is taken while we were walking around in the sculpture gardens of leisure zone here in Thenmala. The sway bridge is a walking hanging bridge structure supported by steel cables. The bridge is across the river Kallada, below Thenmala dam project. The river stream will be having water only if water is released from the dam for irrigation or after generating electricity. This bridge is a major photo point for the tourists to take pictures with the reservoir in the background. 

You can see the dam wall and spillway shutters face to face from the bridge and another bridge can be seen on the other side which is used for normal transportation purpose. The swaying bridge connects the leisure zone to the dam entrance area, through which you can walk to the top of the dam wall to have a view of the reservoir. But the gate towards the dam area was seen closed. Maybe due to the lateness of the hour we visited.

Culture Zone Attractions at Thenmala Ecotourism Project

  • Amphitheatre- For performing Kerala's traditional and local art form for tourists.
  • Butterfly Park- An open garden for butterflies of the local ecosystem. You can walk through the nature trails in the park to watch and study about the butterflies.
  • Nakshatra Vanam- Garden made of 27 Trees which are associated with 27 birth stars. You can walk around and read about the trees from the tourist info boards. If not enough, you can buy a book named Stars and Trees, trees of Nakshatravanam, available from the tourist facilitation center for Rs 250/-. The book is prepared by TEPS with the help of Tropical botanical gardens, Palode.
  • Shop Courts- Women administered shops selling local forest products.
  • Musical Dancing Fountains- An open-air gallery for watching Musical Dancing Fountains. The gallery is arranged as semicircular steps progressing upward with lawn grass grown in between. You can watch Musical fountain here on all working days starting at 7pm having half an hour duration. On holidays last show is at 8.05 pm. Monday there is no show 

Musical Fountain ticket rates - Adult INR 30, and child INR 20.

Thenmala Tourist Facilitation Centre

Tourist facilitation center is integrated with the Culture zone. You can get the entry tickets to all eco-tour zones from here. Dormitory accommodations, car parking, toilets etc like are arranged here. Jungle camping programmes also can to be arranged from here. Working time of the eco-tourist facilitation center is from 9 am to 7:30pm on all working days.

Leisure Zone Attractions in Thenmala Eco-Tourism

Tour attractions in the Leisure Zone of Thenmala eco tourism is mainly the sculpture garden. The theme of the sculpture garden is 'Man and Nature'. Apart from sculpture gardens, nature trails, boardwalks, ferns garden, sway bridge, resting spots etc are there. Trekking trips can be arranged from here too. Deep woods soft trekking and biking programme is available here which may last from 2 to 4 hours, in which you gonna explore swamp forests.

Adventure Zone Attractions in Thenmala Eco-Tourism Project

Elevated Canopy walkways, rock climbing, mountain biking, river crossing, valley crossing, Burma bridge, spider net, pedal and row boating, photo point rock, rappelling, trust fall, target practice with bow and arrow and a knot museum are the attractions here. Trekking trips and forest tent camps can be arranged here. This place with its hill winding nature trails is enough to attract any nature tourists here. Fish aquariums of Kerala Malsyafed can be seen just beside the adventure zone spot.

Trekking Trips and Rates, in Thenmala Eco-Tourism

Trekking programmes and night camps are coordinated and overseen by the National Adventure Foundation. Guided forest tours, Bird watching trails etc through the forests of Shenduruny wildlife sanctuary are available with durations of one to three days.

The trekking programmes available are:-
  • Soft Trekking- A 4km trekking tour to the mystic swamp forests. Maximum trekkers can be 19 and minimum should be 5 to start the trekking trip. Trekking Trip rate is a minimum of INR 250/- Rs 50 for adults and Rs 30 for children. International tourists have to pay INR 100. Extra taxes are applicable.
  • Shenduruny Wildlife sanctuary trekking trips- Two trekking trips are available of 10 and 20 Kms distance. The 10 Km one is Nature Walk (6 hour half day trekking programme) and starts in two timings, 7am and 11am. Its about INR 600 for 10 persons and extra persons have to pay RS 75/- each. Maximum of 20 persons included in a trip. The 20 Km trekking trip named as Kananayatra, is considered a full day trekking programme with 8 hours duration. The trekking trip costs INR 1000 for a group of 5 and Rs 250/- extra for each addition. Food inclusive for the trekking rates. Maximum of 10 members is included in a trip which also starts by 7 am and 11am of the day.
  • Riverine Biking trail- Forest cycling trip to inner forest swamps. Minimum of two persons in a trip and maximum of 4 can be included. Per person the rate is RS 100 and 200 minimum for a single trip. Foreign tourists have to pay Rs 150 per person. Extra taxes applicable.
For trekking trip details in Thenmala ecotourism centre, contact- 0475-2344600

Tourist Attractions around Thenmala Ecotourism

  • Palaruvi Waterfalls- An inner forest waterfalls of 300 feet height, a few kilometres away from the eco-tourism centre at Thenmala dam premises.
  • Deer Park- Its actually part of Thenmala eco tourism project. About 1 kilometer away from eco-tour facilitation centre.
  • Weir Dam- Its also called lookout point, a small dam at ottakkal from where the irrigation canals are fed with water.
  • Treehouse- Inside the Deer park of Thenmala.
  • Punalur Hanging bridge- 30 Kms away from Thenmala in the nearest town called Punalur, this old British built hanging bridge stands.
  • 13 arch bridge- Another huge railway bridge with 13 arches on the way to palaruvi waterfalls from Thenmala.
  • Manalar and Kumbavurutty waterfalls- near to Achenkovil near to the Temple of Lord Ayappa. Have to treak half a kilometer to reach Kumbavurutty falls. Tree houses for children and nature interaction centres are there. Manalr is a seasonal waterfalls entirely depending on Rains.
  • Kuttalam or Courtallam waterfalls- About 30 Kms away from palaruvy waterfalls.

Tourist Accommodation Facilities and Rates in Thenmala

Dormitories for about 42 persons is available near the tourist facilitation centre. Rates are about INR 85/- per person plus taxes. Food has to be arranged in extra from the nearby restaurants.

Contact Phone Number: 0475-2344800

Tented Tourist Accommodation in Thenmala Adventure Zone

About eight tents for sixteen people can be arranged here in the adventure zone. Each tent with a capacity of two people. Timing from 6pm to 8am next day, and rates range from INR 400 to 1000, and foreign tourists have to pay a little extra. Food to be bought extra. what comes with the tent is a carry mat and sleeping bag.
contact details,  ph: 0475-2344800, mail:

More eco-tourism spots of Kerala is being covered and its just a matter of time to be made available here in pixelshots, the travel photo album of Kerala. Keep Visiting for more photo features on Kerala Tourism.
Share on Google Plus

About pixelshots


  1. Fantastic website, I hadn’t come across previously during my searches!
    Carry on the superb work!

  2. interesting and informative

  3. informative post..planned well

  4. Interesting post. i recently shared a blog post about Top 8 Activities to Do In Kerala for Adventure Junkies . Hope your blog reader found it informative and Engaging.

  5. Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on
    Picnic Spots for picnickers in Kerala | Kerala Tourism

  6. Thanks for a nice share you have given to us with such an large collection of information. Great work you have done by sharing them to all. simply superb. Gavi, Eco-tourism project, Pathanamthitta | Kerala Tourism

  7. Its high heritage and cultural value makes it an eye catchy for the person who wants to spend his quality time here. Kerala offers all kind of tour packages, Family Tour Packages, Honeymoon Tour Packages, Adventure Tour Packages, as a tourist will receive all in one as kerala has mountaineering, trekking, and forest tour at Periyar, Parambikulam and Eravikulam National Park, hill station resorts at Munnar, beach such as Varkala, and sightseeing such as Athirappilly Falls, Meenvallam falls, house boat etc.
    VIEW MORE:- kerala tour packages


Have Your Feelings And Thoughts Expressed Here As Comments.More information if you have any about this post, suggestions to improve Kerala blog pixel-shots,criticism etc are welcome except spamming.