Thenmala Hills- Honey Hills -
“Then + Mala” , i.e. in local parlance “Then” means honey and “Mala” means hillock i.e. it mean honey hills. The honey collected from Thenmala forest region is of good quality and of high medicinal value because of the unique floristic composition of the forests.
Thenmala is the meeting point of Kollam-Shencottah road and Trivandrum-Shencottah road, surrounded by dense forest, 66 kms east of Kollam. There are a large number of rubber and tea plantations in Thenmala. Timber of all varieties are exported from here to all parts of the country. India’s first planned eco-tourism destination, Thenmala gained popularity owing to its unique vistas, bio-diversity and functioning. Thenmala shares its resources with the famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary at the foothills of the Western Ghats. Trekking, mountain biking, camping etc. are the highlights here.
Thenmala (Parappar) Dam is a centre of attraction at Thenmala– an ecotourism destination. It is the second largest irrigation project in Kerala (India). The dam impounds the longest reservoir in the State. Waters from the reservoir is now used for power generation also.
Deer Park at thenmala
Deer park is a beautiful place at Thenmala with lots of trees and deers. It is like a little forest. The water from the Thenmala dam flows by the side. There are three types of deers in the park. They are sambar deer, spotted deer and lawn deer. Spotted deers are seen in the picture.
There are tree top huts in the park. In the tree top hut at the entrance, there are two rooms. Down the road, there is a recreation area where you can play. There are swings, see-saw and slide. [A tree top hut is one built on branches of trees using logs, bamboo, thatch and similar materials. Such huts are made in jungle areas to protect residents from wild animals, especially during night
The adventure zone is situated about two kilometres from the Thenmala junction. The adventure zone zone features an elevated walkway, rock climb, river crossing, mountain biking, swings and rope ladders.
The walkway takes you to the top of the trees.It is built with wooden planks supported on pillars and it is fitted with railings. Rock climbing needs equipments. These can be rented for a fee from the park office.They will sent trained guides to help you climb and give you instructions.
You cross the river using a rope tied across the river (The river at the park is nothing but an artificial pond).There are also assistants to help you with river crossing.They will give you glovse to prevent injuries to your hands.They will assist you to attach yourself safely to the rope with buckles.If you cannot make it they will pull you back to the starting point. There are swings and rope ladders tied to the branches of trees. Climbing the rope ladders is not easy.
Leisure Zone is a natural forest patch specked with sculptures. It is a piece of natural forest converted into a zone for a leisurely walk. You can see monkeys all around the place swinging from tree to tree. Some may sit on the branch and stare at you.
There are a variety of sculptures in the zone. Man and Nature is the theme of the sculpture garden. As many as 23 sculptures dot the garden. One of the biggest sculpture is that of Ekalavyan aiming at a dog. There is also a large-sized Vikramaaditya and Vethalam.
The Butterfly Safari Park
located behind the musical fountain in the cultural zone, offers the visitor the opportunity to see a wide variety of butterflies at close quarters.
A half a kilometer long nature trail takes you through the habitat of the butterflies, created artificially. The Park is said to house around 125 species of butterflies besides birds such as hornbills.
The Sanctuary consists of catchment areas of tributaries of Kallada River upstream of the Parappar dam in Kerala. It extents over 100 square kilometres. The Sanctuary got its name from the tree Chenkurinji, which is mostly found in this area.
Besides, one of the major rivers that flows through the area is called Chenduruny (Chenthuruny). The river rises from the Alwarkurichi peak, the highest point in the Sanctuary (1550 metres), and much of its course is now covered by the reservoir
You can visit the Sanctuary by boat from Thenmala. A battery powered van will take you to the boarding point from the information centre of Thenmala Ecotourism Project. Trekking is allowed in some parts of the buffer area.
Thenmala Nakshatra Vanam
The Thenmala Ecotourism employs a novel concept to popularise tree planting. Astrologers believe that each constellation of the zodiac is associated with a tree. It has developed a Nakshatra Vanam where trees associated with the 27 constellations or nakshatras have been planted. Those trees are of medicinal, social, aesthetic or economic value. The Thenmala Ecotourism Society maintains a nursery of these trees and sells the seedlings to visitors. It is believed that if one plants a tree associated with one’s star, that will bring good luck. So People buy and plant them at their homes.