India has numerous forest-covered regions, sheltering abundant flora and fauna, giving birth to eco-friendly destinations in India. However, little did many know, Thenmala in Kerala is India’s first planned ecotourism destination, perfect for those who wish to travel without causing harm to a region’s people and landscape.
Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society (TEPS), an organization under the administrative control of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, has promoted ecological tourism in Kerala, which is undoubtedly a significant step in the area of responsible tourism as it preserves, protects, and improves the environment.
Lush green forests, trekking trails, jungle safaris, butterfly safaris, night camping, or musical dancing fountains, you name it – Thenmala Ecotourism has it all!
What makes Thenmala special?
Apart from the fact that Thenmala is an ecotourism site in Kerala, it is also known for its rich quality honey. Thenmala means “honey hill,” and the livelihoods of locals depend on forest produce like honey and rubber. In fact, the World Tourism Organisation selected Thenmala as one of the world’s premier eco-friendly projects, which gives you more reasons to step foot into this eco-conscious place.
Attractions & Activities Offered in Thenmala
Thenmala Ecotourism has different zones and areas with various activities and attractions that keep the tourists engaged during their visit. Take a look.
Adventure Zone Thenmala
As the name suggests, this adventure zone is made especially for people who want to indulge in thrilling activities in Thenmala. Drenched in the beauty of the forest, Adventure Zone welcomes tourists to challenge themselves and partake in activities like river crossing, valley crossing, rock climbing, rappelling, tunnel walking, water roller, gyroscope, flying fox, aerial net walks, Burma Bridge, wall and tree climbing, archery, short range, balancing planks, mountain biking, Lotus Pond, elevated walkway, nature trail, boating, and more.
Leisure Zone Thenmala
For relaxation, Thenmala has a leisure zone. It is basically a forest garden that takes you to the Sculpture Garden following pathways. You walk through different sites like Riverine (a riverfront walkway), Sway Bridge (an unsupported bridge made of wooden planks), and Parappar Dam (Thenmala’s main dam built across Kallada River and Resting Points), which also brings you closer to the nature and ecotourism.
- Sculpture Garden –It features the theme of “Man and Nature”, depicting a man or human relationship with nature. The garden is encircled by lush greenery, offering pure air straight to your lungs. Also, circular pathways around the sculptures add to the charm of the garden’s natural features.
Culture Zone Thenmala
This is a soulful zone in Thenmala Ecotourism that gives you a chance to get familiar with the lifestyle of indigenous people at Thenmala. Learn the history, art, architecture, food, and other things that help shape their life. Some of the major attractions at Culture Zone include –
- Butterfly Safari – This is a guided walk along a natural trail of the garden that gives an opportunity to learn about butterflies.
- Children’s Park –Here, kids can play and enjoy various rides for a fun-filled day.
- Deer Rehabilitation Center –– Witness spotted deer and sambar deer at this protected area for deer.
- Musical Dancing Fountain –Enjoy an open-air “Nature’s Dance”, a synchronized rhythmic dance of water, sound, and light in nature.
- Nakshatravanam – This garden has 27 trees associated with 27 birth stars. Walk along and learn about the trees. If interested, you can also purchase a book on Nakshatravanam titled “Stars & Trees – Trees of the Nakshatravanam” from the facilitation counter.
Light & Sound Show Thenmala
Witness the light and sound show called “Thenoorum Thenmala” at this planned eco-friendly destination in Kerala. It is held at “The Mayooram”’, an amphitheater here. The show narrates the region’s history, the principles by which ecotourism thrives in this area, and the need to save the earth. Whether you are adults with kids, couples, nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, or wildlife buffs, this is one of the must-see attractions at Thenmala.
- Light and Sound Show Languages – The show is available in Malayalam on all public holidays, including Sundays and Saturdays. English shows are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Tamil shows are on Wednesdays and Fridays. There are no shows on Monday.
- Sound and Light Show at Thenmala Timings – 7 pm to 7.20 pm
Deep Woods Zone Thenmala
One of the best ecotourism sectors in India, Thenmala, is an excellent place for nature lovers. The nature trails through forests let you explore what a paradise this place is. Soft Trekking, for instance, is a guided trekking tour through the outskirts of Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary. You can also indulge in boating to see the wildlife sanctuary’s greenery.
Jungle Camps at Thenmala For A Stay Amid Forest
Thenmala Ecotourism stay features many jungle camps, offering accommodations amidst the wilderness with decent facilities. Here are the top jungle camps in Thenmala –
- The Cocoon or Tented Jungle Camping – This camping site is about 50 m uphill from the parking area and offers Swiss cottage tents with attached toilets: TV, hot water, telephone, and internet. No AC tents are available.
- The Honey Comb –This is a tourist home with a double occupancy single room with an attached toilet. AC and Non-AC rooms are available.
- The Nest –It is a tented camping site along the Kallada River adjacent to Parappar Dam. Swiss cottage tents with attached toilets for two people are available. Also, decent facilities like telephone, internet, hot water, and TV are provided. No AC tents are available.
- The Bee Hive –This is a dormitory in Thenmala with two-tier beds of 66-bed capacity. You can choose a room with 10 beds.
Do’s and Don’ts in Thenmala
Before you book your Thenmala Ecotourism package, here are some do’s and don’ts you must consider that will contribute to being a responsible traveler and maintaining the sanctity of the first planned ecotourism destination in India.
- Avoid talking loudly, as it will disturb the animals.
- Travel in small groups.
- Do not smoke.
- Follow the trail of your guide while hiking, trekking, or on a walk inside the forests.
- Choose to wear more earthy-colored clothes.
- Traveling alone is prohibited.
- Trekkers are advised to ensure safety.
- Do not disturb animals.
- Plan forest visits either early morning or late afternoon.
- If you have plastic bags or litter with you, keep it with you till you return to the city, where they can be disposed of easily.
- Ensure safety during boat rides.
Ecotourism in Kerala ensures responsible travel that, in return, creates awareness among tourists who feel accountable for conserving the environment and thinking about local people. So Thenmala is exactly the place you should visit to experience sustainable tourism in India that gives importance to nature and the livelihood of local people.
To plan a trip to Thenmala and for popular Kerala tour packages, connect with travel experts at Indian Holiday, and get customized packages at the best prices.
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Do follow Indian Holiday for the next update on ‘India’s Eco-friendly Destinations’ blog series.
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