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Thenmala is situated in Thiruvananthapuram in Shenkottai Road. It is famous for the honey which had several medicinal properties. It is this place which is the first planned ecotourism project of our country. Thenmala is covered with acres of evergreen forest. This lies around 500m above sea level and is a habitat to a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are several beautiful waterfalls, picnic spots, plantations etc. which attracts the tourists of all types. Thenmala is a best place for doing all leisure activities. This is spread across the hill ranges that lies in the districts Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta.
In ecotourism, there is the principle of zoning where each area comes under different zones. There are various activities organized for entertaining the tourists of all ages.
Art forms and any cultural activities can be conducted from the Amphitheatre situated here. Local forest products, home made goods, handicrafts etc are kept for selling in the Shop court. It is the local women from these areas who manage these. There is a musical dancing fountain in which there is a rhythmic show of water.
Nature trail to take the tourists for an adventurous trip through the hill.
Canopy walkway – There is an elevated path in between the trees that helps the tourists to explore the ecosystem and the hill ranges. There is lotus pond where you can find different types of aquatic plants. There is the mountain biking facility where there is a 1 km long path for bike riding.
Rock climbing – The rocks are fitted with ropes and pegs for the tourists to do rock climbing.
River crossing – The rivers have ropes tied across them so that the tourists can have an adventurous river crossing.
Hill thrills – There are various other interesting experiences that can be had from here which includes valley crossing, boating etc.
There are also spots at various places for the tourists to take some rest.
There are pathways through which the tourists can walk to view various sites. There is riverfront that is made of wooden boards through which the tourists can take a walk to have a close look of the rivers. There is a sway bridge built across the river that is not connected by any support and are hung from ropes. There is a sculpture garden that denotes the relation between the humans and the nature. There are also spots at various places for the tourists to take some rest. Trekking and bike riding can be done through the forests. There are also battery operated boats to do boating in the Shenduruney wildlife sanctuary.
Deer Rehabilitation Centre
The deers from the forest wander through these areas and it gives the tourists an opportunity to make friendship with the deers. This centre also helps the tourists to understand the ecosystem well. The species of deer seen in this area include spotted deer and sambar deer.
Some of the other attractions include trekking, bird watching, pilgrim tourism, environment education centre etc. The pilgrim centres that can be visited from here include the Ayyappa temples at Kulathupuzha, Aryankavu and Achankovil.
In Punalur there is a Hanging bridge which is on the route to Thenmala. There are two waterfalls namely the Manalar falls and the Kumbavurutty falls. Manalar falls can be seen only after the rainy season.
The Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society, Green Valley and the Lake View Ayurvedic Resort provide accommodation to the people who come here.
Thenmala is located at a height of 1,640 ft above the sea level. It is located 72 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest airport to this place is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport at a distance of 80kms. As this place has metre gauge trains, the nearest broad gauge station is Kollam at a distance of 66kms. When connected through roads, it is at equal distance from both Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.
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