Thenmala: India’s First Planned Eco-Tourism Destination-Tourist Places to Visit

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Thenmala, located in the state of Kerala in southern India, is a pioneering eco-tourism destination that offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty, adventure, and sustainable tourism. Situated in the Western Ghats, this lush green haven is often referred to as “The Honey Hills” and is renowned for its pristine landscapes, serene surroundings, and eco-friendly initiatives. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Thenmala, its attractions, and why it’s a must-visit destination for eco-conscious travelers.

Location and Geography

Thenmala is nestled in the Punalur region of the Kollam district in Kerala, approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) east of the capital city, Thiruvananthapuram. It is strategically located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its biodiversity and stunning landscapes.

Key Attractions and Activities

  1. Leisure Zones: Thenmala’s eco-tourism initiative focuses on creating leisure zones that allow visitors to relax and immerse themselves in nature. These zones include picnic spots, beautifully landscaped gardens, and tranquil walking trails.
  2. Boating: The Thenmala Dam, built across the Kallada River, is a popular spot for boating. Visitors can enjoy pedal boating and boat rides while admiring the scenic beauty of the dam and the surrounding forests.
  3. Adventure Zone: For adventure enthusiasts, Thenmala offers an Adventure Zone with activities such as rock climbing, river crossing, rappelling, and more. The adventure experiences are guided by trained professionals and provide an adrenaline rush amidst nature.
  4. Butterfly Safari: Thenmala is home to the Butterfly Safari, where visitors can explore a butterfly park with a variety of native and exotic butterfly species. It’s an educational and visually appealing experience for all ages.
  5. Hiking and Trekking: There are numerous trekking trails in the surrounding forests, allowing visitors to explore the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats. The Perumthenaruvi Waterfall trek is a popular choice.
  6. Musical Dancing Fountain: The musical dancing fountain is a unique attraction at Thenmala, where water fountains dance to the rhythm of music and colorful lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
  7. Cultural Experiences: Visitors can also enjoy cultural performances and experiences that showcase Kerala’s traditional art forms, such as Kathakali and Kalaripayattu.
  8. Ayurveda and Wellness: The eco-tourism center in Thenmala offers Ayurvedic treatments and wellness programs for those looking to rejuvenate their minds and bodies.

Sustainability and Conservation

One of the core principles of Thenmala’s eco-tourism initiative is sustainability. The destination is committed to preserving the environment, conserving water, and promoting responsible tourism. It has received recognition for its sustainable practices and eco-friendly infrastructure.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Thenmala is during the post-monsoon and winter months, from September to March, when the weather is pleasant and conducive to outdoor activities.

Visiting Tips

  1. Respect the natural surroundings and adhere to any eco-friendly guidelines provided by the authorities.
  2. Plan your visit in advance and check the opening hours of specific attractions and activities.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for outdoor exploration and adventure activities.
  4. Carry essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water when exploring the forests and trekking trails.

How to Reach

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, which is approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Thenmala.
  • By Rail: The nearest railway station is Kollam Junction, which is around 66 kilometers (41 miles) away.
  • By Road: Thenmala is well-connected by road, and visitors can reach it by taxi or private transport from Kollam or other nearby towns.


Thenmala is a shining example of sustainable and responsible tourism in India. It not only offers a serene escape into the heart of nature but also serves as a model for eco-friendly tourism practices. A visit to Thenmala is an opportunity to appreciate the pristine beauty of the Western Ghats while supporting conservation efforts and sustainable tourism initiatives. For travelers seeking an eco-conscious and immersive experience in the lap of nature, Thenmala is an ideal destination.