Thenmala literally means, 'Honey hills'. Honey from these hills was sought after because it was mistakenly believed to have medicinal properties. However, today the region is better known for its eco-conservation efforts.As India's first planned ecotourism destination, Thenmala is the nerve-centre of 10 satellite ecotourism attractions scattered across the hills of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta.
Thenmala is the first planned eco-tourism destination in India. The Thenmala dam was built across Kallada River. Thenmala is famous for being the shooting location in Malayalam and Tamil movies.
Thenmala attracts foreign and domestic tourists with a host of attractions. Boating on the lake, a rope bridge, trekking, mountaineering, biking and a musical fountain. Thenmala is approachable both from Trivandrum and Punalur by road. The waterfall called Palaruvi is a prime attraction nearby. Also nearby is a deer rehabilitation center where visitors can see deer in a forest setting and have a peep into a traditional tree house used by forest dwellers to escape harm from wild animals. Other places near Thenmala are Kulathupuzha, Anchal, Punalur, Kamukumchery and Shenkottah in Tirunelveli district(Tamil Nadu). Themala is 72 km from Thiruvanathapuram and 16 km from Palaruvi Falls.
Thenmala Old Railway Bridge
Thenmala Covered by dense forests, rubber and tea plantations, Thenmala were selected by the World Tourism Organization as one of the world's best eco-friendly projects. It has a leisure zone with winding pathways, a sway bridge, a sculpture garden and a boardwalk; a culture zone with an amphitheatre, a musical fountain as well as a Nokshotrovonom (a nursery of trees considered sacred to the 27 constellations, located inside one of the zones. Visitors can take back a sapling of the tree relevant to their birth star); and an adventure zone that includes activities like trekking, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing. In addition there is the Deer Rehabilitation Centre (0600 - 1700 hrs) as well as the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary. Only temporary visits are permitted to the interior of the reserve. A major attraction is the boating in the Shenduruney Reservoir.
Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society of TEPS is responsible for spreading eco-awareness and ensuring that the eco-system of the region is left undisturbed. The well-trained staff of the TEPS brief visitors on how best to explore the region, but also guide them on appropriate behavior. The organization has also taken under its wings the nearby Shenduruney wildlife Sanctuary.
The palaruvi falls, riverfront leisure zones, rock shelters and a deer rehabilitation centre are some of the attractions in Thenmala. Located 500 m above the sea level, in the foothills of the southern Western Ghats, Thenmala's diverse flora and fauna and vast tracts of forests attract adventure seekers, naturalists and conservationists.