Thenmala Eco Tourism
Thenmala is the first planned Eco tourist center in India, on the Kerala – Tamilnadu border, which lies on the Western Ghats.
Important facilities at Thenmala are Boating, ropeway bridge walking, trekking in the mountains and musical fountain. The office includes motorboats and coracles (‘Kutta Vanchi’). Coracle hiring charges are rupees 100.
The office of the Wildlife warden is situated close to the ticket counter.
Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary in Thenmala is famous for its wild animals. There is a Deer Park or Deer Rehabilitation Center at the Eco-Tourism site. There is also a butterfly park and museum here.
There is also an Elevated path which originates from the deck plaza and passes through the canopy of large trees which ends up in the old Shenkottah road. This walkway provides an aerial view of the whole area including the flora and fauna. Listen to the songs of the wind and birds, its melody, while walking through the elevated walkway!
How Do I Go to Thenmala Eco-Tourism Site?
It takes around an hour to reach the Thenmala Eco-Tourism site from Punalur town, the nearest major town at around 20 kilometers distance. The entry tickets can be bought at the ticket counter on NH 744 roadside.
NH 744 starts at Kollam and passes through Punalur, Shenkottai, Rajapalayam, etc, and ends at Tirumangalam (near Madurai). NH 744 was earlier known as NH 208.
Punalur railway station is the nearest major railway station in operation. The 113-year-old meter gauge line connecting Kollam with Sengottai, which was constructed in 1904, is being converted into a broad gauge line. Portions of the line are already functional and the full line is expected to be opened on the 30th of March, 2018. There is a railway station close to the Eco-Tourism site, called Thenmala Railway Station.
Quilon and Chenganoor are the nearest major railway stations on the Palakkad – Ernakulam – Thiruvananthapuram broad gauge railway line.
Thenmala is in the Kollam District of Kerala and is at around 72 Kilometers from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest one to Thenmala. Madurai International Airport is around 190 kilometers distance.
Pathanamthitta town is at around 39 kilometers distance. Another major town Kollam, which is the district headquarters of Thenmala, is around 48 kilometers away. Pathanamthitta homestay is available for tourists at affordable rates.
Shenkottai Town is another major town, at around 30 kilometers distance.
Suspension Bridge at Punalur
Suspension bridge at Punalur (the blog writer is seen walking on the bridge)
There is a historic suspension bridge at Punalur town over River Kallada. It was constructed in 1877 and now it is converted to a park with benches on both ends of the bridge. It is closed to traffic. You can walk over the wooden floor of the suspension bridge or hanging bridge (Thooku Paalam in local language Malayalam).
This historic suspension bridge is at the heart of the town. It is on the opposite side of the Punalur KSRTC Bus station. There is a concrete bridge near to the Suspension bridge which carries vehicular traffic. You can see the railway bridge over the river from the suspension bridge.