Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala.

Tripoto
27th Jul 2019
Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Water like the sea, the rain-soaked forests on both sides, some tallest trees, its challenging blue skies, the red sand slopes between water and forest, some grasses, grazing Indian guar, the rain clouds, the thin waves, the tidal wave !

The motor boat was carrying seven people, tearing the water off at a moderate speed..!

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. 1/3 by Sivalingam P
Boating at Thenmala Dam

Have a seen like this!

Yes, that's all true!

The above scenarios are what I found in the Thenmala Dam!

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. 2/3 by Sivalingam P
Moderate Water Level of Thenmala Dam.

My tourist spot of this year's monsoon season is “Thenmala, Kerala"

Let’s come to explore the Thenmala Eco Tourism..!

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. 3/3 by Sivalingam P
From Eco Tourism Catalogue.

Two months after start of this year monsoon, there was no tour plan and days were moving rigidly. When the holidays were available, i had a small plan in my mind about Thenmala. At the end of July, the idea suddenly appeared and enthused to go there. Because it’s weekend place!

I checked the train seat availability & it was under waiting list.

Luckily I got tickets in tatkal before the journey date. Also I checked the accommodation type & booked the Jungle stay along with some tour package through their website. (www.thenmalaecotourism.com/index.html)

On the day, journey began at 5.30 pm from Chennai. The train goes Chennai Egmore-Kollam via Trichy, Madurai, Tenkasi and Sengottai. And reaches our destination Thenmala at 6 am of the next day.

Day 1

The next day, we reached the Sengottai at 6 am by 1 hour late. The train became almost empty while leaving from Sengottai! After few minutes train started to climb on the mountain slowly.

Newly laid broad gauge railway line has well maintained sideways, covered with steel wired net on rocks and mud pits to prevent landslides.

If you sit left side of the train, you can enjoy the beauty of the Western Ghats in terms of valley, dams and greenery.

Then we reached Thenmala Railway Station at 7.00 am, we came out from the station. Even though it is a small station, it has facility of ticket booking counter due to Thenmala Eco Tourism Programme.

Then we boarded in an auto and reached the Thenmala Eco tourism Office another 10 minutes. We paid Rs. 30 for two.

Location map based on my travel

Photo of Thenmala, Kerala, India by Sivalingam P

The receptionist (he is duty forest officer) informed us after review of our reservation, saying they would only be given accommodation at nine o'clock.

Use nearby restroom for temporary refreshment, he said.

We already known these things will happen because room check-in time is 11am. So we got refreshed in the train except bath.

To manage this gap time, we planned to visit nearby tourist place-name called as “13 Pillar Bridge” which is around 5 km away.

We ate breakfast at a nearby restaurant and reached the bridge by 15 minutes travel in auto.

After reaching the bridge and start climbing the nearby staircase. At mid of staircase I turn back return and capture this image.

Then we went to the top, the cave on one side and the other side curvature railway path supported by 13 pillars in the shape of arch. The pillars are almost 20 feet high and look great over a century.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

The bridge has also been renovated when it becomes a broad gauge railway line in 2018 from meter gauge. However, when you look at the old photos, the architectural beauty of the British period is fascinating. At present, the cement coated around the pillars, so the real beauty was slight down.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

The mountain was green with glimpses due to the monsoon's impact. When the train arrives, there is a wide corridor to climb up.

It didn't seem like 30 minutes went by. We took some photos and reached the Eco Tourism office again.

Now office staffs were come and I asked about our room check in progress.

They replied that it will be handover at 11 am. Parallelly they fixed my visiting place according to my package. So the visiting place time starts from 11 and my check in time also same.

It was completely contradictory. I appeal again to get completed refreshment to meet their proposal time to visit the place from allotted time.

And they also understand my situation, gave as dormitory for temporary refreshment.

Dormitory building was four big rooms. Each room made up of 6 ~ 8 people in a loft type cot. The cost of stay Rs. 195 per person per day.

Since there was no one here, they gave us. Then it was eleven o'clock. I started to book return train ticket. After twice unsuccessful attempt, i got tickets on the third try but the waiting list was 30!

I was thinking it would definitely not be confirmed!

So tomorrow journey would be in unreserved coach. I set my mind so.

Then we went to explore the adventure zone, which is 500 meters away. They said my today accommodation (The Canopy Hut) also within that zone.

While reaching Adventure Zone, Officers said that first go round, then go to the room, because now they are cleaning.

We put our belongings in ticket counter and went around.

Adventure Zone

The first is elevated walk way which made by Steel stripes, Stainless steels handrails and colored dark green to match with forest.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Feeling like going into a dense forest!

The highs and lows were about 300 meters long of this walk ways brought us to the top of that region.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

There were countless adventure activates like Aerial skating, Mountain Bike, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, River Crossing, Commando Walk, Tunnel Walk etc.

From Ecotourism Catalogue

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

From Ecotourism Catalogue

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Also Lotus pond had colored fish, pedal & an oar boat etc. but not lotus..!

Some games were no more due to improper maintenance.

It went for about 2 hours. Finishing it off and Aerial skating was a good experience.

Then we went to our Jungle stay (The Canopy Hut).

The small room size of 10x 8 ft., supported from four iron pillars from ground. Steel staircase to go up, glass doors on one side, small toilet, power supply, Pedestal fan, two windows.

The Canopy Hut

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Then we had lunch & get in eco-tourism bus for boating.

Lunch was just ok!

Boating

We reached the dam in 15 minutes, then walked 1 kilometer again and reached the site of the motor boat. There was also a large boat that could carry 30 people and a small boat that could carry 10 people. We were in the small boat since the total passengers were 7.

Boating

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Then the scenes we saw which were explained just the beginning of this story!

There were also ruins on the islands along the dam. The boat driver said that such buildings could be seen under the dam when the water dried up.

Dam has a length of 17 km (approx..) and a maximum width of 2 km.

In the distance a motor boat was slowly passing us by.

I asked with driver, where they are going? He said, “there was one Jungle Stay which is under Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary. The package for that stay around Rs. 7500 for two. (Extra person-Rs.1500). It includes food, boating, trekking.

Among the wildlife, the Indian Gaur was grazing alone in the distance. The driver said elephants would often come to the dam to drink water in the evening. After about 1 hour we finished the boat ride and reached the shore.

After about an hour we reached the shore and headed for the road.

Deer Rehabilitation Center

Then we went to Deer Rehabilitation Center. Walking some distance there, we found spotted deer living within the particular covered area. The park is not that much attractive. So we left in a few minutes. We reached the forest office by 5.30 pm.

Musical Fountain

At 7.30 pm we were waiting for the music & fountain dance and the sound & light show. Then we had tea and rested for a while in the nearby children’s park. Then a bird was screaming like a peacock. When everyone looked up at the tree and saw what was shouting, the Malabar Grey Hornbill one was sitting.

I hurry to take my camera & take few pictures. Then it flew away.

Malabar Grey Hornbill

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

At 7 pm, we walked 200 meters to see the fountain. Inside the forest, little ground with fountains on one side and a curved tent on the staircase to allow visitors to sit. At 7.30 am the fountain danced in the bright lights of the darkness. The fountain dance varied according to the seven songs (Malayalam and Tamil songs).

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P
Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P
Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Light & Sound Show

Then at 8 o'clock they shown a short film about Thenmala with light and sound system. I have not been able to understand the entirety of the history of the Thenmala story due to Malayalam language.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Thenmala means honey hill in Malayalam. The honey collected from Thenmala forest area is of good quality and of high medicinal value because of the unique floristic composition of the forests. Then the show ended, and sleep became a spectacle. We ate dinner at a nearby restaurant and went to the room after eating Parota. The forest guard also took us.

Arriving at the darkened path, we reached the Tree house in fifteen minutes. Then we went into the room & say goodbye to the forest guard.

The rat almost ate complementary soap half which was on the cot.

It decided to give at least remaining half.

The drizzling monsoon, the winds that sweep through the forest, the roar of the night, the sound of the waterfall, the rustling of running water, the movement of the trees, the howling of the owl…!

I expect the above condition, which experienced in the previous trip.

But none of the above happened except darkness of night. It also gone due to balcony light ON condition till morning.

I was spending the dark night in the forest looking through the glass in search of sleep.

I fell asleep in thought.

Day 2

Next day, at six o'clock in the morning waked up.

Then I turned to forest through glass doors, unfortunately no water drops on the leaves. So no rain at last night.

Then we took bath and ready to check out the room. Of course the checkout time around 11 am but we were not ready to come again here.

Then we moved towards the entrance of Adventure Zone & found the person who dropped us at last night in the hut.

I informed to him about our plan of checkout.

Slowly we started walk to reach restaurant for morning breakfast.

We ate Dosai, Egg Curry, coffee a well as Kerala’s special colored hot water.

Leisure Zone

After 5 minutes’ walk, reached the Leisure Zone.

The officer who received us yesterday on Eco tourism office, welcome us for the first visitor on today to the leisure zone.

After he checked our package receipt, strikeout the Leisure Zone cell.

Then he guided to uplift to go deep of Leisure Zone.

Well maintained walkway covered by bamboo tress at both sides. Each 100 meter distance inside the forest area the put Dinosaurs statues along with light settings. But lights were broken and seems no maintenance.

Photo of Thenmala, Kerala, India by Sivalingam P

Hardly 40 minutes’ walk, we again returned the same way up to 500 meter, then path diverged to dam side. Then we choose one place to take rest.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

We found hanging bridge in 300 meter distance & started to move there.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P
Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

The place where simply awesome due to one side of view is Dam and other side is road way. Under the bridge, dam water streaming & trees were affected by monsoon green.

Finally started to walk Eco tourism Office for check out process & received the deposit fund of Rs.500.

By the way I bought honey at government shop for Rs 150 of 250ml.

Honey Museum

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

Through auto we reached Thenmala Railway station area. We took lunch along with fish curry.

We entered into station with unreserved tickets.

Train almost delayed around 20 minutes. Meanwhile monkeys were playing & jumping one trees to another. I interest to capture those activity.

One was often yawn and look lazy. It seem can’t control & yawn continued around 10 minutes.

Lazy Boy

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

I packed my camera & board the train. Next day morning we reached Chennai around 3am.

The trip was end with sleepless journey along with unforgettable memory of Jungle Stay and best weekend in this monsoon.

You too plan weekend trip to Thenmala in this monsoon with less budget ( <Rs 5000).

----------------------

Expense details (For two members)

1. Train fare (Chennai-Thenmala) = Rs. 920

2. Accommodation (The Canopy hut) = Rs. 840

3. Food = Rs 1000

4. Local Transport = Rs 300

5. Discover Thenmala Package = Rs. 970

6. Train fare (Thenmala- Chennai-) = Rs. 920

From Eco Tourism Catalogue.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P

From Eco Tourism Catalogue.

Photo of Monsoon Trip to Thenmala (Honey Hill), Kerala. by Sivalingam P
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