Day 1 Visit to the Konni Elephant Training Centre
Konni, a forested village in the State of Kerala in South India, situated on the bank of the mighty Achencoil River has a long and rich history of man-forest interface. Vast expanse of forests of Western Ghats in the background is crisscrossed by numerous streams and rivulets, which add to the exceptional scenic beauty of the landscape.
The forests, repository of rich biodiversity were constituted in to Konni Reserve Forests and Achencoil Reserve Forests by the Maharaja of Travancore way back in 1897 and 1901 respectively, which are among the oldest reserve forests in the State.
Konni is a major elephant training centre. Located 11 km from Pathanamthitta, it is a major tourist attraction. The prime attractions here are the huge cages built of wood to house elephants. These cages are locally known as Aanakkoodu and can accommodate 3- 4 elephants at one time.
The trainers here train the baby elephants which get separated from their herd, or are found wounded or roaming in the forest. Experienced trainers using their systematic training methods, tame the baby elephants. Visitors can get a close look at these elephants and can observe and understand a lot about their behaviour, especially that of baby elephants, which are often endearingly mischievous.
One can also find bigger elephants at the centre, and a ride on these majestic animals is an exciting one. The bigger elephants are also sometimes used for works inside the forest land adjoining the training centre.
At Konni, visitors can get a close look at these trainee elephants and can observe and understand a lot about their behaviour, especially that of baby elephants, which are often mischievous and are focus of attention of majority of the visitors, especially children
The facilities developed at Konni include elephant viewing, elephant feeding, elephant ride, watching elephant bath etc. An elephant museum, which is planned to be developed as a complete natural history museum based on elephant, also is set up.
The project site is designed to be a zero waste center. The elephant dung is converted into biogas and the fiber in the dung is converted into hand made paper, which is an eco friendly product. The plastic waste is planned to be converted into recycled product. Outlets for sale of non-wood forest products and other eco friendly materials are also provided in the center.
Day 2 Visit to Thenmala & Eco-tourism
Being the 1st planned eco-tourism site in the country, Thenmala perfectly fits the bill as a favourite picnic spot with loads of options on its platter. A real delight for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike, the place has something for everyone. If you are interested in mountaineering, trekking or biking, Thenmala would gladly allow you to do that. In addition, this eco-tourist site has other attractions as well like boating and a rope bridge.
There is also a gushing waterfall, Palaruvi, which is just perfect to enjoy some quiet and relaxed moments in nature's lap. You can also visit a Deer Rehabilitation Centre which is located nearby and is a major crowd puller. If you are not done yet, come and take a look at the traditional tree houses which are used by the forest dwellers to save themselves from wild animals. With so much to offer, Thenmala acts like a sponge for a number of people who flock to this place regularly or a first-time visitors.
Thenmala Dam, on the way to Thenmala ecovillage, is a spectacular site to stop and have a view. Suspension Bridge is another landmark in the town where an era stands still. Preserved as a historical piece, it was built by Britishers in the 19th century and is a sight to enjoy. Butterfly Garden in Thenmala is another man made ecosphere supporting the breeding of a variety of butterflies in the park. You can have an educated tour.
Punaloor Suspension Bridge known as THOOKUPALAM is the only one of its kind in south India. Built in 1877 by Albert Henry across the Kallada River, this huge bridge was suspended by three spans, 400 feet long and was used for vehicular movement.
Thenmala (Parappar) Dam - is a centre of attraction at Thenmala is the first planned eco-tourism destination in India, built across Kallada River attracts foreign and domestic tourists with a host of attractions.
The famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary is the most important ecotourism resource of Thenmala. This Wildlife Sanctuary is of about 100 sq. km. and harbors large varieties of flora and fauna, Offering several adventurous Eco activities, such as Boating, River Crossing, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Trekking and Bird Watching.
Enjoy Boat Ride at the beautiful reservoir.
Palaruvi Water Fall - Palaruvi is inside thick forests on the high ranges of Thenmala in Kollam district. It is near the Tamil Nadu border, 5 kms from Ariankavu. The waterfalls is from a height of 300 feet. This fall is into a shallow pool and is ideal for swimming.During the rainy season, Palaruvi waterfalls is very attarctive and normally get crowded by thousands of tourists.
Butterfly Garden - Asia's first butterfly safari park goes open in Thenmala. The 3.5 hectare artificially created expanse attracts different species of butterflies. The park is now filled with action of winged beauties.
Tea Plantation - Tea plantations near a stream or waterfall will be an advanced effect of a natural diversity. These places are attracting a lot of travelers from around the world.