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Nestled in the Western Ghats’ picturesque scenes, Thenmala Dam is a testament to Kerala’s natural beauty and engineering prowess. This remarkable dam, constructed across the Kallada River, is more than just a vital source of irrigation and hydroelectric power; it is the heart of India’s first planned eco-tourism destination. Thenmala, which translates to “Honey Hill” in Malayalam, offers visitors a unique balance of adventure, nature, and serenity. Surrounded by lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and an array of wildlife, the dam and its environs provide a haven for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This article will explore the enchanting allure of the Dam, where the harmony of nature and human ingenuity creates an unforgettable experience.

About Thenmala Dam

A picturesque view of Thenmala Dam

Image Credit: Vis M for Wikimedia Commons

The Thenmala Dam, also known as Parappar Dam, is part of the largest irrigation project in Kerala. It is built along the Kallada River in the Kollam district of Kerala. The reservoir formed by the dam is used for irrigation and power generation. Construction of the dam began in the 1960s under the Kallada Irrigation and Tree Crop Development Project.

The dam was built on January 26, 1972, and finished in 1986. It officially opened along with the Kallada Irrigation Project on May 26, 1986. Now, the reservoir is part of the Thenmala Ecotourism Project. The dam is a gravity dam, which means it uses its weight to hold back the water. It stands 85 meters tall and can hold 524 million cubic meters of water. The reservoir created by the dam is one of Kerala’s most extended and is well-liked for boating and fishing.

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Exciting Facts About Thenmala Dam

Witness the grandeur of Thenmala Dam

Image Credit: Vis M for Wikimedia Commons

Some interesting facts about Thenmala Dam are:

  • The dam creates the largest reservoir in Kerala, spread over 26 square kilometres. This reservoir serves multiple purposes, including irrigation, power generation, and drinking water for the nearby villages.
  • The dam is located at the confluence of three major tributaries of the Kallada River: the Kulathupuzha, Parappar, and Shendurney rivers.
  • Another interesting fact is that “Thenmala” translates to “honey hill” in Malayalam. The area around the dam is known for its high-quality honey production.
  • Thenmala Dam is the centre of attraction at Thenmala, India’s 1st planned ecotourism destination. Visitors can enjoy boating, trekking, and adventure activities in the surrounding Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The reservoir’s total capacity is 524 million cubic meters (424,814 acre-feet).
  • The maximum water level reaches 115.82 meters (380.0 feet).
  • The dam’s catchment area covers 549 square kilometres (212 square miles).

Things To Do At Thenmala Dam

Enjoy boating at the Thenmala Dam

Image Credit: Vis M for Wikimedia Commons

This Dam offers many activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Some of the things you can do at Thenmala Dam are:

Boating: You can have a peaceful boat ride on Thenmala Lake, which is made by the dam. You can rent pedal boats, row boats, or motor boats. It’s an excellent way to see the beautiful hills and clear water. Sometimes, you might see birds and otters.
Trekking: Several trekking trails around the dam offer stunning views of the Western Ghats. The trails vary in difficulty, so there is something for everyone. The easy trails are perfect for a stroll, while the more challenging ones will provide a good workout. Remember that the best time to trekking is during the cooler months, as the weather can get quite hot and humid in the summer.
Explore the Leisure Zone: This is a great place to relax and enjoy nature. There are walking trails, a butterfly park, a suspension bridge, and a musical fountain. The butterfly park is a great place to spot some of the many colourful butterflies that can be found in the area. The musical fountain is a spectacular sight, with water jets dancing to music in various colours.
Echo Point: There’s a natural echo point close to the dam. Stand at the designated spot and yell or clap your hands. The sound waves will bounce off the hills and return to you with a slight delay, creating an echo effect. This activity is fun for all ages and a great way to experience the area’s acoustics.

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Thenmala Dam Opening Hours and Entry Fees

 Know the important informations before visiting the site

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The Thenmala Dam is open to visitors daily from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Two separate entry fees are depending on your age and nationality:

  • Fee: INR 5 onwards
  • Visitors above 13 years old and Indian citizens pay INR 20 per person.
  • International visitors above 13 years old pay INR 40 per person.
  • There is no entry fee for children below 13 years old.

These fees are for the Thenmala Ecotourism project, which encompasses the dam and various other attractions, such as a butterfly park, adventure zone, and leisure zone. If you only want to visit the Dam, you may not need to pay for the entire project.

Best Time To Visit

Know when to visit this beautiful site

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The best time to visit the Thenmala Dam is during the winter and spring seasons, from December to February. The reason behind this is:

Pleasant Weather: Thenmala experiences a tropical climate with mostly humid conditions. From December to February, comfortable temperatures range from 17°C to 35°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Clear Skies: Winter offers clear skies with minimal rainfall, perfect for capturing stunning panoramic views of the dam and surrounding areas. You can enjoy uninterrupted picnics and boat rides (if available) during this time.

Avoidance of Extreme Heat: The summer months (March to May) can be scorching, with temperatures reaching up to 39°C. The monsoon season (June to November) brings heavy showers that can disrupt outdoor activities.

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Ways To Reach

Know how to reach this place

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There are various ways to reach the Thenmala Dam. They are:
By Air: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest airport to this dam, approximately 72 km away. This airport is well-connected with major cities in India and abroad, so taking a flight is a good option if you are coming from a long distance. Once at the airport, you can hire a taxi or cab to reach Thenmala Dam. The ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
By Train: The nearest railway station to the Dam is Kollam Junction Station, which is around 66 km away. Kollam is a major railway station that receives trains from various destinations nationwide. You can hire a taxi or take a Kollam bus to the Dam. This journey by road takes approximately 1 hour and a half.
By Road: This Dam is easily accessible by road. You can drive your car or hire a taxi. If you’re coming from nearby cities like Kollam or Thiruvananthapuram, the drive to Thenmala Dam is especially scenic. You’ll pass through the picturesque Kerala countryside, which takes about 1.5 hours by road.
By Taxi: You can also hire a taxi directly to take you to Thenmala Dam from your starting point. This is the most convenient option but will also be the most expensive. Taxis are a good option if you travel with a group or have a lot of luggage.

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Thenmala Dam symbolises human ingenuity and nature’s beauty, offering visitors a unique combination of engineering marvel and scenic splendour. This Dam helps Kerala by making power, watering farms, and attracting visitors. It’s great for people who like adventure, nature, or relaxing. You can see many exciting things at the dam and in Kerala. Would you like to visit and see it for yourself? Book your trip to Kerala
today and immerse yourself in the natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality that await you. Your Kerala adventure starts here!

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Cover Image Credit: Ajeeshkumar4u for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Thenmala Dam

In which river is the dam of Thenmala?

The Thenmala Dam, also known as Parappar Dam, lies along the Kallada River in the Kollam district. It forms the longest reservoir in Kerala, serving both irrigation and power generation purposes.

In which district is the Thenmala Dam situated?

The Thenmala Dam is located in the Kollam district of Kerala, India. Its picturesque surroundings make it a captivating destination for visitors.

What is special in Thenmala?

Thenmala holds the distinction of being India’s first planned ecotourism destination. The reservoir around the dam is central to this project. Visitors can enjoy boating, trekking, and adventure activities in the nearby Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, surrounded by lush greenery and natural beauty.

Who built the Thenmala Dam?

The dam project commenced in the 1960s under the Kallada Irrigation and Tree Crop Development initiative. The foundation stone was laid by T. K. Divakaran on January 26, 1972. Upon completion in 1986, it was commissioned by K. Karunakaran on May 26, 1986, alongside the Kallada Irrigation Project.

How many steps are in the Thenmala Dam?

While you cannot directly access the Thenmala Dam itself, there is a walking path that leads to the top of the dam, offering scenic views of the reservoir and surrounding area. This path involves climbing around 150 steps.

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