The scenic Pachamalai Hills is likely to get an eco-medicinal park soon, as part of the Rs. 2.30 crore eco-tourism project announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
The community based eco-tourism development project is aimed at socio-economic uplift of local communities (the ‘Malayali’ tribe) by creating community assets and facilitating group entrepreneurship programmes through the funds generated from eco-tourism.
The hills are culturally rich with unique traditions and ethnic practices by the tribe. The traditional food of the tribe is an important part of the eco-medicinal park. The park is aimed to the centre for wellness . The habits and way of life of the community may be interesting for tourists who visit the place.
Apart from the park, tourists can try trekking in the forest trails, visit waterfalls, and enjoy the therukoothu (street play) by local people and bullock cart rides. Accommodation and food options will be available.
Rather than allowing private tour operators, Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) will be established for maintenance of the project by employing interested villagers from the area.
The project is targeted at nature and wildlife enthusiasts, who look for a break from their daily work. “It has been planned to complete the eco-tourism package by March 2014, so as to facilitate full-fledged tourism from May 2014,” said N. Sathish, District Forest Officer.