S. Anil Radhakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram: A butterfly park and a fresh water aquarium will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs.1 crore as part of the second phase of development at Thenmala.

The butterfly park will come up behind the musical fountain housed in the cultural zone of the eco-tourism village. The Ecotourism Directorate has entrusted the work of setting up the park to the Entomology Department of the Kerala Forest Research Institute.

"The area needed for the park had already been demarcated and the work for the Rs.25-lakh project has commenced," Director of Eco-tourism T.P. Narayanan Kutty, told The Hindu. On commissioning, it would be the first butterfly park in this part of the country and would be a big attraction.

The fresh water aquarium to be set up in the village would also come up in the cultural zone. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has been given the responsibility of preparing the design and other facilities needed for the aquarium.

The Rs.75-lakh aquarium would come up in a two-storeyed building. The aquarium would have an interpretation centre for the benefit of the eco-tourists and general tourists alike. The marine aquarium and the butterfly park would be made part of southern eco-tourism circuit, he said.

Already, the musical fountain is a big attraction. Thenmala tourism village situated in Kollam district is witnessing a steady increase in visitors over the years.

But, the lack of proper accommodation is the biggest hurdle faced by nature lovers coming from different parts. The green rooms in the amphitheatre located in culture zone are being rented out as dormitory to the visitors.

Mr. Kutty said the authorities decided to provide tented accommodation for trekkers wishing to camp overnight in the destination. Swiss tents used worldwide would be made available for trekkers. Sleeping bags would be provided for individuals and students coming to the village.

Along with this, the authorities are also working out plans to create budgeted accommodation by renovating the existing dilapidated unused quarters of Kallada Irrigation Project. The matter had been taken at the highest level in the Water Resources Department, he said.