Expedition Rosemala: A quaint little village in the Western Ghats


New Member
The first time I heard about Rosemala was a few years back. It was a news item mentioning a quaint little village in the Western Ghats near Aryankavu, Kollam, surrounded by forest. It also mentioned that the road to the village was just a jeep track through the forest. I promptly filed it away for future reference, but I had no option to act on it then. I knew the right time would come later.

Come 2019, another news item caught my eye. It was about concrete surfacing of the road to Rosemala nearing completion. So when a reunion drive was planned with one of my best friends, there was not a doubt where we would drive to. I still did not have a jeep, but I did have one of the next best things, a Tata Safari Dicor. We were not sure if the surfacing had completed or if 4 x 2 was sufficient, but we decided to drive there and find out anyway. Hence one fine day at noon, the expedition to Rosemala began.

From Attingal, it is just ~170 km round trip. The route we took was straightforward. Attingal-Alamcode-Kilimanoor-Nilamel-Kadakkal-Thenmala-Aryankavu-Rosemala.

First stop was this beautiful spot between Madathara and Kulathupuzha (GPS: 8.872183, 77.048456). There is a foot bridge over Kulathupuzha River and a sand bank and woods on one side. I always feel like I have arrived at a blissful place.





The heat of February was intolerable and we moved on after spending a few minutes clicking photos.

En route was the saddle dam of Thenmala Reservoir at Pallamvetti. It is a place I have been to many times in the past, but still decided to make a brief stop.

What better way to beat the 37 degree heat?

The boats were resting as were the crew. We did not want to take a boat trip any way.

Time was catching up with us. We were not sure if there was a cut-off time for entry to Rosemala, along with other uncertainties as outlined earlier. We decided not to stop further and made our move towards Rosemala.

Soon we came across an iconic structure, the 13-arched (pathimoonnu kannara) railway bridge along Kollam-Shengottah railway line, 100+ years and still going strong.

From Aryankavu junction, one has to take the road to the right. Approximately 10 km is the distance to Rosemala. The road is narrow, there is presence of wildlife including elephants, there are a few KSRTC bus trips and taxi jeeps. So one has to be vigilant and cautious. There is a forest checkpost right at the beginning of the road, but no one stopped us, just nodded us through the open barrier. There are a few houses in the initial stretch, then it just becomes a forest road.

After a couple of kilometers, the bitumen road gives way to the newly laid concrete road:


We came across a dip in the road which clearly becomes a river crossing during monsoon. It also appears to be a watering hole, judging by elephant dung lying around.

Safari posing:


The stream:

The road was very narrow and very steep at some places:

Yet at some places, where there are likely river crossings during monsoon, the concrete was used liberally:

The concrete road ends in front of another check post, again open, no questions asked. The next couple of kilometers were untouched gravel road. The way I saw it then, it was motorable by relativey high GC vehicles without any issues.

After that comes the gate to the village, there is a gate and electric fencing, but the gate was open at that time (we are not sure if they close it during the night). This tree makes the landmark:


Who Am I
Ohhhhh... you stopped so abruptly, but we cannot overcome the inertia of motion. Presumably, in this lock-down period, you don't have any other work. So please let us continue the journey as soon as possible.

And. when do trains pass on that thirteen-arched bridge? Any time table is available? It must be a very interesting sight.


New Member
Ohhhhh... you stopped so abruptly, but we cannot overcome the inertia of motion. Presumably, in this lock-down period, you don't have any other work. So please let us continue the journey as soon as possible.

And. when do trains pass on that thirteen-arched bridge? Any time table is available? It must be a very interesting sight.
It will be done soon. Just one more post.

The train list is available here:


New Member
We had gained some altitude by now:

We had already decided that we would just visit the watch tower/view point. We had to drive through the entire village to get there. Upon asking around, we were told that it is better to walk to the watch tower from the main road as big vehicles may have some difficulty maneuvering. We parked our car and walked, although a Safari may have done just fine as it turned out later on.

Rubber seems to be a major crop:

An Oriental Magpie Robin:

Hills acting as guardians of the village:


A ticket counter of Forest Department under construction:

The road ends in front of the ticket counter. One has to walk up through a rocky path for about 5 minutes to reach the watch tower:

The watch tower, which also doubles up as a wireless repeater station for Forest Department:

View of Thenmala Dam's reservoir from the tower:





Some company. A Green Bee Eater:

Red Whiskered Bulbul:


The sun had begun to set by now. The friendly guard invited us to watch the sunset, but he also cautioned that there is a likelihood of elephants entering the road as the sun goes down.

We decided not to take the risk and began to walk back to our car:

We drove back while there was still sun light left:

The drive was uneventful, except a big Sambar deer dashed across the road, startling us.

We took a break and had a dinner of masala dosas from Kilimanoor before reaching home by 9:30:

Of note, tourism is still nascent in Rosemala. The facilities are bare minimum and are not really intended for tourists. We saw a couple of hotel/tea shop and a couple of grocery stores and that was that, so one has to account for that before planning a trip there.

The trip did turn out to be a memorable one for a reunion drive. Already planning to visit Rosemala again sometime during the monsoon with a bit more preparation.


Who Am I
Very nice, really. The sunset would have mean nice, but your decision was correct. An encounter with wild elephants at night is to be avoided by all means.

Which camera did you use?
And, on which dates you visited it?