Ponmudi, hill station near Trivandrum, Kerala
Spending close to about 3 weeks in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), I decided to take this weekend to nearby hill station called “Ponmudi”. Ponmudi is a breath-taking hill station situated at the southern stretch of Western Ghats. It is situated over 1,000 metres above sea level. It is close to about 61 kms from the city hustle and just a short driving distance as well. Woke up as early as 4:30 am and headed fast so that I do not miss the golden sunrise. Ponmudi literally means “The Golden Crown” in Malayalam.
Ponmudi is blessed with scenic splendour and natural beautyand has a carpet of thick tropical forest that rolls down to the foot of the hill range. This place is definitely for trekkers to trek amongst tea plantations, gurgling brooks, dense forest and little wildlife.
As we entered the thick green forest area and tropical vegetation, there was sign board of 22 hairpins curves in this short route which made the travel a definitely thrilling experience and the narrow winding road made even my sleep go away. Even the winding streams along the road, with their cool green waters, and the verdant woods makes a weekend traveller forget the city life in just one hour. The surroundings green area had many tea estates. As we covered first five hairpins, we came across the twilight morning of rays, and that made me more excited to know how the sunrise would look in close to the city area.
Practically this was my first sunrise in God’s Own Country “ Kerala”. Ponmudi also offers excellent trekking and camping opportunities throughout the year because of the serene weather. Trekking through the thick forests one gets to see assortment of mountain flowers, unusual butterflies and small rivulets. However, I’m yet to explore the trekking opportunities in this area. Ponmudi is home to more than 200 species of birds, out of which many are endangered as well. Some of them that we heard from the locals where the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Broad-tailed Grass Bird , the Nilgiri Pipit, the Malabar Flying Frog and the Malabar Tree Toad and variety of butterfly as well.
Since Ponmudi experiences tropical weather usually, it remains pleasant almost throughout the year. As the temperature is mild tourists flock to this place during summer. It is a difficult time to visit during the rainy season as it experiences heavy rainfall. Visiting the place during the winter season is also advisable. Winter season lasts from the months of November to February. Anyway the period from March to May is the peak season.
For the adventure seekers, Ponmudi hill station offers many adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, etc. This beautiful hill station offers a pleasing view and it has natural springs that help in keeping the valley lush green. The view down the valley from the cottages and resorts up the hill is breathtaking and it feels as though time has left this place untouched. Around the Ponmudi area, you can also visit the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, the plantation estates, the deer park and the wild orchids blooming in the wilderness across the estates area.
Along with other attractions, another main attraction is Agasthyarkoodam, which is one of the highest peak in the Western Ghat, with the highest peak at 1,868 m. The peak is the second highest peak in Kerala, after Anaimudi. Agasthyakoodam peak is in the form of a sharp cone and is considered a heaven of rare herbs and medicinal plants.
Once I reached on top of Ponmudi, I was impressed to see Café Coffee day overlooking the beautiful sunrise. After seeing the very refreshing sunrise, I decided to sip a coffee and head down to city back to start my day of regular work. Nestling in the smooth comfort offered by the several cottages and tourist accommodation available at Ponmudi, one falls in love with the bountiful nature and tranquil setting the hill station offers where the city life is just one hour.
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