Ponmudi is a small hill station, 56 km northeast of Trivandrum. A winding road, traversing through the wooded hills of Western Ghats, leads to Ponmudi from Trivandrum. Situated at a height of 3002 ft, this town is surrounded by verdant hills and valleys. For most of the year this beautiful landscape is covered in the thick veil of mist. The wildflowers growing on the banks of gurgling brooks turn the place more beautiful. Ponmudi offers very few stay options. And probably that’s the reason it has been saved from the onslaught of mass tourism.
Note: At the end of the article, there is a video of Ponmudi.
Places to Visit in Ponmudi
Meenmutty Fall lies in between Trivandrum and Ponmudi. After driving 45 km uphill from Trivandrum, you reach Kallar bridge from where Meenmutty is 3-4 km. This path can only be covered on foot. You cross the dense forests to reach near the waterfall. The stream flowing through the forest cascades down a series of boulders to form a largish pool. Well, there was a time when this spot was pristine. But as it got known to the locals, especially some youngsters, it started getting littered.
Golden Valley can also be accessed from Kallar bridge. Unlike Meenmutty, it doesn’t involve any trek to reach the place. The valley has river Kallar meandering through it. Here you can admire the gushing waters of the river and take dips in the shallow parts near the bank. The water flows through the boulder-strewn land, which leads to formation of small pools. The golden-hued stones and pebbles present here must have been the reason behind the name of this place.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary has received its name from Peppara Dam which was built in 1983. To reach this sanctuary, you’ve got to take a diversion after Vithura on Trivandrum-Ponmudi road. The terrain of this sanctuary is hilly. The elevation varies from 330 ft to 5633 ft. The sanctuary is spread across 75 sq km and enfolds the catchment area of the Karamana river. This area is rich in birdlife. The animals residing here are elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, Nilgiri langur, and macaques.
Bonacaud serves as a base for the popular trek to Agasthyakoodam peak. For those who love driving in the hills and capturing vistas, Bonocaud makes for an exciting excursion from Ponmudi. British had established a vast tea estate here along with a processing unit. Today the tea factory and the houses of labourers are in ruins. Bonocaud covers about 2500 acres. It has forests, waterfalls, streams, and tea plantations. There are many opportunities for short treks in this area, but you’ll have to obtain a permission from the check-post. A traveller has written a wonderful article on Bonacaud on BCM Touring’s website, you can find it here.
Agasthyakoodam is as much for the trekkers as it is for the pilgrims. Situated at a height of 6128 ft, Agasthyakoodam is the second-highest peak in Kerala. It is also called Agastya Mala. The trek is 28 km long and is done over two days. The path is open from January to mid-March. Agastya Mala is believed to be the abode of saint Agastya who is revered by the Hindus. The trek to the peak commences from Bonocaud, 30 km from Ponmudi and permits are to be obtained from the forest office at Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
This 16th-century palace has two storeys and is built in traditional Kerala Style. It palace was meant for some of the relatives of the Travancore Royals. Umayamma Ravi, the queen of Attingal and the regent for Ravi Varma, had stayed here for a few years. Koyikkal was owned by Travancore Devaswam Board after independence. In 1979, the state government of Kerala took it over and the palace saw extensive restoration in 1990. Today it palace houses a folklore museum and a numismatics museum.
When to Go?
The atmosphere in Ponmudi is pleasant and invigorating round the year. But driving uphill during the monsoons can sometimes be difficult; rain and mist can block the vision. Having said that, the hill town is at its best in the monsoon.
How to Reach Ponmudi?
Ponmudi is 56 km northeast of Trivandrum which is the nearest major railhead. Trivandrum also has an airport which has good connections with all the major cities of India.
Here is a 10-min video which will introduce you with the beauty of Ponmudi: