Ponmudi (meaning ‘Golden Crown’ in Malayalam), is a picturesque hill station accessible by a one and half hour’s drive from the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. A trekker’s paradise housing tea gardens, spice plantations, gurgling brooks, and wildlife, it’s the perfect getaway for a peaceful weekend…. The hill station of Ponmudi is located at a distance of 61 km northeast from the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Situated at an altitude of over 1,100 m above sea level, the winding streams with their cool green waters and the verdant woods set in the midst of serene surroundings, is sure to attract any visitor to Ponmudi Hills. It forms part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea.
Ponmudi is connected to Thiruvananthapuram by a narrow winding road which offers a scenic view all along the way. The climate is invigorating and remains pleasant throughout, and the place serves as a base for trekking and hiking for adventure enthusiasts. The tea-gardens here are also famous. As you drive along the hilly road, it passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes.
Other attractions near Ponmudi include the scenic Golden Valley offering a wonderful view of the hills, and a number of rivulets and rapids, some even flowing across the road. Located in a rich forest area, this whole place offers a lot of scope to those who are interested in tropical vegetation. There is also plenty of wildlife found around these hills. Golden Valley is an access point to the river Kallar which abounds in rounded pebbles. Lush green trees, the cool crystal-clear water, scurrying fishes and the sheer wilderness of the park - all go to enthrall the traveler. Leisurely strolls, fishing in the Kallar river and bird/butterfly watching can also be indulged in..
Another attraction in the area is Agasthyarkoodam which is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats and the highest peak in the district. This peak is famous for its wilderness offering much scope for trekking and hiking and can be accessed only with permission from the Forest Department. Meenmutty Falls is a popular tourist spot in this range. The places of interest around Ponmudi are the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, the plantation estates, the Deer Park and the orchids blooming in the wilderness all around. Towards the north, one can come across a mini zoo where barasinghas leisurely stroll about.
Ponmudi is yet an unexplored destination, especially for travelers from outside the state, and is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life where one can relax without being disturbed, amidst tranquil surroundings in the lap of nature. For the adventure seekers, Ponmudi hill station offers many adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, etc. One can go on long leisurely walks along the meandering roads that wind up the hill. This beautiful hill station offers a pleasing view and it has natural springs that help in keeping the valley lush green. The hill station also has tea gardens that make it a picture perfect location. 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.
The nearest airport is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station is located at a place that is easily accessible from the hill station.
Ponmudi hill station is well connected to Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala by a wide network of roads.
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. For those with a passion for trekking, you can take long leisurely walks and explore the hill station amidst its hills, valleys, tea-estates, and cottages. Ponmudi is an ideal and a beautiful picnic spot for travelers to relax and rejuvenate themselves, to escape from the hectic pace and monotony of city life. While at Ponmudi, you can enjoy the famous Aranmula Boat Race at the nearby Pathanamthitta district. It is organized each year at the village of Aaranmula in the month of August and September and is part of the local Aranmula Temple Festival.
Varkala is yet another peaceful getaway from Ponmudi, it is an important Hindu center of pilgrimage and also housing a popular beach. The beach is adorned with high cliffs and mineral-water springs all around the coastline. Other prime attractions here are the 2,000-year-old Janardhanaswamy Temple and the Nature Centre.
Agasthya Mountain is also referred to as Agasthyakoodam and is located about 70 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram. It is perched at a height of 1,868 meters (6129 feet) above mean sea level in the Western Ghats. 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. A valuable and rare herb by name ‘Arogyapacha’ is found to be growing here. Considered a ‘plant of eternal health’, it is attracting the attention of modern researchers to this hill. Agastyakoodam is the source of the perennial river Thamirabarani that flows in Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. Peppara wildlife sanctuary forms a part of Agastyakoodam forests in Thiruvananthapuram. district.
Agastyakoodam is highly respected by both the Hindus as well as the Buddhists. The former believe that this mountain is the home of Sage Agastya, regarded as the patron saint of the Dravidians of south India who, it’s believed, was the first to popularize the Vedic religion in the south. The sage is considered to be one of the seven seers (‘Sapta Rishis’, ‘Ursa Major’or ‘The Great Bear’constellation) in Hindu mythology. For Buddhists, Agastya Mountain is the abode of Bodhisattva Avalokiteswara.
For further information on the capital city of Kerala, log onto www.thiruvananthapuram.net