Ponmudi is a quaint little hilly town located amidst the rolling hills of the Western Ghats. It is renowned for its lush green valleys, streams, waterfalls and tea plantations. This town offers a magical experience to those who intend to explore its wilderness. It is a perfect place for trekking. Owing to its captivating beauty, Ponmudi is popular as the Kashmir of Kerala. The climate too is pleasant all through the year.
It is connected to Trivandrum with the two-lane highway. Located 53km from Trivandrum, this hilly town is connected with a wide network of roads. You can take a bus or a taxi from the railway station or from Trivandrum airport to reach Ponmudi. The nearest railway station is the Central Railway Station, Trivandrum.
History of Ponmudi
The scenic hills, natural springs, tea estates, winding streams, and the spice plantations have earned Ponmudi the title of the Golden Peak. It is located 915 ft. above the sea level and is home to many exotic species of butterflies and beautiful mountain flowers. It is believed that this beautiful little town was founded by Rishi Parshuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Despite being a cozy little town, Ponmudi has a turbulent history. It was ruled by the Varma, Venads and Ays and hence was constantly invaded by the Mughals and the Cholas which disrupted the peace in the region. However, despite everything this beautiful town has not lost its sheen.
The landscape of the region in and around Ponmudi is quite interesting. It consists of forestland, plantations, hills and valleys. The extensive biodiversity of this region is quite enchanting. Ponmudi is home to 283 species of birds of which many are threatened and endangered.
You can spot the Nilgiri Pipit, Broad-tailed Grass Bird, the Malabar Grey Hornbill and the Painted Bush Quail in this hilly town. Over 59 percent of the species of birds found in Kerala can be spotted in Ponmudi. Of the 332 species of butterflies in Western Ghats, 195 have made Ponmudi their home. The place is also home to the endangered Travancore Tortoise, Malabar Tree Toad and the Malabar Gliding frog.
Why you must visit Ponmudi?
Ponmudi is a favorite weekend getaway for locals of Trivandrum. People throng in large numbers along with their friends and families to spend quality time away from the hustle-bustle of city life. The winding paths add to the scenic beauty of this place. If you are a wildlife enthusiast or a botanist, then you would love every moment spent here. Photographers can capture rare species of flora and fauna at Ponmudi. It is home to wild orchids and mountains flowers that you barely get to see elsewhere.
The temperature is quite equable throughout the year. Numerous resorts and cottages have been built in the region for the convenience of the travelers. The cottages are known for their homely atmosphere. You would certainly be touched with the hospitality of the locals. You can also choose to check in to a treehouse if you have always dreamt of an adventurous and offbeat way to spend your holidays. This little town has transformed into a hotbed for tourism activities. It would be a sin to miss out on the mesmerizing beauty of this beautiful locale.
A Trekker’s Paradise
Ponmudi offers beautiful trails that take you through the mystical wonders of nature that cannot be spotted every day. All you need to do is embark on the trail to explore the beauty of nature and for greater excitements. The Varayadumotta Trail is one of the most popular trekking trails in the Western Ghats. It offers panoramic views of its surroundings and is also one of the toughest treks in Trivandrum.
The Kerala Forest Department as well organizes several trails in Ponmudi. The trek begins from Kallar River and takes you through lush green mountains for over 15km. You get to cross the temple of Shree Karuppaswamy Temple during the trek who is believed to be a friend of Lord Ayyappaswamy. The final destination is the KTDC guest house located on the top of Ponmudi Hill.
Local attractions near Ponmudi
Ponmudi is surrounded by several tourist attractions. While visiting this stunning town, you can also consider exploring the trekking spots, Echo Point, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Meenmutty Falls. The mist-laden valleys will render you speechless. There are numerous places nearby that you can cover on your trip to Ponmudi.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Located on the outskirts of Ponmudi, the Peppara wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of birds and animals. It spreads over 53 km. you can spot Malabar grey hornbills, lion-tailed macaques, leopards, sambar and Asian elephants in this reserve. This sanctuary is open to the public all-round the year. The sanctuary houses over 27 species of fishes, 13 species of amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, 233 species of birds and 43 species of mammals.
Meenmutty Falls is located in Wayanad District in Kerala. This waterfall has a height of 300 meters and is a three-tier waterfall. It is best to avoid this waterfall during the rainy season because of high inflow. Otherwise, it is quite a beautiful place to spend some time amidst nature. It is surrounded by lush tea plantations.
This is one of the highest peaks that you can find in the Western Ghats. It is 1868m high and is renowned for its mesmerizing wilderness. You need to seek permission from the Forest Department to gain access to this place. There is also a biosphere reserve nearby.
Aranmula Boat Race
Aranmula is located 128km from Trivandrum and can be visited while on your way to Ponmudi. Situated on the banks of River Pampa, the town has a famous temple associated with Lord Krishna. This temple is believed to be 1700 years old. The boat race organized by this temple during Onam is immensely popular.
The ritual is organized on the birthday of Arjuna. Large snake boats are moved in pairs while the crowd sings and cheers in excitement. The oarsmen sing traditional songs wearing traditional clothing with turbans. This adds to the festive spirit. You can witness this incredible boat race on your way to Ponmudi if you are holidaying with your family after Onam celebrations.
A hub for adventurous activities
If you are fond of adventure sports, then Ponmudi will give you a reason to rejoice. It is a great place for trekkers. The Kallar river nearby provides you ample opportunities for rafting and canoeing. The Ponmudi Hills are just perfect for paragliding. It is a safer peak in comparison to other hills in the Western Ghats.