Text: Anisha Rudrani
It is not easy to find an unspoiled and less frequented tour destination that fits the tag of the ‘one-day’ outing spot. Ponmudi hill station is such a niche on the mountains just 60 kilometres from the capital city of Kerala, India.
Ponmudi which in local lingo means “Golden Peak” is situated at an altitude of over 1,100 m above sea-level. It offers beautiful trails for trekkers while the narrow winding road skirting the hills would thrill and test the verve of the motorists.
Ponmudi which in local lingo means “Golden Peak” is situated at an altitude of over 1,100 m above sea-level. It offers beautiful trails for trekkers while the narrow winding road skirting the hills would thrill and test the verve of the motorists. Serving as bonus along the way is the cool delights of Vazahuvanthole waterfalls and Kalarkad waterfalls. Curiously this nature’s pet nestled on the Southern Western Ghats mountain ranges draws lesser footfalls than in most hill stations. This is enough reason nudging to you to take a ‘dekko’. After you swerve through as many as 22 hairpins along the snaky winding roads you are rewarded with the ecstatic sight through the veil of mist from the hilltop. There is no other word to describe the feelings. There is plenty of indulging in Ponmudi-- Trekking, hiking, paragliding, parasailing and rock climbing. So go packed. Ponmudi is safer than many peak points in the Ghat region, a fact that travellers and adventurers vouch. Those with a touch of bard in their veins could take leisurely walks along the meandering roads that wind up the hill. Ponmudi also sports many natural springs that help keep the valley clean and green. Icing on the cake is the serrated vista of tea gardens at the top. Though an all-season destination, the time you choose to travel is bound to accentuate the effect on your experience. Rainy season would mean trickier roads and travel conditions but then vista of the rain clad mountains is something to be experienced. But if you want to avoid an adrenaline rush, it’s better to skip the wet climate. Novice to these adventure sports, there is not a better place to kick start the sporty adventure. For the experienced, the narrow winding paths and the hairpin bends gives the best of the experience. This hill station, so near yet far enough to lend an other-worldly feeling, is a blessing for the citydwellers but sadly it has its manmade woes. Apart from a KTDC cafeteria, there is hardly any place from where you could get even a bottle of water and pack of snacks.
Surely, you must pack your travel bag with your favourite bites and also carry your drinks and water to avoid disappointment. It is all the more important if you are travelling with your family having kids. Ah, yes, forget not your camera for the peak and the below give you delightful vista of the golden ferns and wild flowers. If you are lucky, you may also come across a few naughty wild creatures- small Indian civets, wild goats, jackals, snakes, and colourful birds. At the base of Ponmudi Hills, you can take a dip in the wild stream before you say bid farewell to the beautiful place.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
This is one of those rare places when one can head to any time of the year for a truck full of fun. However, it’s better to avoid monsoon season because the wet climate does not offer much be it with the sight or with the adventurous sports. The best time to visit Ponmudi is after the onset of winter- November-December. The weather is pleasant for roaming around the place and to go on treks. And the best time to enjoy the mist.
The plunge pool is the star attraction, and there are points where you are allowed to take a bath in the crystal clear water.
MEENMUTTI AND KALLAR
Either on the way to Ponmudi or your way back, make a stop or two. Missing out on Meenmutty and Kallar is not advisable as they entire trip could come as a package—all rolled into one. As the name suggests, ‘Kallar’ is a river of rocks. The boulders are visible in the water during the dry climate and you can even take a walk on the river. Kallar village is the base to famous Agasthyakoodam trekking path. Dense bamboo trees adorn the pathway to the base of the waterfalls-The Meenmutty falls. The plunge pool is the star attraction, and there are points where you are allowed to take a bath in the crystal clear water. The sights, sounds and even the smell of the water makes the long and tiring trek a worthy experience.