Ponmudi or the Golden Peak is a beautiful hilltop with Mother Nature blanketing, one of her best spreads. The mesmerizing hill-station, located at about 61km from Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital of Kerala is surely nature lover’s dreamland. The hilltop which is situated at an altitude of about 1100m above sea level forms a part of the southern spread of the famous Western Ghats.
Drive through the narrow winding hill roads of Ponmudi, breathe in more than the fair amount of fresh unpolluted air and watch out for the expansive spread of spectacular luscious greenery. At the foot of the hillock, the sprawling spread of rubber trees gives way to a more verdant banquet of thick forests as you move up the hill. The signboards along the winding drives are more eco-friendly with constant reminders on protecting the nature, the wildlife, for safe driving and to keep the stretch of land plastic free/ litter free. As you drive through the twisting curves, you see small silver laces of glistening streams and delightful little waterfalls gurgling down small rock formations.
The best time to visit the Golden Valley is either at the break of dawn or in the evening before sundown in order to catch some of the best glimpses of the hill valley. And if you need a nature spa, then stop over at the Kallar waterfalls, located at the start of the drive to the crest. A dip or splash in the small stream which occasionally is studded with little spurts of water sprays is undeniably the best natural spa feel you can ever get. The effusive canopy of trees towering the little water body gives the perfect shade from the hard rays of the sun be it morning or noon, whenever you are there. There are changing rooms close to the stream, where you can change to the appropriate dress required. After the relaxing spa-soak in those cool clear waters, get ready for the drive up the hill, winding through 22 narrow hairpin curves. If you feel you need to experience the thrill of more water therapy, then Meenmutty Waterfalls is located at just the turn off the main drive.
As you reach the top of the hill, you see puffs of mist rolling over the landscape, the beauty of which is hard to describe. Walk through the terrain to experience the splendor of it. The walk is so much fun and good exercise for the succession of constant climbs and descents across the rock-studded terrain, passing through the fluffy creamy mists. However, if you have weak legs, then it always best to rest in one of the several waiting sheds build like gazebos and enjoy the beauty of the landscape from there. If you plan to travel post noon, make sure you reach the top of the hill by 4 pm as the guards do not allow you to walk across the hill after 6 pm in the evening due to safety reasons. However, if you wish to stay over the day you need to plan your trip ahead as there is only a KTDC resort at the top. There are about 24 rooms and 10 cottages for which you need to book ahead. Nonetheless, there are many homestays and hotels at the foothills too.
Ponmudi is home to many species of birds and some wild animals and if you are lucky you can spot a few of them. The Tourism Dept. insists on keeping the land and water bodies’ plastic free and surely protecting our verdant landscapes is the need of the hour and a must-do…. So make sure you don’t litter the landscape or water-bodies.