At an elevation of 1,100 meters and boasting of a rampant green landscape, Ponmudi has always been the first choice for a taking a breather, especially for us Trivandrumites. Ponmudi also stands unique for its craggy yet unblemished terrain, replete with large boulders and blanketed by different shades of green. Located at approximately 60 kms from the city of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi offers its visitors a drastic drop in temperature, extremely low humidity, squeaky clean air and spectacular views.
On the way to the hill-top, you will pass River County resort, an ideal nature-driven getaway option (for tourists) and the entrance to Meenmutty, a waterfall destination that involves a 2 km trek through dense forest. What follows is 22 hairpin curves, some of which make you want to hold on to dear life especially when a Kerala State RTC bus roller-coasters its way down as if wanting to just casually shove your vehicle over the steep cliff. These hair-pin curves also proffer enthusiasts with excellent avenues for nature photography. Monsoons and winters are in fact the best time of the year to visit the place. The slow drizzle, misty surroundings (at times, it gets misty enough to hamper visibility beyond 10 yards!), avian cries and the screeching of monkeys can be relished to the fullest extent at this little gem of a place.
I have been to Ponmudi during different seasons, both at dawn and dusk and can confidently come to the conclusion that this is a locale that better suits an afternoon visit (i.e. post 4 pm). The mist takes over the milieu for a fair bit of time while you wallow in your walks uphill or downhill and settle at a comfortable spot to enjoy the views preceding nightfall. The place gets quite crowded on weekends yet the expanse is ample to cater to each and every visitor. There are a few eat-out spots nearby as well, providing food and beverage options based on the time of your visit. The Tourism Development wing has taken effective measures to curb the chucking of garbage and allowance of alcohol by placing multiple checkpoints. Ponmudi will continue to remain one of the exquisite attractions for anyone living in / visiting Thiruvananthapuram. The hill-station is without question, worthy of repeat visits, each occasion triggering a diverse set of emotions and presenting varied wholesome experiences.
Here are some pictures from my most recent visit:
There is a watchtower located on one end (which has now been closed off), but the trekking path up to the point is indeed quite an exhilarating one . One gets a 360 degree field of vision from this particular tip. Strewn with rocks wedged into the earth and uneven patches of green, this is definitely one of the most popular viewpoints at Ponmudi.
Photo-ops are limitless but the mist can sometimes obstruct views out of the blue, especially in the evenings. However, the haze clears up as rapidly as it forms.
Similar to other tourist hotspots of Kerala (such as Thekkady, Neelimala), the extensive stretch of Ponmudi is synonymous with green almost all through the year except during the dry summer months, when hues of golden brown tend to be more striking.
The clip-art styled shadow formations (due to trees growing in abundance) are exciting to observe.
This is the vista from one of the restaurants at the hill-top. A statue with a prominent resemblance to Greek monster Medusa (with tree branches on its head instead of venomous snakes) can be seen at the centre of the garden.