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|Elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
|Language of name||Malayalam|
|Parent range||Western Ghats|
Ponmudi (the Golden Peak) also known as Kashmir of Kerala is a hill station in the Peringamala gramapanchayath of Trivandrum District of Kerala in India. It is located 22km west of vithura town, 53 km north-east of Trivandrum City, 78 km south-east of Varkala town and 69 km north-east of Kovalam Beach at an altitude of 1,100 m (3,600 ft). Ponmudi (Varayadumotta) peak is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea. Ponmudi is also called Kashmir of Kerala and is a popular honeymoon destination in South India. The normal temperature of Ponmudi is between 18 and 25 °C (64 and 77 °F).
Ponmudi is connected to Trivandrum by a two-lane highway (SH2 & SH 45). The last 18 km starting from Anapara has scenic views, as it winds through the mountains and tea gardens. The travel along this stretch provides a thrilling experience as drivers and riders have to navigate 22 Hairpin turns.[tone] Ponmudi is also a popular spot for backpacking and trekking. The climate is pleasant year-round.
Other attractions near Ponmudi include Golden Valley and a number of rivulets and rapids, some even across the road. The lush forest area has tropical vegetation. A variety of wildlife inhabit the hills. The Golden Valley offers vistas of the hills and access to the Kallar River. Flowing through a wilderness area, it has rounded pebbles, cool water, fish, and lush green trees.
Some notable tourist attractions located in Ponmudi are Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Echo Point and various trekking spots. Mist-laden valleys, especially Golden Valley near Kallar River, also draw tourists. Travelers can find a deer park and wood and stone cottages coloured in bright hues. Located about 1.5 km from the hill station, is the Ponmudi Falls. Around 3 km from the Ponmudi Resort, is the Deer Park. The Meenmutty Falls, another tourist attraction of the region, is about 3 km from the Kallar Main Road. Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the outskirts of Ponmudi, is a preserve spread across 53 km2 (20 sq mi) and accommodates a variety of wild animals and birds like Asian elephants, sambar, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, Malabar grey hornbills, etc.
Another main attraction in the region is Agasthyarkoodam, one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats, with the highest peak at 1868 m. This peak is known for its wilderness, and can be accessed only with the Forest Department's permission. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve is another attraction covering Neyyar, Peppara, Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries and divisions of Achencoil, Thenmala, Konni, Punalur, and Thiruvananthapuram
The landscape of Ponmudi is an interspersing of valleys and hills with forestland and plantations. Ponmudi is having an extensive importance of biodiversity, which plays a major role in maintaining the ecological balance of the area. Ponmudi is host to 283 species of birds, many of which are endangered and threatened. Birds endemic to this region include the painted bush quail, the Malabar grey hornbill, the Wayanad laughingthrush, the broad-tailed grass bird and the Nilgiri pipit. The grasslands of Ponmudi are the breeding grounds of the broad-tailed grass bird, a threatened species. Fifty-nine per cent of the 483 bird species in Kerala are found at Ponmudi. Of the 16 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats, 15 are at Ponmudi. Of the 332 species of butterflies in the Western Ghats, 195 are found here. Of the 37 butterfly species endemic to the Ghats, 24 are found at Ponmudi. The spot puffin, a rare butterfly, has been sighted at the Kulachikarai-Panayam-Merchiston area where ISRO's land comes. Similarly, Ponmudi is also host to many species of reptiles and amphibians, including the highly endangered Travancore tortoise, the Malabar Gliding Frog and the Malabar tree toad. Nilgiri tahr is also found in Ponmudi hill top.
Kallar and Menmutty Falls
Kallar situated en route to the hill station of Ponmudi, Kallar gets its name from the River Kallar, which flows through the region. Kallu means 'stone' and Aru means 'river', hence the name Kallar. The river is well known for its abundance of attractive, round-shaped boulders and pebbles, especially in the upper reaches and middle portion of its course. Here one can take a dip in the crystal clear waters to cool off, and also watch the many rapids and small pools that dot a good part of the river in this area.
Meenmutty Falls, Thiruvananthapuram is one of the main attractions located nearby Ponmudi hills and is around 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram. This waterfall is about 3 km away from the Kallar-Ponmudi road. The main attractions are waterfalls and the small natural pools and rocks located beside the way to the waterfalls. In order to reach the place, one has to take a long trek that passes through dense forests, upon taking special permission from the Forest Department. A guide will be sent along with tourist groups to the falls. Facilities for trekking are easily provided at Kallar Vana Samrakshana Samithi, which is a forest protection group at Kallar.
- Ponmudi hill station is well connected to Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala by a wide network of roads. Buses ply from the main bus stand in Trivandrum and VITHURA at periodic intervals. Taxis are available from the Central Station at Trivandrum and Airport.
- Nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station.
- Nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
- Western Ghats - Ponmudi is a part of Western Ghats
- Anamudi (ആനമുടി) - Highest peak in Kerala
- Agastya Mala (അഗസ്ത്യമല) - Highest peak in Kerala south of the Cardamom Hills
- Nedumangad - Nedumangad Taluk (Wikipedia)
- Nedumangad - Nedumangad Taluk
- "Ponmudi Hill Station". keralatourism.org. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "Ponmudi". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Deepu Aby Varghese. "Ponmudi Still Magical". Indian Express.
- "Greener pastures for tourists". thehindu.com. Dennis Marcus Mathew. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "New Endemic Species of Damselfly Discovered in Ponmudi". Archana Ravi. newindianexpress. 4 May 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
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