Ponmudi

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Ponmudi
Morning at Ponmudi.jpg
Morning view from Ponmudi
Elevation 1,100 m (3,600 ft)
Translation പൊന്മുടി (Malayalam)
Location
Ponmudi is located in Kerala
Ponmudi
Ponmudi
Kerala, India
Range Western Ghats
Coordinates 8°45′37″N 77°07′00″E / 8.76028°N 77.11667°E / 8.76028; 77.11667Coordinates: 8°45′37″N 77°07′00″E / 8.76028°N 77.11667°E / 8.76028; 77.11667
Climbing
Easiest route Hike

Ponmudi (Malayalam: പൊന്മുടി) (the Golden Peak) is a hill station in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala in India. It is located 55.2 km north-east of Trivandrum city at an altitude of 1100 m. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea.

Ponmudi is blessed with scenic splendor and natural beauty, Ponmudi has a carpet of thick tropical forest that rolls down to the foot of the hill range. No doubt, the salubrious atmosphere and the twisted trails across clear streams must have contributed to her health.[peacock term]

Roofs of the cottages at Ponmudi

Tourism[edit]

Ponmudi is connected to Trivandrum by a narrow winding road offering scenic views on the way to Ponmudi. The climate is pleasant year-round. Trivandrum serves as a base for trekking and hiking. There are also tea gardens in the area. There are 30 hairpin curves in the short route which makes the travel a definitely thrilling experience

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 though 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 while visiting here.Located about 1.5 km from the hill station, is the Ponmudi Falls. Around 3 km from the Ponmudi Resort, is the popular Deer Park. The Meenmutty Falls, another popular 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 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 famous for its wilderness, and can be accessed only with the Forest Department's permission. Agasthyarkoodam Biosphere Reserve is another popular attraction covering Neyyar, Peppara, Shendumey Wildlife Sanctuaries and divisions of Achencoil, Thenmala, Konni, Punalur, and Thiruvananthapuram

Ecology[edit]

Ponmudi hills and road

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 laughing thrush, 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 flying frog and the Malabar tree toad.

Ponmudi panorama

Kallar and Menmutty Falls[edit]

Kallar and meenmutty falls

Kallar situated en route to the popular 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 attraction located near by Ponmudi hills and is around 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram city.This waterfall is about 3 km away from the Kallar-Ponmudi road. The main attractions are water falls and the small natural pools and rocks located beside the way to the water fall. 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.

Attractions[edit]

A. Near to Ponmudi

Kallar: A popular tourist destination near Ponmudi. The River Kallar here offers a good picnic spot in the form of Golden Valley. Here, there are options to trek in the adjoining forests. The Meenmutti waterfall is a major draw at Kallar.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary spread over 53 km2. in the Western Ghats is accessible from Vithura. With its rich flora and fauna, Peppara dotted with hillocks and forests is a great attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.

Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad: This ancient palace dates back to the 15th century. Museums of folklore and numismatics are its major attractions, besides the traditional architecture and layout of the palace.

The Folklore Museum here is a treasure trove of quaint musical instruments, occupational implements, household utensils, models of folk art etc. Displayed in the Koyikkal Palace, they focus attention on the cultural background of the State.

In the Numismatics Museum housed in the palace, one can see coins belong to different parts of the world as well as to different eras. The rare and historically valuable collection of coins gives an insight into the trade relations of the State. Among the exhibits is the most valuable Indian coin - the 2500-year-old Karsha and Rasi, as also the world's smallest coins.

On the way to Koyikkal Palace one can take deviation to visit the Aruvikkara Dam which supplies drinking to the city of Thiruvananthapuram. The dam site offers excellent panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary: The sanctuary has a picturesque dam site serving as its gateway. The dam premise is a popular picnic spot, which comes with a watch-tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park and deer park. Boating is a pleasurable experience in the reservoir lake. The elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottoor here is also worth a visit.

Kerala Legislature Complex: Located at Palayam in Thiruvananthapuram city, the Kerala State Legislative Assembly is a beautiful blend of traditional and modern building design. Situated behind legislative is the Legislature Museum with exhibits on the political history of the State.

Science and Technology Museum Complex: This museum houses galleries on electricity, electronics, power and motion, mechanics, popular science, mathematics, solar energy as well as automobile, computer and biomedical engineering.

Priyadarshini Planetarium: Opened in 1994 to the public, this is one of the most versatile planetariums in the country. The main GM-11 star field projector here can project almost all the constituents of the visible universe. It can also simulate the star-studded night sky over any location on the earth, on any day up to 12,500 years back or 12,500 years into the future.

The Napier Museum: Built in the 19th century, this Indo-Saracenic structure boasts of a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Javanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting.

Sree Chithra Art Gallery: Opened in 1935 by the then Maharaja of Travancore, Sree Chithira Thirunal, displays original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich; exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India as well as paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The collection also includes unique copies of Indian mural paintings from pre-historic times down to the 18th century.

Sree Chithra Enclave: Opened in 1993, this museum depicts the history of the Travancore Royal Family and displays their personal belongings and artefacts. Old newspaper footage and deeds describing events are also exhibited.

KCS Panicker Gallery: Nominated as one of the nine eminent artists of India, Kerala's renowned painter Panicker, was born in 1911. He was instrumental in setting up the Progressive Painters Association in Madras from 1944 to 1953. An artist who set a new trend, the gallery traces his works over a period.

Natural History Museum: This modern building houses some excellent galleries like the skeletal, bird, animal and taxidermy gallery as well as a museum.

The Zoological Park: One of the first zoos in India, it was established as early as 1859. A reptile house with different species of snakes and a vulture house are also located within the premises. Plastic is banned inside the park.

The Kanakakkunnu Palace: The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes.

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Palayam: This church, that is 125 years old, is very popular among the Catholic followers and is an important landmark in the city.

VJT Hall: Built to commemorate the golden jubilee of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1896, the VJT Hall was inaugurated by Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma on January 25, 1896, the hall has witnessed many historical events. Perhaps the most preferred venue for public functions in the city, this monument stands tall as a proud remnant of the colonial era.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple: Located inside the East Fort, this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the Serpent. The idol, plated in gold and made out of a rare composition known as katu-sarkara-yogam, is acclaimed as a marvel. It is also noted for its mural paintings and stone carvings.

Meshan Mani (Methan Mani): On the eastern side of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, installed in 1833 during the reign of Swathi Thirunal, is the Meshan Mani (clock). It has on its dial, a man's face with two goats on either side. Crafted from mahogany by an artisan called Kulathooran, every time the clock completes an hour, the man opens his mouth and the goats hit his cheeks.

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum: The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture has exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

CVN Kalari: The most famous amongst the many Kalari centres, CVN Kalari has its own Ayurvedic clinic. Located near the Padmanabha Swamy Temple, this place which teaches Kerala's ancient martial art is within walking distance from the Central Railway Station.

Shankhumugham Beach: This place is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here. The Chacha Nehru Traffic Training Park here gives children the opportunity to learn the traffic rules.

Akkulam Tourist Village: A picnic spot with boating facilities, Akkulam is a place children flock to. It has a well-equipped children's park, a paddle pool and a swimming pool for adults as well.

Veli Tourist Village: This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speed boats are available for hire. Children can also enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape.

Valiathura: Located near Shankhumugham, this was once the only port along the South Kerala coast. During monsoons, fishermen carry their catamarans to the edge of the Valiathura Pier which is 703 ft long, throw them into the sea, then jump in and swim to it.

Beemapalli: An important place of worship, the Beemapalli Dargah Shareef is dedicated to Bee Umma, a pious Muslim woman who was believed to possess great spiritual powers. The Chandanakudam Festival at Beemapalli, lasting for 10 days, is one of the most colourful events.

Samudra Beach: This beach is very close to the Samudra Hotel and borders it. It provides a calm and serene beach atmosphere.

Thiruvallam: This serene backwater stretch, en route to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides, kayaking and cruises in kettuvalloms. The boat club here organises tours to the nearby islands of Pozhikara and Edayar as well as visits to coir manufacturing units.

Parasurama Temple, Thiruvallam: This 2000-year-old temple on the banks of the River Karamana, is the only one in Kerala dedicated to Sree Parasurama, the mythological creator of the State. This temple is a venue for ancestor worship. As part of the Bali ritual, devotees make offerings to the souls of the departed, after taking a dip in the holy water.

Kovalam: Just a short drive away from the State capital, Kovalam is easily accessible. Internationally acclaimed, this seaside destination comprises three adjacent crescent-shaped beaches. Golden sands, miles of shimmering sea, rocky promontories constantly caressed by the sensuous surf and a brilliant sunshine warming the very souls, make this place truly sensational. A charming village in its yesteryears, Kovalam today has all the trappings of a popular beach destination.

Kovalam Beach: Fringed by headlands that rise steeply above the shore, Kovalam is almost completely covered by coconut palms. Of the three small bays separated by rocky outcrops, the southernmost, known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. The lovely old lighthouse that gives the beach its name is the Vizhinjam Lighthouse. Edakallu, a rocky headland separates Eve's or Howah Beach from the Lighthouse Beach. The hill that separates Howah Beach from the third of Kovalam's celebrated beaches houses the government guest house and the Halcyon Castle.

Lighthouse: The 35 m lighthouse is perched atop the palm-covered Kurumkal Hill jutting out on to the sea. Visitors can climb the spiraling staircase inside to the top of the red and white tower and enjoy a spectacular view of the surroundings.

Varkala: Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like the beautiful beach, reddish laterrite cliffs overlooking the beach and a 2000- year-old Vishnu temple. The fresh water mineral spring originating from the crevices of the cliffs is considered as holy and having high medicinal value. Such a phenomenon is considered very rare near a beach.

A dip in the waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam beach'. A two-thousand-year-old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple, stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, at a short distance away.

The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and Philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days - 30 December to 1 January. Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: "one caste, one religion and one god", in a society torn by the taboos of caste system.

Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for the tourist and is fast becoming a popular destination.

Thenmala Eco Tourism: Covered by dense forests, rubber and tea plantations; Thenmala was selected by the World Tourism Organization as one of the world's best eco-friendly projects.

It has a leisure zone with winding pathways, a sway bridge, a sculpture garden and a boardwalk; a culture zone with an amphitheatre, a musical fountain as well as Nakshatravanam (a nursery of trees considered sacred to the 27 constellations, located inside one of the zones. Visitors can take back a sapling of the tree relevant to their birth star); and an adventure zone that includes activities like trekking, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing. Besides these, the Deer Rehabilitation Centre as well as the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary are added attractions. Only temporary visits are permitted to the interior of the reserve forest. A major attraction is the boating in the reservoir, inside the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kanyakumari: At the southernmost tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies Kanyakumari, an important pilgrim center. Kanyakumari is famous for watching spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days. The beach itself is a beautiful sight with multi-colored sand. There is a lighthouse from where one can have a panoramic view. The Government museum offers a good collection of sculptural art crafts of Tamil Nadu.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

More about Ponmudi

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Ponmudi at Wikimedia Commons