Ponmudi or literally the golden hill is a hill station at the fag end of Western Ghats, not too far from the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Honestly, when I read about it, I expected it to just another hill station near a big city. I could not have been more wrong. It turned out to be nature’s extravaganza – with rolling hills, roaming clouds, and narrow winding roads.
Ponmudi Hills – Places to visit in Kerala
I took one of the Kerala Tourism tours to Ponmudi Hills. The first stop was at the Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad.
A small wooden palace in typical Kerala or Travancore architectural style with a central courtyard that sinks in and collects all the rainwater and a step well outside. The highlight of the palace was its numismatics collection. Collections of weights and measuring scales that were used to measure precious metal like Gold. Tribal musical instruments and ritual masks. There is a section of wooden utensils as well, some of which were quite interesting. There is a documentation of all the forts and palaces in Kerala and some collectibles of the old era.
What is interesting is that a queen by the name Umayamma reined from here in late 17th CE. Most places in India have had a queen ruling them at some point in time. And most of the time she is never talked about.
Ponmudi – Pleasant hill station
Climb to Ponmudi hills is through 22 hairpin bends and our guide kept warning us of potential nausea. He is probably yet to visit the Himalayas and the greater heights. On the way, there is Golden Valley point, where a river flows through the valley of the Ponmudi hills. A small river flowing amidst big and small boulders, emerging from a bend behind the hills and vanishing in another bend. As if it is playing hide and seek and is just passing by this point in its race to hide and fool the hills. Tea gardens look like a thick green carpet on the hills and provide their own hue of green to the surroundings.
It was raining very heavily the day we visited, so we could not see any birds or butterflies that are supposedly found here in abundance. There is a KTDC hotel and restaurant just below the peak of the hill and this is the only place where you can get something to eat, provided you order it in advance. The scenery from here is beautiful. You see many mountains like the folds of a bundle of clothes. The day we were there, there were as many clouds so the interplay of clouds and hills had to be seen to believe.
View Points at Ponmudi – Scenery Point, Echo Point & Suicide Point
On top, there are three points that the guide told us – scenery point, echo point, and suicide point. View from the scenery point was divine. In fact, I had my magical moment there when I saw two clouds merging. It almost felt like the union of Shiva and Shakti and I had tears in my eyes. The rain came in the way of our reaching echo point, but suicide point was really suicidal. It was a steep climb on a naked hill that led to a cliff. And if you slip from that point, there is no way you will survive. Looks like every hill station in India has a suicide point discovered by dejected lovers.
Recommend you to read following travel blog on Places to visit in Kerala & nearby.