A trek to Ponmudi
Peak Name - Ponmudi
Height - 3002 ft
Location - 61 kms from Trivandrum, Kerala
Hike level - Easy to Medium Uphill trek
Starting Point - Kallar
End Point - Ponmudi
Duration - 1 day trek
Best time to do Ponmudi: November to March
I went for a rain walk to this picturesque hill station on the occasion of World Environment Day and the trek was organized by the Kerala Forest Department in association with WWF India. Ponmudi is a hill-station located at a distance of 61 km from Trivandrum. Driving my bike all the way from Trivandrum along the route Nedumangad-Anad-Vithura to Kallar is not less than an adventure itself as the roads of the state are too narrow and I never had an experience of driving on these :)
I reached Kallar around 07.30 hrs and the walk was flagged off around 08.00 hrs. Kallar is named after the Kallar River and it is a famous bird watching spot. There are this famous Meenamutty waterfalls and it is said that there is a trek route via this river too. But as it is a difficult one and the Forest Dept officials were too concerned about our safety they took chose the road circuit. There were about 35 people from almost all the age groups, which is a good sign!
Ponmudi is situated at a height of about 3000 ft and the road from Kallar to Ponmudi comprises of 22 hairpin bends, perhaps one of the highest numbers when compared with the rest of the hill stations of Kerala. The foothills of Ponmudi are of rubber plantations while the uphills are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The adjacent landscape is covered with a thick blanket of forests.
Though the first leg on the total distance of 15 km is a bit tiring because of the hot sun and humid climate, the breath-taking views of the cloud-kissed mountains, hills covered with lush green tea plantations, clean roads, and fresh air kept me walking towards our resting point which is the PWD guest house. We were provided some snacks and tea to refresh ourselves and continue with the rest of the trek.
Though this is a road trek mostly, I got ample chances to try some off-road routes too and they are worth trying. Some are just climbing the roadside steeps to cut off few hundred meters walk while few others are through the tea estates :) Nevertheless, they are good routes too and there is no harm in trying those as they are perfectly safe. There is a temple here dedicated to Sree Karuppaswamy who is a friend of Lord Ayyappa which is frequently visited by the locals.
The second leg of the trek was pretty fantastic as it started to drizzle and the climate suddenly changed making the uphill trek more easy for us. I reached our final destination - the KTDC Guest House which is located on top of the hill at about 13.00 hrs. Having had our lunch there, we gathered for experience sharing and came back to Kallar after walking the downhill for some time and later catching a KSRTC bus which dropped us at Kallar.
All this trek is worth as it gave me an exposure to the beauty of Western Ghats and got me close to some WWF India members. I would definitely recommend this trek for the beginners as this will give both the experiences of uphill and downhill treks as well as the on and off route hiking. A well spent weekend! ;-)