At a distance of 15 km from Kallar, 57 km from Trivandrum, 102 km from Kollam, 131 km from Kanyakumari, 167 km from Tirunelveli, 172 km from Kottayam, 178 km from Alappuzha, 225 km from Tuticorin, 233 km from Kochi, 267 km from Madurai, 298 km from Munnar, and 371 km from Rameswaram, Ponmudi is a small hill station located in the Peringamala Panchayat of Trivandrum district, Kerala. Also called as 'Kashmir of Kerala', it is one of the offbeat hill stations in Kerala, and among famous places to visit near Trivandrum.
Ponmudi, meaning the Golden Crown, is nestled in the lap of rolling hills of the Western Ghats that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. Situated at an altitude of 1100m, Ponmudi is surrounded by scenic hills, spice plantations, tea estates, natural springs, and winding streams. Ponmudi was founded by Rishi Parshuram, a prominent Indian mythological figure. Fondly called as local Ooty of Trivandrum, the place offers magnificent views of mountains from almost all the points as part of Ponmudi tour packages.
Ponmudi is blessed with scenic splendor and natural beauty. It has a carpet of thick tropical forest that rolls down to the foot of the hill range. The valley offers vistas of the hills and access to the Kallar River. Ponmudi Waterfalls, Deer Park, River Kallar, Kallar Meenmutty Falls, Golden Valley, and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary are prominent places to visit in Ponmudi. The grasslands of Ponmudi are the breeding grounds of the broad-tailed grass bird, a threatened species. Apart from sightseeing, Ponmudi is also famous for Ayurvedic medical treatments.
Trekking to Agasthyarkoodam, the highest peak in the region, is the most popular activity here for adventure buffs. At an altitude of about 1868 m, the Agasthyarkoodam peak is in the form of a sharp cone and is home to rare herbs and medicinal plants. This peak is famous for its wilderness and can be accessed only with the Forest Department's permission. A large amount of rare flora and fauna can be seen here including mountain flowers, wild orchids, and exotic butterflies. Varayadumotta is another popular trekking trail in Ponmudi that offers a panoramic view of the hills along with the Nilgiri Tahrs. One can go for the short trekking trail that starts from Kallar River Bridge just before Ponmudi and continues along the banks of Kallar River upstream till Meenmutty Waterfalls.
About 60 km, Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport to Ponmudi and has well-connected flights from all the major cities of India including Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata. Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station is the nearest railhead which is about 58 km from Ponmudi. It has well-connected trains from Bilaspur, Tirunelveli, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Kozhikode, Madurai, Dibrugarh, Nagercoil, Gandhidham, Silchar, Bengaluru, Kollam, Mangalore, Jamnagar, and Guruvayur. Ponmudi has regular buses from Trivandrum, Kollam, Allepey, and Palakkad. Ponmudi Bus Station is the nearest bus stand that has regular KSRTC buses from Trivandrum, Kollam, Allepey, and Palakkad. There are 22 hairpin bends along this short route which makes the journey a thrilling experience.
There are several cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities in Ponmudi to stay and explore the nearby places. Also, the Government Guest House offers 24 rooms and 10 stone cottages.
The winter season from November to March is the best time to visit Ponmudi when the climate is extremely pleasant and welcoming. The whole place looks mesmerizingly beautiful enveloped in mist. During this period you can not only witness the place in its full glory but also indulge in enjoying the various activities that this place has to offer including mountain climbing, paragliding to trekking, and rafting.