Ponmudi – The Golden Peak

I am spending my semester break out here in God’s Own Country, in my native town of Thiruvananthapuram.  I finally met The Curly Haired Girl after two long months and spend some time with her.  Went to Kovalam with her a few days back and had a really fun day.  Kovalam is one of those places I go to every time I come to Thiruvananthapuram.  After she went back to Bangalore, I’ve been left with nothing much to do.  Except for Ram, my usual gang of friends are busy with their exams.  So yesterday, I decided that I would go on a long overdue trip to Ponmudi.  Ram had been talking about that trip for ages.  So I rang him up early in the morning and made plans.

I was to meet him around 10 in the morning at his place, but the rains delayed the plans and I met him at 11.  After a quick stop at the petrol pump we rode on to Nedumangad.  The last time I’ve been to Nedumangad was almost 5 years ago.  We had a bit of traffic till Nedumangad, but it cleared up after that.  Our next checkpoint was Vithura a small town where we had our lunch.  After some ‘Avial’ and ‘Netholi Porichathu’, we were back on wheels driving through the country side.  Once you leave the city, all of Kerala feels the same.  It was a nostalgic ride as the countryside reminded me of my hometown in Adoor.   It reminded me of how I used to travel with my grandfather standing in front of his Chetak scooter to school.  Ah, memories!

We were soon driving parallel to the Kallar river.  We stopped after a while and climbed down to the river.  The river looked pristine, sparkling cold water flowing through a thousand boulders.  We had a small photo session climbing on those boulders.  Soon my phone’s battery died and we decided to get back on the road.  We drove non stop through rubber plantations and banana cultivation, soaking up the beauty of the villages.

We reached the bottom of the hills at around 1.  We could see our destinations towering over the clouds beckoning us with it’s misty mountain tops.  We slowed down and rode at a leisurely pace and soon we got to the first hairpin curve.  I guess I should have serviced my bike before I got on the trip, I had a bit of trouble climbing the first few hairpins before I got the knack of things.  The ride to Ponmudi has 22 hairpin curves.  After the first few, we were riding through thick forest.  Spotted a couple of monkeys on the trees and some very long centipedes.  The forests clear up towards the top and the landscape was now dotted by tea plants.  After the curves there was a check post were we had to pay a small entry fee to get to the top.  Another kilometer from the check post, we parked our bikes in the parking area and continued on foot to the top of the hills.  By the time we got to the top dense fog had covered the hills, we were a bit disappointed.  But thankfully the skies cleared up for a bit and we were mesmerized by the beauty of the green hills touched by clouds.  We had some snacks and took a dozen photos.  It was around 3 we started our descent.  A little down the road we stopped at the Amenity Center where we had a cup off bad coffee and continued on.  As soon as we entered the thick forests, it started pouring down heavily and we had no choice but to keep driving.  After wrapping up our electronics in plastic covers, we drove through the rain.  The rain kept pouring down relentlessly for about 10 kilometers of the ride.

We finally managed to find a small tea shop somewhere near Kallar.  We waited out the rain and drove home after a cup of (again) terrible tea.  Before long we were in the city and I had another 5 kilometers to go before I reached home and it had begun raining again.  I was almost frozen to my bike when I got home!

Anyways if you live in Trivandrum, you must definitely visit Ponmudi at least once.  It’s Trivandrum’s very own hill station!

Anyways there goes my travelogue! Arrivederci!