But since we wanted to be in Chimmony till evening they suggested us to go for either of the following the next day. a) Come back to Chimmony and go for a bamboo raft ride (can combine with short treks as well). b) Go for a trek to the highest peak in the PA, the Ponmudi peak (1116 m)....
Surrounded by dense forest and tea plantations, the sights from the Golden Peak at Ponmudi are astonishing. Long grass and small protruding rocks add to the beauty of the peak. The clouds swoop in and out in quick succession leaving you content and in awe. We spent some time until the peak was closed for the day and we were driven back to Trivandrum. We had some beers at a bar and ate some lovely chicken and mutton dishes at the famous Buhari hotel well past midnight.
Ponmudi…Day 2Located within a short driving distance of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort. We decided to visit this amazingly beautiful place. As if the narrow winding pathways and cool, green surroundings were not enough, God sent clouds and rain showers to make my heart dance like a peacock. Along with a beautiful array of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. With its tea estates and mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a must visit. And so our day was made!The evening was spent at Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th century. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent. The architecture stands out for its work in stone and bronze and the interiors are adorned by beautiful paintings and murals. Some of them are that of the life-size images of Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture, Narasimha Swamy (half-lion, half man incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Lord Ganapati and Gaja Lakshmi. The temple has a dhwaja stamba (flag post) that is about 80 ft high and is covered with gold plated copper sheets.
Next on our list was a hike to Meenmutty waterfalls and from thereon to Ponmudi. Got off the KSRTC bus at Kallar and hikes for around 2-2.5 kms through a well guided trail through a forest and alongside the Kallar river. It was a decent hike coupled with scenic surroundings, however, I would suggest that one should avoid it during the weekends. Buses on this route are not as frequent as you would like them to be, more so when you are hard pressed for time. We waited for quite some time and we finally struck a deal with a taxi to take us and drop us back. Little did we know the driver was still under training and probably had never driven in the hills. You can imagine our condition on the 22 hair-pin turns that the taxi had to take to reach Ponmudi.
Ponmudi is a beautiful place around 45 kms from the capital of Kerala state. If I had known earlier, I would have been there so long ago. It's just too good a place that will go beyond your expectations. A hill station without any hotels and shops.