February 7, 2015

Ponmudi,Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram and Nearby Places

Ponmudi is also called "The Golden Peak" and situated in western ghats. The place "Varayadu Mottai" is the highest peak in Ponmudi and it is a natural habitat of Nilgiri Thar. You get to see variety of Birds and Butterflies.

But without doing a trek here, you may not appreciate this place. For trekking contact either the Duke Forest Lodge (stay option) or the forest officials. See the photos below for the contact nos. Also visit this blog post which has excellent photos of the trek http://www.trekkr.in/agasthyakoodam-trek/

Some interesting places you can cover from Ponmudi are
  1. Trivandrum or Thiruvanathapuram
    • Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
    • Kuthiramalika Palace
    • Trivandrum Zoo
  2. Meenmutty water falls
  3. Ponmudi Hills or Peak
  4. Peppara Dam and Peppara Wildlife sanctuary
  5. Neyyar Dam
  6. Trekking - Refer the link given above.

Planning

If you want to see the temple it takes about 2 hours. For Zoo about 2 to 3 hours. The palace near temple will take about 30 mins. So you might need one full day for all these.

If you plan to trek, then plan one full day along with Neyyar Dam. Check with Duke forest lodge staff for trekking.

If you want to see the Meenmutty falls (3 hours) and Ponmudi peak (3 to 4 hours) you need one full day. You might need to close to 3 nights and 4 days if you want to see all the places listed above. Talk to the resort staff for better planning. They will help you.

1.a. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple


Due to the limited darshan timings, it always get crowded and a big queue for darshan. Incase if you visit during festival season, waiting time may be more. Parking is a big concern and you may need to park bit far and walk. The main deity is 18 feet in length and covered with gold and many other ornaments. Vishnu always likes ornaments and jewellery. Due to the size there are three door openings to see the deity. There is also a 1000 pillared hall.

The main temple tower is about 100 feet high and built during 16th century, resembling Tamilnadu style temple towers. See the photo below which shows the tower and the temple timings.

Attention: Due to strict rules here, you need to wear a dhoti and no shirts or vests on your body. All your mobiles and belongings can be kept in a Cloak room.
Details in http://www.sreepadmanabhaswamytemple.org/terms-and-conditoins.htm


1.b. Kuthiramalika Palace
On the way to the main temple entrance on east, on your left you get to see large wooden structures and this is the palace. Again no photography allowed here as well.

1.c. Trivandrum Zoo

No so big as the Mysore Zoo which is 150+ acre. This zoo is about 50+ acres. Still you get to see wide variety of animals and birds. You need around 1 to 2 hours.

Duke Forest Lodge (for your stay)


This resort is inside 100 acre rubber plantation and right next to Kallar river. On the other side of the river is the peppara wild life sanctuary. This is 60 kms from Trivandrum and takes about 1 hour to reach. To see all the attractions listed in this blog, you can make this as a base. For trekking, check in the resort itself. They will arrange.

There are about 6 villas in this resort each with its own private pool. There is a badminton court, Near this court, they arrange the campfire in evenings on request. There is also a big swimming pool with children's pool. Both well maintained. The lawn in front of the dining area also well maintained.
In the dining area they have few books to read and few games for children to play with. One can also goto the Kallar river and take a dip. It is just ankle deep fresh flowing water. You have to decide if you want private pool, common pool or the river. The food is excellent, try all kerala authentic food.
Read my detailed review in tripadvisor. For many other photos of the resort, visit my review.

Refer their website http://dukesforestlodge.in/ for any other details.

2. Meenmutty water falls


You need to trek for about 3 Kms to see the water falls. So that would be 3 + 3, 6 Kms. But yes it is beautiful to walk through the forests and cross the Kallar river and see this waterfalls. There are many staff throughout the path to help the visitors to this waterfalls. This waterfalls make a huge pool where one can bathe. But when we visited it was closed and no one was near the water. Looks like one can also trek to Agastyakoodam from here. You need to enquire in the entrance.

3. Ponmudi peak

From Kallar, there are 22 hairpin bends to Ponmudi. Nothing much except for the natural beauty. Beautiful place to spend a morning or evening. Carry enough snacks, water and food. You can walk around these hills on all sides and get to see the beautiful view. You can also stay here  (http://www.ktdc.com/golden-peak.php) looks like, but we stayed in Duke forest lodge.

4. Peppara Dam and Peppara Wildlife sanctuary


Peppara dam is about 35+Kms from Trivandrum and 13 Kms from Duke Forest Lodge. The sanctuary starts after crossing the dam. This peppara wildlife sanctuary is about 53 sq.kms in size. View of the sanctuary from the dam is very beautiful. Once you cross the dam on other side, it is a forest area. They don't seem to allow without prior permission here. I did not have time to visit this place during my trip. For birds and butterfly photography this is a good place.

5. Bonacaud


Bonacaud is the place from where you need to trek to Agastyakoodam in Agasthyar Hills of Western Ghats. From the watch tower one can see the peppara dam and sanctuary. Read the blog post (check link in beginning of this post)

6. Neyyar Dam

Another beautiful place to spend time. You can also go on a boat.There is a watch tower near the boat house from which you get the view of the dam. There are close to six islands and with the boat you can see. You can also see the Agasthyarmalai from the boat. There is also a lion safari park, if you are interested you can take tickets and go on the bus. There is also a crocodile protection centre. Herbal plants centre is also there with variety of rare herbal plants.

Moving onto the photos

Padmanabhaswamy Temple Tower
Thiruvananthapuram Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple Tower

Padmanabhaswamy Temple Timings
Thiruvananthapuram Padmanabhaswamy Temple Timings


Duke Forest Lodge Ponmudi
View of the Dining area from Pool - Duke Forest Lodge, Ponmudi

Duke Forest Lodge Ponmudi
View of the Pool from the Dining area - Duke Forest Lodge, Ponmudi

Kallar River Duke Forest Lodge Ponmudi
Kallar River inside the Duke Forest Lodge, Do you see it on your left ? 
Pebbles in Kallar river
Pebbles in Kallar river

Well balanced Tree in Trivandrum Zoo
Well Balanced Tree in Trivandrum Zoo

Lion in Trivandrum Zoo
Trivandrum Zoo


Rubber extraction from Rubber Tree - Duke Forest Lodge Ponmudi
Rubber extraction from Rubber Tree - Duke Forest Lodge Ponmudi

Rubber Extraction Duke Forest Lodge
After he cut, the rubber collection happens on the bowl (coconut shell)

Kallar River Details
Kallar River and its branches - Details 

Vines near Kallar river
Isn't it beautiful? the vines are so strong and in some places they are used as swing !

On the way to Meenmutty Falls
On the way to Meenmutty falls

Meenmutty Falls
Meenmutty Falls 

Meenmutty Falls
Meenmutty Falls

Millipede on the way to Meenmutti Falls
Millipede on the way to Meenmutti Falls

On the way to Meenmutti Falls
On the way to Meenmutti Falls 

Broken Bridge On the way to Meenmutti Falls
Broken Bridge On the way to Meenmutti Falls

Ponmudi Details
Details on Ponmudi

Ponmudi Details
Details on Ponmudi

Ponmudi Hillstation
Ponmudi Hill Station

Ponmudi Hillstation
Grasslands - Ponmudi Hill station

Ponmudi Hill station

Grasslands - Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill station


Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill station

Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill station

Vines On the way to Meenmutti Falls
Vines On the way to Meenmutti Falls

Vines Near Kallar river
Vines Near Kallar river

Ponmudi Hills
Ponmudi Hills

On the way to Ponmudi Hills
You need to pay here and then proceed to Ponmudi hills and Kallar river is here

Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill station
Ponmudi Hill Stay options
Ponmudi Hill Stay options

On the way to Meenmutti Falls
On the way to Meenmutti Falls

Hope you like this post, share with your friends and add your suggestions and comments below. Thank you. 

3 comments:

  1. very nice review of Ponmudi and photos are really nice

    chockalingam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback. Happy to know you liked it.

      Delete
    2. Thanks a lot for the feedback. Happy to know you liked it.

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