Apart from the regular adrenalin rushing paths this time it was decided to go for a family outing with our better halves and kids. It was a kind of family tour rather than a trekking and I request the regular viewers to take it in that way only. What I was trying to say is that I haven’t mellowed . But this is just a different experience. As monsoon has already started its turn in Kerala it was a bit wet day out there. Actually the trip was planned a week before itself but for some contingencies myself and Sreeja couldn’t make it but BOLD Syam Devi and Ammu went alone and said they enjoyed a lot. How sad we couldn’t make it . The very next week I wanted to go but was doubtful whether Syam and Family could make it. But to conclude all my suspicions they were in without any second thought. Thus my first family trip to Ponmudi materialized. Though it has been a place so close to the heart of all of us (our group of 8) and I have been there “N” number of times. Undoubtedly I have been there more than 100 times alone as well as in groups. There are so many cherishing memories about this place, so many escapades so many rides, short trekking etc. But being there with family was altogether a different experience.
Ponmudi is a hill station in Thiruvananthapuram at an altitude of 1100 mtrs. It is almost 60 km north-east of Trivandrum city. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range in the Palode range of forest area. The route one can take to reach Ponmudi from Trivandrum city would be like Vellayambalam > Kowdiar > Peroorkada > Vazhayila > Nedumangadu > Vithura > Kallar > Ponmudi. The road from Kallar to Ponmudi is thick forest covers and there is 22 hair pin curve form Kallar to Ponmudi making this road one of the most beautiful roads in South Kerala. Some of the main tourist attractions nearby are Agastyarkoodam hills one of the highest hills in Western Ghats at an altitude of 1680 mtrs (trekking permitted only through forest permission), Meenmutti water falls ( 2 kms inside the Kallar forest, Bonakkad tea plantations, Peppara dam and wild life sanctuary etc. Those who want to stay in Ponmudi can depend on the govt guest house near the top station check post. There is a refreshment point in the top station (Newly built) where we get food and refreshments and comfort station. There is a small children’s park (with moderate amenities) also there for kids. This place is ideal for a one day outing. The view of rolling grass lands of Ponmudi is mind soothening. We get awesome views all around especially from the top point where a new watch tower has been constructed recently.
Myself and Sreeja started early in the morning by 6 am picking us Syam, Devi and Ammu from their home and in no time we were moving through the SH47 heading towards our destination. It is hardly a 2 hour journey from the city to the beautiful place which makes it very special. There won’t be many places around like this where we can see the sea and hill stations so close. (Just 50 km part). By 8.20 we reached Vithura and had our breakfast from there. We started taking the curvy hair pin bends soon after that and the road is very beautiful with a thick cover over the head and smooth curves. The road condition is also very good so that we need not worry about. By 9.30 we reached on top and by that time there were some other visitors already there. I remember the old days when no one used to come here because of the absence of basis comforts. Nowadays family can also visit this place as it is well maintained. We explored some grass lands on to the left side from the top station. It was a short trek where we don’t have to strain much. It was just a “humby bumby” walk through the hills with one foot height grown grass and some rocky paths. We took a half circle along the hill sides and climbed up the rocky hill right in from of the parking area. Though it was a little wet we didn’t encountered any leech issues. I and Syam remembered and shared the experience we had when we two came here last time in his Bullet and attempted a small off the track expedition which ended in a devastating leech attack.
We roamed around for a while and went to the children’s park which Ammu was longing for atleast an hour. She unleashed herself in the available amenities and was really happy. In between that Devi gave her food and me and Sreeja visited the watch tower in the top station. The view from the top was overwhelming and we wished they also had come. For Syam it won’t be anything new but Devi really missed the view from the top.
By this time it was really crowded and the place was losing its serenity. We met some of our friends also there had a brief chat with them and by 11 am we were all set to return. Out next objective was to reach Kallar and spend some time there. The descend was somewhat easy and in another 30 minutes we reached Kallar. Surprisingly Syam was well prepared for a Dip (no I cannot say a dip but he was well set to get saturated) in the chilling water of Kallar and had a loose pair of shorts which enabled me also to get into the ice cold water along with Syam and Ammu. What more to say the session ended up in a bashful experience in the chilling water with our ladies enviously waiting for us in the banks.( The extra pair of dress didn’t suffice their urge to get into the cold.)
Finally by 1.30 we bid good bye to Ponmudi and Kallar and cruised back to the clutter of city life. The day was memorable in many ways. The feel of going with family to some places where we have been many a time with good old bachelor escapades to remember was different with so many stories to tell them. For me and Syam it was a remembrance of good old times and for the ladies it would have been a dissimilar experience from their regular schedule at work or at home. For Ammu it must be her most chilling day out. We reached respective homes by 4 pm having a sumptuous lunch from Ajwa Biriyani Hut. A day full of fun and calmness. The whole stress of a long week was washed away from all of us. Waiting for the next day out…