For those looking for a relaxed getaway from Trivandrum, Ponmudi, a small hill station, only half an hour away (56km) is the perfect choice. Situated at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the drive to the hilly retreat is the most scenic. A winding road goes through the verdant hills and sweepings valleys of the Western Ghats, leading up to Ponmudi from Trivandrum.

For most part of the year, this beautiful town is covered in a thick veil of mist. And the wildflowers growing on the banks of gurgling brooks just adds to the overall beauty. A special attraction in Ponmudi is the Kallar-Meenmutty Falls, that can be reached only after crossing a nice chunk of dense forests. The waterfall cascades down a series of boulders to form a largish pool where you can have a quiet picnic.

Unlike Kallar-Meenmutty Falls, Golden Valley doesn’t involve any trek to reach the place. The highlight here is the gushing water of Kallar River, which is perfect for a dip. Also, the place is strewn with golden-hued stones and pebbles which can be the reason behind the name of this place.

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Wildlife enthusiasts rejoice, because Ponmudi is home to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, rich in flora, fauna and avifauna. The terrain of this sanctuary is hilly, with the beautiful Karamana river meandering through it. The most commonly spotted animals here are the elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, Nilgiri langur, and macaques.

If you drive around Ponmudi, a stop at Bonacaud is highly recommended. Covering 2,500 acres, it has forests, waterfalls, streams and tea plantations. It also serves as a base for the popular trek to Agasthyakoodam Peak – the second highest peak in Kerala. Situated at an altitude of 6,128 feet, the trek to Agasthyakoodam is done over two days. However, permits are to be obtained from the forest office at Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.