Situated at the foot of Agasthya hill range, Bonacaud, about 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram, is known for its spectacular beauty consisting of waterfalls, valleys and forests. The village serves as the base camp of the famous Agasthyarkoodam Peak, one of the highest peaks in Kerala. The Agasthya hill range is a bio-diversity hotspot and is home to several rare herbs and medicinal plants.
Also called Bonakkad, it is now used as a base camp for trekking to Agasthyakoodam. It is believed that sage Agastya, one of the seven sages in Hindu mythology, had meditated for long hours in the forests.
Bonacaud is a trekker’s paradise and makes for a great weekend outing. The Bonacaud-Servalar Trail is absolutely enchanting as it is goes through the forest and grasslands. During season, the forest remains carpeted with beautiful flowers while rain-fed streams add to its beauty. Before reaching the sole shelter in the jungle built for trekkers at Athirumala, one will have the task of crossing three rivers – the Karamana, Vaazhapindhiyaar and Attayar.
The village of Bonacaud was famous in the past for its tea plantation established by the British. It was created during the British Raj and was named as Bon-Accord. The Britishers named it after Braemore in Scotland.
Horses were used to reach the tea estates. The hillocks were not accessible by motor; hence, they used horses to travel. The horse tracks still exist and are found protected in Pandipathu, another trekking spot near Bonacaud, situated in the Peppara Wild Life Sanctuary which borders the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu. Pandipath was used as a breakpoint en route to the Athirumalai and Bonacaud plantation sites from Ponmudi.
A concrete horse shelter is still present which was earlier used to tie horses. The huge British bungalow was used as a resting area and has been revamped into a smaller concrete building by the Forest Department.
The Bona Falls at Bonacaud is a stunning cascade with a lot of fauna in the surrounding regions. Vazuvanchola near Bona falls is also famous for its waterfalls.
Bona Falls figure high on the list of must do things in Bonacaud as it is very spectacular. The waterfall is six km away from the Bonacaud tea factory. Vehicles are not allowed till the waterfall and have to park around two km away from the Forest checkpoint bungalow. The next four km involves trek through the forest path. Permit for the trek can be obtained from the forest check post.
Bonacaud is also a place for birding. Grey wagtail, forest wagtail, greenish leaf warbler, Asian brown flycatcher are amongst the 60 species of birds spotted around.
The beauty of the Bonacaud has made it a preferred location for shooting films.
The Forest Department offers basic accommodation. Apart from Bonacaud, Ponmudi and Thiruvanthapuram also boast of good accommodation options.
There are limited options for food. The canteen run by the Forest Department serves basic food and tea.
The best time to visit Bonacaud is from October to March. Bonacaud is also very beautiful immediately after the monsoon when the entire region is carpeted under luscious greenery.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Thiruvananthapuram is as given below. The best time to visit Thiruvananthapuram is also specified.