It need not be a long trip, even a one-day trip can bring you to a new level of experience, or at least that’s how I feel.
The hill station, “Ponmudi”, is encircled by thick evergreen rainforest and a river, crawling through the valleys of the hill. Standing 1,100m tall above the sea level, this golden peak gives you a 360 view of the lush green forest and a part of “Western Ghats“. Hills are covered with grasslands. These grasslands become enchanting when the rays of evening sun touch pass them. The name “golden peak” might have assigned to this peak by someone who witnessed the beautiful phenomenon.
I woke up moments before my alarm clock rings that day. It was early in the in the morning. I had to catch my bus to Ponmudi, a local favorite hill station in Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum. I packed water, food, hat, raincoat and my DSLR. The place where I stayed didn’t have public transport during the early morning. So I had to kick-start my motorbike to reach the destined bus stop where I was supposed to catch another bus to the hill station. The Sun is not out yet. My motorbike ride through the woods was very chilling and thrilling at the same time. After about 30 minutes later I reached the bus stop and eagerly waited for the bus to the hilltop.
It was the monsoon season in Kerala so there was always a chance of rain for that day.
I board the bus after a few minutes and I was lucky enough to get a window seat. My journey to the golden peak was about to begin. I made myself comfortable and waited for the “double bell” (double bell is a way of letting the bus driver know that everyone is on board and can start moving).
“Ding Ding”. My journey started.
Mountains were very welcoming and the gaps between mountains were filled with rain clouds. There will be rain anytime soon. It was getting darker and darker because of the rumbling clouds and the wind was quite strong and cooling. The bus was moving slowly, breaking the silence and the darkness and gently ignoring the heavy wind.
Not many people were on the bus. A little girl and her father were sitting in front of my seat. She was really enjoying the nature and the bus ride. But her father was worried that she may get cold because of the weather and wind. So he was trying to close the window. She didn’t like this move and she was screaming loud, “father, don’t close the window”.
There were more than twenty hairpin curves on the way to the top. The mountain high range is a mix of forest and tea plantation and there were many other spice gardens can also be seen in the midst of tea plantation. Mountains were becoming closer and closer. Top of the mountains was covered with mist and barely visible.
I started to have a feeling of ear block because of the altitude.
Bus already had passed half of the hairpin curves. We were approaching the hilltop. Surroundings were covered with grey-white clouds. Everything you see was just black and white. It was drizzling at that time. I could hear the sound from the raindrops falling on top of the bus.
I reached the hilltop station. There I saw a small tea shop and thought of having a tea. That was one of the best tea ever I had in my entire life. I was not sure if that was because of the tea leaves or because of the weather.
I had to walk a few meters to the viewpoint. The road is empty and covered with clouds. After a few minutes, clouds started to become disappear and the grasslands started to appear in front of my eyes. Luckily for me, the sunlight was filtering through the openings of the cloud. It felt that like a rejuvenating therapy for my mind and body. Slowly the sky became more blueish. Grasslands were dancing with the rhythm of the wind. Dewdrops from the grass were shining like jewels when they were illuminated by the morning sun. That time I realized why they named the hill as “the golden peak”.
After spending some more time in that icy and peaceful silence I returned to the bus stop and waited for the bus to down the hill. Soon everything will be back to normal.
[image courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponmudi]
yololah location rating (3.8 / 5)
Neck of the woods
Popularly knows as: Ponmudi (The golden peak)
GPS coordinates: Latitude: 8.760902, Longitude: 77.110863
Best for: One-day hike/drive
Best time to visit: Monsoon season
How much it cost to visit?: Minimal entry fee applicable