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Ponmudi

Ponmudi(the Golden Peak) is a hill station in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala in India. Its located 61 km north-east of Trivandrum city at an altitude of 1100 m. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea.

Ponmudi is blessed with scenic splendor and natural beauty, Ponmudi has a carpet of thick tropical forest that rolls down to the foot of the hill range. No doubt, the salubrious atmosphere and the twisted trails across clear streams must have contributed to her health.

Other attractions near Ponmudi include Golden Valley and a number of rivulets and rapids, some even across the road. The lush forest area has tropical vegetation. A variety of wildlife inhabit the hills. The Golden Valley offers vistas of the hills and access to the Kallar River. Flowing though a wilderness area, it has rounded pebbles, cool water, fish, and lush green trees.

Some notable tourist attractions located in Ponmudi are Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Echo Point and various trekking spots. Mist-laden valleys, especially Golden Valley near Kallar River, also draw tourists. Travelers can find a deer park and wood and stone cottages coloured in bright hues while visiting here.Located about 1.5 km from the hill station, is the Ponmudi Falls. Around 3 km from the Ponmudi Resort, is the popular Deer Park. The Meenmutty Falls, another popular attraction of the region, is about 3 km from the Kallar Main Road. Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the outskirts of Ponmudi, is a preserve spread across 53 sq km and accommodates a variety of wild animals and birds like Asian elephants, sambar, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, Malabar grey hornbills, etc.

Another main attraction in the region is Agasthyarkoodam, one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats, with the highest peak at 1868 m. This peak is famous for its wilderness, and can be accessed only with the Forest Department's permission.Agasthyarkoodambiosphere Reserve is another popular attraction covering Neyyar, Peppara, Shendumey Wildlife Sanctuaries and divisions of Achencoil, Thenmala, Konni, Punalur, and Thiruvananthapuram

Ponmudi is host to 283 species of birds, many of which are endangered and threatened. Birds endemic to this region include the Painted Bush Quail, the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Wayanad Laughing Thrush, the Broad-tailed Grass Bird and the Nilgiri Pipit. The grasslands of Ponmudi are the breeding grounds of the Broad-tailed Grass Bird, a threatened species. "Fifty-nine per cent of the 483 bird species in Kerala are found at Ponmudi. Of the 16 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats, 15 are at Ponmudi. Of the 332 species of butterflies in the Western Ghats, 195 are found here. Of the 37 butterfly species endemic to the Ghats, 24 are found at Ponmudi. Spot Puffin, a rare butterfly, has been sighted at the Kulachikarai-Panayam-Merchiston area.Similarly, Ponmudi is also host to many species of reptiles and amphibians, including the highly endangered Travancore Tortoise, the Malabar Flying Frog and the Malabar Tree Toad.