Palakkad about 160 kilometers away from Cochin, is blessed with great scenic splendor and abundant natural resources. It is the land of Pala Tree and Paddy fields. It is the hilly district devoid of any sea coast. Palakkad was the gateway to Kerala Tourism from the country years back. Etymologically, Palakkad derives its name from the Pala (alsteria scholaris) tree and kadu(forest), as it is said that the area was once full of Pala trees. It has played a key role in the cultural history of South India. The district set in the foot of majestic Western Ghats is unique in its geographical position, historical background, and tourist attractions. The colossal Western Ghats stretch over 960 km, in length, their continuity is only broken at Palakkad, known as “Palakkad Gap” with a width of 32km. On the either side of the “Palakkad Gap” are the imposing NIlgiri hills and Anamalai Hills. The climate of the district is highly influenced by the “Palakkad Gap” as it enables the north-east winds to pass through it. This phenomenon gives the benefit of both south-west and north-east winds resulting in rainfall to the district and it has aptly earned the epitaph of “Granary of Kerala” or the “Rice Bowl of Kerala”. The “Palakkad Gap” has also contributed immensely in the commercial and cultural exchanges between the State and other parts of India.
Palakkad Fort was built by Hyder Ali in 1766. The majestic granite fort, in the heart of the town, It is one of the best preserved forts of the state and is looked after by the Department of Archaeological Survey of India. A temple of Lord Hanuman is adjacent to the main entrance of the Fort. A museum of Archaeology is also functioning inside the Fort. Fort is surrounded by a trench. A jogging track parallel to the trench is provided for jogging in the morning and evening hours. The entire area is beautifully landscaped.
There is also very attractive small garden named Vatika with facilities for children’s entertainment is situated near the parking area of the Fort. Jain temple of Jainimedu, situated on the weastern suburbs of Palakkad town, not far from the railway station, this historic 32 feet long, 20 feet wide granite temple displays images of the Jain thirtankras and its yaikshinis. The region around the temple known as Jainimedu is one of the few places in Kerala where the vestiges of Jainism have survived.
Malampuzha Garden: It is located 12km north of Palakkad town, on the lower hills of the Western Ghats. It is set amidst picturesque surroundings and beautiful picnic spots. The Malampuzha Dam, described as the ‘Temple of modern age” by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. Beautiful rose gardens and amusement park for children have been set around the reservoir.”Yakshi”, the work of Kerala’s famous Sculptor Kanai Kunhiraman is also displayed in the garden. Boating, fishing and various water spot facilities are also available here. Malampuzha is also known as the headquarters of the inland fisheries activities of Kerala. Dhoni located 15km from Palakkad . There is a waterfall on top of the Dhoni hills, which could be reached by a 3 hour long trek from the bottom of the hills. Trekking is the best way to explore the splender of this hilly terrain. Dhoni is famous for its farm house with exotic rare breeds of cattle.
Nelliyampathy: The pleasant hill resort is situated 32km south of Palakkad. The lush valleys in the region are full of valuable teak plantations with extraordinary height and girth. The orange estates at Nelliyampathy hills produce high quality oranges which are very popular in Southern India. Nellikota or Padagiri is the highest peak of the region. There is a picnic spot near Sithargundu estate which offers aerial view of district is absolutely breathtaking.
Silent Valley National Park: This 89.52 sq km national park is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forests in the Sahya Ranges. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley forest is that it is devoid even of the chiping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is possible only up to Mukkali, near by 24 km from the park. The rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging into the Bharatapuzha. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills above, an altitude of 2000 meters traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through a deep gorge. River Kunthi never turns brown; it is crystal clear, perennial and wild. The sanctuary has perhaps the countries last substantial stretch of evergreen rain forest. The key fauna includes elephant, tiger, lion tailed macaque etc.
Attapadi: Some blissful movements, a wonderful tribal experience is what Attapadi has in stock for a tourist. The villages of Agali, Sholayur and Puttur are located inside the remote jungles of Silent valley National park at a distance of about 50km from Palakkad. These small tribal hamlets nestled in the picturesque Western Ghats are one of the few areas are still frosen in the olden times. The natural beauty of these small Hamlets is further enhanced by the many frothy brooks that crisscross the mountainous terrains this is where one can truly experience the tribal life style untouched by urban developments. The inhabitants of the area meet their livelihood by hunting and gathering honey, fruits and herbs from the dense forests around, pretty much the same way their ancestors have don from times immortal.
Parambikulam Wild life Santuary: It lies 135 km from Palakkad via Pollachi and is one of the best wild life sanctuaries in the state. The sanctuary covers an area of 285 sq km around the Parambikulam, Thunacadavu and Peruvaripalam dams, forming a part of the neighboring Annamalai sanctuary in Tamil nadu. IT is home to varied wikld life species like Gaur(Bison), sambar, spotted deer, Nilagiri Langur, Lion tailed Macaque, sloth bear etc.
Kollengode: It is the abode of blacksmiths enshrines the pristine beauty of rural Palakkad. The Kollengode Palace, the Vishnu Temple and the Poet P.Kunhiraman Nair Memorial are worth visiting. The Kollengode Palace has now been converted into a luxury hotel complete with an Ayurvedic Spa. The place is also home to the famous Indian writer & UN personality Mr. Shashi Taroor.
Thritala: The place is famous for its monuments and historic ruins. The Shiva temple and ruins of a mud fort on the Chalissery road are of considerable cultural importance. The Kattilmadam Temple, a small granite Buddhist monument on the Pattambi-Guruvayoor road is of great archaeological importance.
Pothundi Reservoir lies 45 km from Palakkad and is famous for the the scenic location is a popular picnic site.
Chittur: It is located 15km south east of Palakkad,is known for the ‘Konganpada festival’ held every year on the 1st Monday after the dark lunar night in kumbhom (feb-mar).The festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of nairs of kochi over the militia of Konganadu.”The Tunchath Acharya Madam”, located here is belied to have founted by Tuchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan The father of Malayalam literature, Chittur is also known for Kora grass, mat making. The granite carving is a rare craft which can be seen in the chittur taluk. (more…)