Palakkad - A Tete a Tete with the city
Also known as : Palghat
Location : Southern India, Kerala
Local Transport : Auto rickshaws, private cars
Places to see : Palakkad Fort, Malampuzha, Dhoni, Temples
Palakkad - Tale of the City
There is a view that Pala means barren land and Kadu means Jungle in Malayalam. Therefore, the place got its name. Others believe that this place had a Jain temple. Pali was the sacred Jain language and so the place got the name Palakkad. However, the general belief is that Palakkad came through the tree “Pala” which once covered this whole land. Therefore, this area came to be known as Palakkad. The history of this area goes back to the Palaeolithic age as there are a many relics found belonging to that age. In the first millennium, the Perumals ruled the region. Then the Utayavars took over this city. It is also believed that Palakkad was also invaded by the Pallavas of Kanchi. Palakkad also has a written record of a victory in a war in 988 AD. This was when Palakkad’s king, Nedumpurayur Nadudayavar stopped the forces of King of Kongunadu at Chittur. There is a festival that is famous in this city for this victory. The Royal family of Nedumpurayur was later named as the Tarur Swaroopam and then as Palakkad Raja Swaroopam. In the 17th century, Raja of Palakkad took the help of Hyder Ali to stop the Zamorin of Calicut from invading the city. Hyder Ali wiped out the Zamorin rule in Palakkad and soon became the unquestioned monarch of this region. Later his son Tipu ruled this city but got defeated by the British. As per the accord from 1872 by the East India Company, Palakkad was taken over by the British. Later Palakkad became a part of Madras Presidency’s Malabar district.
Palakkad - Down the Ages
Palakkad is often called the jewel in the necklace of the Western Ghats, is a place with unique beauty, splendour and grandeur. With an abundance of natural resources Palakkad, the beautiful jewel is a paradise with its lush green expanse, exotic flora and fauna. With mist covered over the hills and flowers blooming in the verdant expanse, Palghat is the perfect place to unwind for a tourist. Down the ages, Palakkad, the granary of Kerala is a storehouse of rice fields. The old charm still remains when we see the bullock carts transporting goods and huge banyan trees with children playing under them giving us nostalgia about the old Palakkad village. Today it is the administrative headquarters of the Palakkad district. It lies in the natural depression between Kerala and Tamil Nadu and connects the two states.
Palakkad - A Rendezvous
Palakkad, the land of the Pala tree lies at the foot of the Western Ghats. The hillocks and the colossal Western Ghats give the place its beauty and the fertile plains with their good productivity have given the name Granary to this State. This is the other district in Kerala, which has the rare nature of not having a seacoast. The other district is Idukki. The Bharatapuzha, the longest river of Kerala, flows through Palakkad. The river turns dry in summer in Palakkad and therefore has no significance in trade or commerce. Thus, the city of Palakkad is a place with a lot of culture, tradition, and history.
Palakkad - Travel kitty
Palakkad, the place which has the biggest mountain pass in the world, lies on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The city is the Gateway to Kerala and is dotted with magnificent beauty, enthralling surroundings and an exquisite past. This place has a mixture of culture and tradition both the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This is the main travel kitty for a tourist who comes here. Besides, he could avail of the local handloom cloth and general local artefacts.
Palakkad - Joie de Vivre
The city of Palakkad has a unique ability of binding together the culture of two regions - Kerala and Tamil Nadu. With its rich flora, fauna, and small reminders of the past still existing in the city, the city boasts of a special joie de vivre which one should see to believe. One can see the following things here:
Palakkad Fort : This old fort is made of granite and is situated in the centre of Palakkad. This was built by Haider Ali of Mysore in the 17th century. The British captured the fort in 1790 AD. This is also known as Tipu’s fort. This was built to have a fast communication between Coimbatore and the West Coast. In 1784 AD, the British captured the fort and the fort later was taken over by the Zamorin only to be recaptured by the British. There is a Martyr’s Column, an open-air auditorium called the “Rappadi” in side the fort. It is now preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Vishwanatha Swamy Shrine : This is the most erstwhile Shiva temple. It is located 3 kms from Palakkad. There is a custom of taking a chariot around. This annual ritual is called the “Ratholsavam” or the Chariot Festival at the temple premises. The festival lasts for a week.
The temple is magnificently decorated and the chariots are drawn on the streets. This thus is the mainstay of the city and increases the grandeur factor of the city.
Dhoni : This is found around 15 kms from Palakkad. The forest has stupendous sights and a magnificent waterfall. The place can be reached after a 3-hour climb from the ground level at the Dhoni hills. The green ambience is a treat for the eyes and there is a farmhouse with a hundred cattle of the Swiss variety. This is also an attraction for the tourists.
Other Spots :
Malampuzha : This is a great spot for the picnickers. It lies on the lower portion of the Western Ghats. Situated 12 kms from Palakkad, this has the Malampuzha Dam and a garden also.
Kottayi : This is situated around 15 km from Palakkad. This is the place where the late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the great Carnatic music maestro was born.
Thritala : This is a very important site archaeologically. It is located 75 kms from Palakkad. There is the ruin of a large fort. This fort also has a deep moat made of laterite stone. There is a temple - the Kattil Madom temple, a structure made our of granite slabs. This lies on the Pattambi Guruvayoor Road.
Attapady : This is situated on the northeastern side of the Palakkad district. It has the largest tribal settlement. It is a rich fertile area as it is fed by the River Cauvery. Attapady is a mountain valley that is inhabited by the local tribes and some people from Tamil Nadu. This is an anthropological attraction as tribes like ‘irolas’ and ‘mudugars’ live here. The Malleshwaram peak is located here and there is a huge Shiva Linga that is worshipped by the tribals.
Silent Valley National Park : This is located around 40 kms from Mannarkad in the district of Palakkad. It has an abundance of Wildlife. Rare birds, deer, and tiger occupy this place. This was declared a national park in 1980 and nowhere in the world is such a collection of flora and fauna found. The park has more than 100 butterflies, 400 moths and animals like the Ceylon frog moth, Great Indian hornbill, The Nilgiri Laughing Thrush etc. It also has more than 110 varieties of medicinal plants.
Nelliampathy : This is around 52 kms from Palakkad and is nestled in the poise hills of Nelliampathy. This breathtaking scenic beauty with its brumous mountains and intriguing valleys tea and coffee plantations along with orange and cardamom plantations. This coupled with the green ambience and exotic surroundings make this place very enchanting and exhilarating. There is a waterfall at Seethakundu, which attracts the tourist more. The Nelliyampathy hills have a chain of ridges, which are separated from one another by green valleys and orange plantations. At a height of 467m the Padagiri Mountain, which is the tallest peak, is here. This place is ideal for trekking and the trekkers also have the community hall at Kaikatty to rest. There are a number of hairpin curves on the road leading from Palakkad to Nelliyampathy. The Pothundi Reservoir complements the exquisite beauty that this place is.
The height for the hill varies from 467 metres for the highest peak Padagiri towering to 1572 metres. Nelliyampathy has huge trekking possible. The Kaikatty’s community hall provides a respectable camping ground for the people or trekkers visiting here.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary : This is an absolute storehouse of greenery, which is embalmed between the Annamalai ranges of Tamil Nadu and the Nelliampathy ranges in Kerala. With a variety of trees like teak, neem, sandalwood, and rosewood, the two watchtowers at Annappadi and Zungam add to the beauty. The fauna includes the Bonnet Macauques, Tigers, Cobras sloth bears etc.
Other Tourist Spots :
Chittur Garumadam : This is situated in the Thekkegramam near Arikkode on the banks of the River Sokanasini. This is a memorial to Thunchath Ezuthachan who wrote the “Adhyatma Ramayana” It is said that he spent his last days here. There is a “srichakra” which was worshipped by him and also some idols, a stylus, wooden slippers and some old manuscripts.
Kanjirapuzha : This is situated around 24kms from Palakkad. This is a catchments lake of the dam that is found lying in a single stretch. There is a forest here consisting of evergreen trees. The “Vettilachola” provides the right kind of backdrop to the lake. The hillocks around add to the beauty. This is a mesmerizing spot for the tourist.
Mangalam Dam : Built over the River Mangalam, this dam is a famous picnic spot and is situated around 48 kms from Palakkad. This dam got completed in 1956. It is located on the Alathur - Vadakanchery Highway and is a place filled with the most exotic flora and fauna. The area is beautiful and is a magnificent tourist spot.
Thus, the city of Palakkad not only has beauty and magnificence but also historical grandeur and dignified past tales to tell.
As we leave the place we think “Old is Gold”.