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Palakkad, which lies at the foot of the Western Ghats, the dreamy land of misty monuments with its ever green tropical forests, dams, wild life sanctuaries, rivers, rare birds and animals, historical monuments, places of worship and traditional Ayurvedic treatment centres, has tremendous scope and immense potential to become one of the best tourist destinations in the country.The district is gifted with the beauty of virgin and verdant Nelliampathy hills,the precious and unique Silent Valley National Park, the famous Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Attappady hills and more than half a dozen dams like Malampuzha, Mangalam, Pothundi, Kanjirapuzha, Siruvani and Parambikulam..

 
     
 

Nelliampathy : Nelliampathy Hills are extremely fascinating and offer an easy escape from the soorching summer of Palakkad.About 75 kms from Palakkad is this cool hill resort. The height of the hills ranges from 467 metres to 1572 metres.It has immense trekking potential.Seethargundu, at Nelliampathy offers a fantastic view of the valley below, a wide angled panoramic picture of about one third of Palakkad, beautiful and resembling the Green Valley of Kodaikanal.The total area is about 82 sq.kms.The highest peak in the range is Nellikotta, also called Padagiri.It is 1585.08 metres above sea level.The other major peaks are Vellachimudi, Valiyavana,Mayanmudi and Vela Vanchan, each about 1200 metres high. The annual average rainfall in the area is 4.244 mm.The temperature varies between 15’ C in December and 30C in April, the mean temperature being 22’C.The Pothundi reservoir glints in the distance like sapphire in a sea of emerald.The 1000 metre high waterfall is one of the major attractions. Seethargundu got its name from the legend that Sita Devi, during the vanavasa period with Sri Rama, took a bath here.During Deepavali, a large number of devotees gather here.

 
     
 

Malampuzha : Malampuzha Garden is the Vrindavan of Kerala.Malampuzha exudes the charm of the harmony of nature a perfect synchronization of the grandeur of the mountains blending with the serenely of rivers. It is 12 kms from Palakkad.There are lush green lawns, Innumerable flower beds glittering pools, fountains and avenues.There is a fresh water aquarium.A snake park and a children’s park with a toy train, which await the pleasure and delight of children.The reservoir is ideal for boating and fishing.The Garden House has a unit of water ports.A small garden in the Japanese style gives a touch of exotic charm to the landscape. So does the hanging bridge across the river.Another items of interest in the part is the imposing concrete sculpture of YAKSHI, done by the renowned Kanai Kunhiraman. The Passenger ROPEWAY, the first of its kind in South India, offers adventurous and delightful air journey of 20minutes across the gardens, giving a soul string view of the gardens, the distant hills that kiss the heavens and the blue strip of the reservoir. There is a ROAD TRAIN for amusement ride on wheels.In the vast expanse of the Malampuzha Garden and its visinity.. There is a TELESCOPIC TOWER in the garden providing a terrestrial view upto 40 miles.The first ROCKGARDEN emerged from the Master creator Padmashree Nek Chand of Chandigarh, in South India is at Malampuzha.Modeled after AppuGhar of Delhi and Essel World of Bombay the first Amusement Park of Kerala named FANTASYPARK is at Malampuzha.The Park has modern thrilling Rides over 8 acres plot landscaped beautifully with Garden and Fountains.

 
     
  Pothundy : Pothundy is 38 kms south of Palakkad town.An irrigation project was commissioned here in 1968 with an estimated cost of Rs.234.25 lakhs, consisting of an earthen dam with a spillway section across the tributaries of AyalureRiver.Its 10 kms right bank canal ad 8 kms left bank canal irrigate an area of 5465 hectares in Chittur and Alathur Taluks.The project also provides water supply to Nemmara and Ayalure Villages.  
     
 

Ottappalam : This was the centre of political as well as tenant movements in South Malabar of the erstwhile Malabar province of Madras Presidency.The festival at Chathan Kandar Kavu is very famous one in Ottappalam.The legend goes that the temple was built by the local Kanjoor Namboodiri family at a place where a scheduled caste person called Chathan found a stone bleeding while he was sharpening his knife on it. The deity of this templeis Durga.The annual festival is Talapolli which is celebrated on Avitam day n Meenam. Nercha festival in the Ottappalam mosque attracts the local Muslims in large numbers.It is said that a saintly person by name Uthaman Auliya had lived and dies at this place.An annual festival is held at this mosque on his death anniversary.

 
     
 

SilentValley : The SilentValley National Park, with an area of 90 sq.kms, is situated in the north eastern corner of the district.It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri Plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south.The river Kundhi descends from the Nilgiri hills above, a altitude of 2000 meters traverses the entire length of the valleys and rushes down to the plains through a deep gorge.River Kunthi never turns brown, it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.The SilentValley National Park, is probably one of the most magnificent gift of nature to mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all its pristine glory with an almost unbroken ecological history.Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness the extent of degradation is minimum comparison with other sanctuaries. There is a huge wild tree of Kattualying variety.It is hollow within and can hide at least 12 people in it.

 
     
 

Mangalam : Located 48 kms south of Palakkad town, Mangalam is mainly occupied by settlers from other parts of the State.Mangalam dam is located near the NH 47 about 14 kms. South of Vadakkencherry village.The dam is constructed across Cherukunnapuzha a tributary of MangalamRiver.It is located in picturesque surroundings.The reservoir fringes on the forest area where there are deer, wild elephants and a variety of birds.There are beautiful parks and lawns adorned with statues.

 
     
 

Siruvani : The Siruvani Project is in Sholayur Panchayath.The dam constructed across the River Siruvani, is for supplying drinking water to Coimbatore Corporation of Tamilnadu. The dam is surrounded by reserve forests.The distance from Edakkurissi to Siruvani Dam is 22 kms.The scenic beauty of Siruvani is simply enchanting.Muthikulam hill is situated on the eastern side of the dam.There is a natural water fall in the hill.

 
     
 

Meenkara : Meenkara Chulliar is a fascinating spot by virtue of the dam, garden, fish ponds and natural beauty.It is 32 kms.south east of PalakkadTown.This Dam is built in the river Gayathri which flows into Bharathapuzha.

 
     
 

Dhoni : Dhoni is a reserve forest area, 15 kms from Palakkad town.The forest has among other captivating signs, a small but spendid waterfall.The site can be reached after a fairly long climb of 3 hours from the base of Dhoni Hills.

 
     
 

Parambikulam : Parambikulam wild life sanctuary extends over an area of 280 sq.kms.It is 110 kmsaway from Palakkad via. Pollachi.The oldest and highest teak tree “Kannimari Teak”is situated here.Three Dams were constructed on the hill top.They are Paruvarippallom,Thunakadavu, and Parambikulam. for the irrigation of Pollachi Taluk of Tamilnadu and Chittur Taluk of Palakkad District.It is the place which is famous for teak plantations.Boat cruises is provided in the Parambikulam Reservoir.The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thunakadavu, Thellikkal and Elanthode and a tree house in Thoonakkadavu offer lodging facilities.The Giant Kannimari Teak and the wild animals in the forest area are a sight to dream of.

 
     
 

Kanjirapuzha : Kanjirapuzha Dam is situated about 38 kms. from Palakkad.The water spread of the dam lies in a single stretch.An evergreen forest, by name ‘Vettilachola’ is immediately beyond the reservoir which is surrounded by hills and during rainy season, the mountain will be covered with mist.All this makes the area extremely beautiful and picturesque. There are three islands in the reservoir with plenty of fish (including commercial varieties) grown by the Fisheries Department.

 
     
 

J.P.Smrithi Vanam : Loknayak J.P.Smrithi Vanam and Deer Park is in an extent of 100 acres of reserve forest at Walayar in the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu on theside of N.H.47. Deers and other animals move freely in this park.Facilities for elephant ride is provided.The distance from Palakkad town is 22 kms.

 
     
 

Mayiladumpara – Peacock Sanctuary : Myladumpara Choolannur Peacock Sanctuary is 30 kms. away from Palakkad.It is well known as a grove abounding in Peacocks.

 
     
 

Palakkad Fort : Palakkad Fort, situated in the PalakkadTown, is the most beautiful and best preserved forts in Karala.The sober silence of the granite wall reminds the old tales of valour and courage.It was constructed in 1766 by Hyder Ali of Mysore andhis son Tippu Sulthan.In 1790 the fort was taken over and re-modified by the British East India Company. The fort is protected by the Archeological Survey of India. Martyr’s Column, Open Air Auditorium called “Rappadi” and Tourism Information Centre of District Tourism Promotion Council are there in the spacious Fort Maidan.The Children’s Part and ‘VATIKA’ are just on the side of the Fort.The fort was situated in the middle of Palakkad Gap with an area of 15 acres.

 
     
 

Kottayi : It is 15 kms away from Palakkad. Kottayi is the native place of the Late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the doyen of Karnatic Music.

 
     
 

Mennvallom : There are 10steps of Water falls at Meenvallom, the originating point of ThuppanaduRiver.The height of the falls varies from5 to 45 metres.The distance from Palakkad is 37 kms.

 
     
 

Attappadi : Attappady is a tribalabode.Irular, Mudugar and Kurumbar are the main tribal groups.They live in forest in closely built huts called ‘Ooru’ (hamlets)Government have constructed someconcreteprogrammestoupliftthetribals.The Intensive Tribal Development Project,Attappady implementing the tribal development schemes.

 
     
 

Thunchan Gurumadom : Across the lush green fields, two kms. from ChitturTown on the banks of river Sokanasini an old building where Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, regarded as the father of Malayalam Language, lived in the 16th Century.People call it Gurumadom and it is here that he translated the two great Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha, for the common people.At the Gurumadomone Srichakra and a few idols worshipped by himthe stylus the wooden slippers (Padukom) and a few old manuscripts are exhibited.It is on Vijayadasami day that the memorial gets the maximum number of visitors with hundreds of children brought here for a ritualistic initiation into learning.

 
     
 

Kunchan Smarakom : Kalakkathu Kunchan Nambiar represents an age and its culture in the field of Malayalam literature.He was the native of Killikkurissimangalam in Palakkad.Now, the Kunchan Smarakom is a national monument and is being governed by a Committee appointed by the Government.A three year course on Ottan Thullal, Seethankan Thullal and Parayan Thullal was started with the help of artists attached to this monuments.Every year May 5this celebrated as Thunchan Day.A library and an Auditorium are attached to this monuments.

 
     
 

There are so many other tourist centres are also here. Important of them are Sree RamaTemple and the Spring at Thenari, the KattilmadomTemple, Ruins of a mud fort near Chalisseryetc..

 
     
 

FOLK ARTS

 
     
 
Kanniyarkali is exclusively a Nair Art confirmed to the district of Palakkad.This is directly connected with the Karnaki Cult of South India.
 
     
 
Pavakkoothu is also known as Tholpavakoothu.This shadow play proclaims Palakkad’s indebtedness toKamba Ramayanam and its Tamil literacy culture.
 
     
 
Cattle Race (Kala Poottu) is an enthusiastic rural sports.A pair of Oxen are raced at a time through ploughed fields with water.Kalavandiyottam and Cattle Race are also a kind of sports of the season.This Agricultural sports is held in the Malayalam month of Makaram in Palakkad District.
 
     
     
     
 

ECOTOURISM IN PALAKKAD

 
     
  (1)SILENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK  
     
 
The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Silent Valley National Park is probably one of the most magnificent gifts of nature of mankind, a unique preserve of tropical rain forests in all the pristine glorywith an almost unbrokenecological history.Thanks largely to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries.
 
     
 
Sairandhri Vanam, meaning the forest in the valley as referred to in the Mahabharatha and the River Kunthi give a mythological dimension to the National Park.The SilentValley is seldom silent but it has an inexplicably unique about it, what with the dense forest, the music of the birds and as quiet majesty.
 
     
 
With an area of close to 90 sq. kms. The park is situated in the5 north-eastern corner of the Palakkad District.It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south.The river Kundhidescendsfrom the Nilgiri hills above an altitude of 2000 m. and traverses the entire length of the valley finally rushing down to the plains through a deep gorge.River Kunthinever turns brown, it is crystal clear, perennial and wild.
 
     
 

Flora.The forests belong to the biogeophical class of the Malabar rain forests and harbor about 1000 species of plants.The flowering plants here include 966 species belonging to 134 families and 599 genera.The dicotyledons are 701 in number, distributed among 113 families and 430 genera, monocotyledons are 265 distributed among 21 families and 139 genera.The 5 dominant families recorded from SilentValley are in three varieties.

 
     
 
Fauna. The valley has a fair representation of all peninsular mammals.They are lion-tailed macaque, Niliri languor, boned macaque, tiger, leopard (panther), leopard cat, jingle cat, fishing cat, common palm civet, small Indian civet, brown palm civet, ruddy mongoose, stripe necked mongoose, wild dogs, sloth bear, other flying squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel, Indian pangolin (scaly anteater), porcupine, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer barking deer, mouse deer, gaur and elephant.
 
     
 
Birds include rare species such as Indian black-crested baza, bondles hawk eagle, rufous bellied hawk eagle, shaheen falcon, short eared owl, peninsular scope owl, Ceylon frog mouth, great Indian hornbill, Nilgiri laughing thrush, house martin, rufous belliedshortwing, Malay bittern etc., About 170 species have been recorded of which 31 are migrants.The fauna include a number of possible new species, a few very primitive animal groups, notably Ceaciliansand some rare small mammals such as the Peshwa’sbat and heavy winged bat.Butterflies and moths are varied and plenty.There are more than 100 species of butterflies and 400 species of moths.Quite a few of them are extremely rare ad endemic.
 
     
 
The SilentValley is a veritable treasure house-a gene pool of tropical flora and fauna.This has to be protected from human depredation cherished for all times to come.Tropical evergreen forests occurring within a narrow strip above the equator is perhaps the most endangerednatural habitat,Extremely fraggle, it has suffered most from human interaction .In species diversity habitat and has developed in areas of the heaviest rain fall.That there is very little soil erosion and that the rains are transformed into perennial streams and rivers may be attributed to thick canopy and closely packed tree stumps.In fact scarcity of water is rarely felt.The evapotranspiration from these forests is much higher than from any other f\surface.This cools theatmosphere helping easy condensation of water vapor.This is the origin of the much-awaited summer rains.Wild fires lead to abrupt changes in the eco system degrading the forest.When the Britishers entered the SilentValley more than a century ago, these forests were untouched and extended enormously on all sides.They named it the SilentValley because there were no cycads then.Todayhowever, true evergreen forests untouched by man is only a dream. Unlike in most other sanctuaries viewing the wild animals in this park is quite difficult because of the thick vegetation.
 
     
  2. PARAMBIKULAM WILDLIFE SANCTUARY.  
     
 

Tucked away in the valley between the AnamalaiRanges of Tamil Nadu and the NelliampathyRanges of Kerala on the majestic Western Ghats is the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, a fine example of serene, tranquil and undisturbed eco system. Situated in Palakkad district, it was originally a small tract of reserve forest of 48 sq.kms. However, owing to growing wildlife needs, it was expanded in 1962, and today it is a vast expanse of greenery of 285 sq.kms in area.

 
     
 

Ideally suited to the growth of teak, the tract encouraged large scale teak plantations through artificial regeneration in the early 20’s. this was, however, abandoned when a full-fledged Wildlife department was formed in 1985. 9000 ha of teak plantations in the sanctuary are being managed in such a way as to restore the forest’s original status. A giant teak tree 40m high and 6.4m in girth is a standing monument of the past aptly named ‘Kannimaram’.

 
     
 

Topography. Several streams originate from the hill ranges and flow down westward to join the river Chalakudi. The terrain is most undulating with a valley in the basin. The karimala Gopuram is the highest peak (1444m). The average elevation is about 600m.

 
     
 

Climate.The sanctuary receives much heavier rains between June and August. The eastern part of the sanctuary receives more rain in October-November. Temperature drops substantially and mist envelopes the sanctuary in the morning hours.

 
     
 

Dams and Lakes. Three dams have been built by the Tamil Nadu Government under the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project. The reservoir harbours several kinds of aquatic fauna.

 
     
  Forest types. Natural forests are classified as follows;  
     
  1. West coast tropical evergreen forests.  
     
  2. West coast semi evergreen forests.  
     
  3. South Indian moist deciduous forests.  
     
  4. South Indian dry deciduous forests.  
     
  5. Moist bamboo brakes.  
     
  6. Reed brakes.  
     
  Tropical Evergreen Forests. (Area 50 sq.kms approximately)  
     
 
A wide variety of treesgrow here. The top canopy consists of Pali, Punna, Nangu, Vediplavu, Kalpine, Aini, Kambakam, Vellapine, Vellagil, Pathiri, Nedunar, etc.
 
     
  Lower canopy predominantly consists of Vetti, Kara, Nasagam, Marotti, Kurukutti, Cheru, Mullialvu etc. Undergrowth comprises Antidesma, Calamus, Glycosmis, Lxora species, etc.  
     
  Semi-Evergreen Forests. (extent 30 sq kms)  
     
  Both evergreen and moist deciduous species are found in these areas.  
     
  Moist deciduous forests. (extent 70 kms)  
     
 
Top Canopy : Manjakadambu, Vaka, Pala, Elavu, Vembu, Rosewood, Aval, Venteak, Venga, Teak, Maruthi, Pathiri, etc.
 
     
 
Lower Canopy: Arampuli, Pezhu, Konna, Kodapunna, Murukku, Kanjiram, Bamboos, etc.
 
     
  Southern Dry Deciduous Forests. (extent 15 sq.kms)  
     
 

Top Canopy: Teak, Vengal, Muzhukanjiram, Maruthi, Vaka, Mulluvenga, Rosewood, etc.

 
     
 

Middle & Lower Canopy : Veppu (Neem) Manja-nathi Sandal, etc. with moi-stpatches of Dendrocala – mus and Bamboosa arun – dinacea.Undergrowth is chiefly at Lantana and Heli – cteres besides grass.

 
     
 

Fauna – Mammals : Bonnet macaque, Liontailed macaque, Nilgiri llangur, Lions, Tiger, Leopard, Jungle cat , Civet, Mongoose, Fox, bear, Elephant, Gaur, Nilgiri Tahr, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking deer, Wild boar, Pangolin etc.

 
     
  Reptiles , Fishes , Birds etc.  
     
 

Administration : The Sanctuary is headed by a Divisional Forest Officer with headquarters at Thunacadavu and is under the direct control of the Field Director, Project Tiger.There are four ranges with 13 sections.

 
     
 

The sanctuary is accessible by road, Buses ply between Pollachi and Parambikulam.Pollachi is 60 kms away and has a Railway Station.The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 100 kms away .Visitors can have boat rides in the Parambikulam lake and tour the sanctuary with the help of guides.There is a forestrest houseat Thunacadavu. The Parambikulam Project also provides accommodation.There are several hotels in Pollachi and Coimbatore.

 
     
     
     
  ARTS AND CULTURE.  
     
 
Palakkad District has a glorious cultural tradition.It is saidthat Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, father of Malayalam Literature spent his last days in Chittur (Thunchathu Acharya Gurumadom) Kunchan Nambiar the founder of Thullal, the most popular Poet ofMalayalam had his birth in a small village called Killikurissimangalam (Lakkidi) in this district.Mani Madhava Chakkiar for Koothu and Vazhenkada Kunjhu Nair for Kathakali are two famous names to be remembered in this context.The district has become blessed with the birth of Sri. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavather, the exponent of Carnatic Music and Sri. Palakkad Moni Iyyer the inimitable master of Mridangam.Sri. C.Sankaran Nair belongs to Mankara is also in this district.The great modern poet of Malayalam Literature Mahakavi Kumaranassan wrote his famous poetry “Veena Poovu” at Palakkad.The Life and growth of modern literary men M/s. P.Kunhiraman Nair, Olappamanna Subrahmanian Namboothirippad, M.T.Vasudevan Nair, O.V.Vijayan are intimately connected with Palakkad.
 
     
 
The eminent personalities of the district are late K.P.S.Menon and .K.P.Kesava Menon, Swadesabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai spent his life in exile at Vadakkenthara near Palakkad town. The Ex.Chief Election Commissioner Sri. T.N.Seshan is also belongs to Thirunellayi Village of Palakkad Town. The President of India HH K.R.Narayanan first entered in Parliament from Ottappalam Parliament Constituency of Palakkad District.The first Communist Chief Minister Sri. E.M. Sankaran Nampoothiripad belongs to Elamkulathu Mana in Palakkad District..Simillarlya number of Politicians are from this district gave their service to the nation.
 
     
     
     
  FAIRS AND FESTIVALS  
       
  1.

Kalpathy Cart Festival : It is celebrated at Kalpathy Viswanatha SwamiTemple, which is the oldest Temple in Malabar.It was built in A.D.1425 by H.H.Kombi Achan, the then Raja of Palakkad.The Retholsavam was celebrated during the last three days of Alpasi (Thulam)There are four chariots in this Grammoms.The centre of attraction of the festival is Kalpathy, Tamil Brahmin’s Village. (see the chapter Kalpathy Car Festival)

 
     
  2.

Chittur Konganpada : Konganpada is a grand festival of historical importance, celebrated in the Bhagavathy temple at Chittur, ten kilometres from PalakkadTown.It is held every year on the first Monday after the new moon night in Kumbhom (February-March), to commemorate the victory of Nairs of Chittur over the military of Konganadu (Coimbatore) led by the Chola King, Rajadhi Raja. The festival starts with “Chilambu” on Sivarathri in Kumbhom which reminds Kongan’s (Chola Kings) declaration of war and the frightened people worshipping Bhagavathy and beseaching her help

 
       
  3.

Jain Festival : There is an ancient Jain temple at Jainmedu, near Palakkad town.According to a legend, one sutar (head of the Jains) built this temple 500 years ago for the Jain sage.Chandranathaswamy.The Jains who came here from Mysore fled from this place during the invasion of Tippu Sulthan.

 
       
  4.

Nemmara Vallenghy Vela.(Nellikulangara Vela) : To invoke the blessingsof Nellikulangara Bhagavathy, the people of Vallenghy and Nenmara conduct a festival on 20th Meenam (March-April) every year.This is the famous Nemmara Vallanghy Vela.This beautiful temple is in the Vallenghy Village of Chittur Taluk.The flag hoisting ceremony in connection with the vela is held jointly by the residents of Vallenghy and Nemmara on 9th Meenam.On all days following the flag hoisting till the eve of the vela,Kummatti, Karivela,Andivela and similar other folk rituals are performed.These three ceremonies together are known as Kanyar.The pomp and splendeour of the festival would put it in second place, perhaps only to the Pooram festival of Thrissur.

 
       
  5.

Ottappalam Nercha Festival : Juma prayers are held in Ottappalam mosque on Fridays.To commemorate the death anniversary of a saintly person by name Uthman Auliya, an annual festival is held in January-February.The special feature of this festival is the grand procession which ceremoniously brings various things such as rice, coconuts etc. to the mosque as offerings.On the next day, a feast is held where the various articles received will be cooked and distributed to the poor.

 
       
  6. Sivarathri Festival at Kallekulangara : The festival is conducted for nine days and ends withan arattof the Diety Hemambika in KalpathyRiver.The festival is celebrated in the Kallekulangara BhagavathyTemple,at Akathethara.  
       
  7.

Manappulikavu Vela : The important festival of Manappullikavu at Yakkara is the annual Vela.

 
       
  8.

Aratt Festival in KachanamkurichyTemple : Kachanamkurichy temple is an important Vishnu temple. The Arrat festival here in the month of May attracts many people.

 
       
  9.

Navarathri festival in Pallavur Siva Temple : Amavasi Festival in Trippallur Siva Temple, Pooram festival in Kongad Bhagavathy temple and Retholsavam at Kodumba Subrahmanya Temple are some of the important festivals which attracts a large number of devotees.Mahamakom is also held in the Kodumbu temple once in twelve years.

 
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