‘Palghat' or 'Palakkad' is the land of palmyras and paddy fields. Along with Kuttanad in Alappuzha district, Palakkad is one of the chief granaries of Kerala. It is often called the 'Gateway of Kerala'. The Sahya Ranges bordering the region and the 20-mile gap in the Western Ghats Mountains exert a dominant influence on the climate of the region. Many rivers that flow into the Bharathapuzha originate from these mountains. In the past, this land was known as Palakkattusseri. Etymologists trace the word Palakkadu from Paalainilam, meaning dry area. Palakkad has a long history dating back to the Paleolithic period. A large number of megalithic relics have been discovered from here.
Palakkad Fort, situated in the very heart of the town, is the most beautiful and the best preserved fort of Kerala. The sober silence of the granite walls reminds us of old tales of valour and courage. It was constructed in 1766 by Hyder Ali of Mysore. In 1790 the fort was taken over and re-modified by the British. At present, the fort is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, which is 130 km away from Palakkad, extends over an area of 285 sq. km. It offers a scintillating sight of wild animals. There are quite a few hill tribes here like Malayars, Kadas and Muthuvaans. Boat cruises can be arranged in the Parambikulam reservoir. The rest house of State Forest Department at Thoonakadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer comfortable lodging facilities. Tree house in the Reserve forest area in Thoonakkadavu has to be booked in advance.
A temple of Siva and the ruins of a mud fort near Thrithala- Chalissery Road are notable cultural monuments. The Kattilmadam temple on the Pattambi- Guruvayoor road has archaeological significance. The small granite structure is a testament of Buddhist importance, built probably during the 9th or 10th century A.D. A memorial for Pakkanar the pariah saint stands near the Thrithala- Kootanad road. Renowned writer and social worker V. T. Bhattathiripad was born here.
Killikurissimangalam of Lakkidi near Ottapalam is renowned as the birthplace of Kunchan Nambiar, the 18th century satirist and trendsetter in Tullal and its poetry. Nambiar's house is a protected monument of the State Government. The Sri Rama Temple at Thiruvilwamala, though located in the neighbouring district, is just on the other side of the river.
Kottayi is about 15 km via Putur from Palakkad. The tiny village had become famous as the native place of the late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the doyen of Carnatic music.
The Nelliyampathy hills are extremely fascinating and offer an easy escape from the scorching summer of Palakkad. About 52 km south of Nenmara is this cool hill resort. The height of the hills range from 467m to 1572m. We have to negotiate at least 10 hairpin curves on the Ghat road passing though breathtaking evergreen forests of the Sahya Ranges. Pothundi Reservoir glints in the distance as a sapphire set amidst the green of the forests. Nelliyampathy has immense trekking potential. At Kaikatty, there is a community hall which could be used as a camping place for trekkers. Seethakundu at Nelliyampathy offers a fantastic view of the valley below - a wide angled panoramic picture of about one third of Palakkad.
Malampuzha exudes the charm of harmony in nature, a perfect synchronization of the grandeur of the mountains blending with the music of the rivers. It is 10 km from Palakkad. The garden complex at Malampuzha draws the largest holiday and weekend crowds to Palakkad. The children's park with a toy train, a miniature zoo and an aquarium housed inside a fish shaped building await the pleasure and delight of children. There is a swimming pool and facilities for boating in the canal and in the reservoir. A small garden in Japanese style, gives a touch of exotic charm to the landscape. So too does the hanging bridge across the canal. The only ropeway in south India is another attraction of Malampuzha garden. The ropeway is equipped with 64 chairs each with the capacity of two persons. Other items of interest in the park are the imposing concrete sculpture of Yakshi, the divine enchantress, by the renowned sculptor, Kanayi Kunhiraman.
Jain Temple of Jainimedu
Situated on the western border of Palakkad town and not far from the railway station, is a historic Jain Temple. The place around the temple is known as Jainimedu. This is one of the few places in Kerala where the vestiges of Jainism have survived without substantial damages. The granite walls are devoid of decoration. The 32 feet long 20 feet broad temple consists of four divisions with images of Jain Thirthankaras and Yakshinis in three of them. Kumaran Asan wrote his monumental poem 'Veena Poovu' (the fallen flower) at a Jain house here during his brief stay with his master Sree Narayana Guru.
Attappady is about 38 km northeast of Mannarkkad. Above everything else, one will be awestruck by the captivating forests, rivers and mountains. It is also a place of great interest to anthropologists as tribal communities like the Irulas and Mudugas inhabit here. These adivasis worship the mountain peak Malleswaran as a gigantic Siv-Ling. This peak and the River Bhavani exert tremendous influence on the lives of the tribal. There is a PWD rest house and a VIP guest house at Agali. Besides these government houses, there are also a few private hotels. 'Shivaratri' is celebrated at the Malleswaran temple by the tribal.
Silent Valley National Park
Silent Valley is about 50 km northwest of Mannarkkad. Ecologists describe this area as the sole surviving bit of evergreen forest in the Sahya Ranges. This national park covering about nine thousand hectares has been named Silent Valley because it is devoid of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transportation is usually allowed only upto Mukkali. From Mukkali you have to cover at least 24 km on foot to reach the source of Kunthipuzha, which flows through the valley before merging into the Bharathapuzha or the 'Nila'.
Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the author of Adhyatma Ramayana and the father figure of Malayalam poetry, spent his last days here. Situated in Tekkegrama near Anikkode on the Palakkad-Chittur Road is his memorial. A srichakra and few idols worshipped by him, the stylus, the wooden slippers and few old manuscripts are exhibited here. The village is located on the banks of the River Sokanasini the destroyer of sorrows.
A natural spring in front of the old Sree Rama Temple has made Thenari famous. The name itself is derived from the spring. Several legends are woven around this spring. It is believed that the water is as sacred as Ganga.
Well known as a grove abounding in peacocks, the name is perfectly justified. Myladumpara is 7 km from Kottayi. Its other but less popular name in Choolanoor.
Dhoni a reserve forest area, about 15 km from Palakkad. This forest has among other captivating sights a small but splendid waterfall. The site can be reached after a fairly long climb of three hours from the base of the Dhoni hills.
Source: IT Department, Government of Kerala