Palakkad: Trees, Forests and more Forests
The only other place in Kerala that is not blessed with a sea coast, Palakkad could not care less. For it has trees, forests, greenery and the state's longest river Bharathapuzha. Though the river has little commercial significance, it holds a special place in the cultural psyche of the State. Palakkad's plains are so fertile that the whole district is well known as the Granary of Kerala. In addition, the area prides itself as a gateway to the state. The gateway is formed by a natural gap in the Western Ghats and has contributed to the development of the area's culture and commerce.
Palakkad has the famous Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Silent Valley National Park which is home for rare species of birds and animals.
But before you are wooed away by the wildlife, take time off to visit the Palakkad Fort, which dates back to 1766 A.D. Now preserved by the Archeological Survey of India, the fort was built by Haider Ali of Mysore. It was taken over by the British in 1784. Later, the Zamorin's troops seized it from the British. It was recaptured by the British in 1790.
The Kalpathi temple, three km from Palakkad, is famous for its annual 'Ratholsavam' or Chariot Festival, which lasts for seven days. On the last three days, beautifully decorated temple chariots are drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees.
The Malampuzha Garden, around 10 km away from Palakkad, has been developed into a picnic spot with gardens. There is a dam nearby. Killikkurissimangalam in Lakkidi, 30 km away from the city, is the birthplace of the 18th century poet Kunchan Nambiar. The poet's house has been preserved as a monument by the State Government. The forests surrounding Palakkad deserve more than a visit. The Nelliyampathy hills, 75 km from Palakkad, comprise valleys of dense evergreen forests and orange plantations. The route to Nelliymapathy is not for the weak of heart for there are over a dozen hairpin bends although the jungle scenery is fascinating. En route, 17 km from Palakkad, the shimmering Pothundi Reservoir and its manicured surroundings make for an ideal stop over. The Nelliyampathy hills are ideal for trekking.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, 110 km from Palakkad, has some rare wild animals like the gaur (bison), sambar, spotted deer, jungle cat, lion-tailed macaque, common otter, sloth bear as well as a few tigers and leopards. The Silent Valley National Park, not very far away is unique for its silence. Though elephants, tigers, wild dogs, flying squirrels and the lion-tailed macaques are found here, the sanctuary is devoid of even noises made by insects.
Reaching Palakkad: The nearest airport is Coimbatore, 55 km away in Tamil Nadu. However, Kerala's own Cochin Airport is 160 km away. Palakkad Junction is the main railway station and is only five km from the city. There are good motorable roads connecting Palakkad with important cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
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