Palakkad

Tipu's FortFor years, Palakkad has been the gateway to Kerala tourism. It has provided access to the coast for conquerors and traders from the hinterland through what is known as the Palakkad Gap, a  40 km break in an otherwise unbroken wall of high mountains.Understandably,the region is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, art and music, and is known for its truly eclectic spirits.

A largely agrarian society in which people continue to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers.Palakkad’s reputation as the granary of Kerala is borne out by its undulating paddy fields which stretch for miles. Silent Valley, Kerala’s most famous forest, is located in Palakkad and remains largely untouched. Making an eloquent case for the preservation of nature in its purest form. Malampuzha Garden is a famous picnic spot in Palakkad district.Muthalamada is the biggest centre of mango production in the country and the fruit varieties are the first to reach global markets much before the mangoes mature in the gardens of the competitors, chiefly Peru and Venezuela.

For details of Palakkad District , see the web page http://halokerala.com/picnic-spots/palakkad/

SIGHTS

Tipu’s Fort

Tipu's Fort located in the heart of present day Palakkad, this rather well preserved fort was built by Hyder Ali in 1766 ostensibly to facilitate communication between both sides of the Western Ghats. In reality however Hyder Ali and his son Tipu, wished to establish their suzerainty over Kerala.

The fort changed hands when the British captured it, after an 11 day siege, in 1784.Althoguh it was later taken by the troops of the Kozhikode Zamorin, it was recaptured by the British in 1790.Tipu Sultan, on the other hand was not one to give up easily, but his repeated encounters with the British cost him his life. The fort then came to be known by his name.

Jain Temple

This shrine is 1,500 years old and was buit by two diamond traders from Karnataka..The first Jains – the Shettys, gave the temple its name ‘Jainamedu’,a term still in use. The presiding deity is Chandraprabha, the eighth Thirthankara.A notable feature is the statue of the kshetrapalan, the guardian.Today, the temple is in a state of disrepair.

Varahamoorthi Kshetram

There is an interesting legend that explains why this ancient temple has been left incomplete. The expert carpenter, Perumthachan, one of the sons of the legendary Vararuchi,is credited with beginning its construction after being asked to built to rival those in heaven. This, so the story goes, made Lord Indra jealous and he set about disrupting the work. Every day, after Perumthachan completed his day’s labour, Lord Indra would come down and change some minute measurements, which in turn, would affect work the next day. This went on for months until an exasperated Perumthachan finally gave up, ending his career as a carpenter.

Perumthachan is also known to have cast a curse so that the work would forever remain incomplete. To this day, his measuring scale and axe lie inserted in the wall of the temple, which stands with unfinished structure and pillar.

Mayiladumpara Sanctuary

Mayiladumpara is about 28 km south of Palakkad, at Neduungathpara,a right turn leads into a wooded terrain, which is peacock country. This extensive forest has been home to the birds for a very long time. Tentative estimate put the number of peacocks at around 200.

Although sightings are rather infrequent during the day, local say that peacocks are often sighted at dawn and dusk. Not bounded by any fence or gate, the sanctuary allows free access.

Trithala

Trithala, located about 8 km west of Pattambi on the Pattambi – Kuttipuram road, was chiefly a trading centre. It was also the karma bhumi of the children of Vararunchi, the famous sage. It is in this historical temple town that the sage Agnihotri conducted the 99 yagnas that made even Lord Indra envious. The Agnihotri ilam (ancestral house) attracts a lot of visitors.The legendary writter and Jnanpith winner M.T Vasudevan Nair's birth place Kudallur can be easily accessed from Trithala.

Meenvallam

This 25 feet height waterfalls is 8 kms away from Thuppanad Junction.Amoong the 10 steps of waterfalls only tow can be accessed and the others remaining in dense forest. A mini hydel project is also here.Kollandikodan Hills a major spot on the tourism map of Kerala.

Choolannur Ayyappa Scred Grove

Choolannur Peafowl SanctuarySacred groves, locally known as kavu, are forest patches conserved by the local people. These groves linked to their rich biodiversity and play a significant role in its conservation. The groves are distributed over a wide ecosystem and help in conservation of rare and endemic species of flora, fauna and avifauna.

Choolannur Ayyappa Sacred Grove is located 30 kilometers away from Palakkad town. The grove is surrounded on all sides by lush green paddy fields. The entire landscape is considers as sacred and any damage to the vegetation nearby is considered as a sin by the village folk. The backdrop of the grove is a vast mountain range, which provides a good ambience for photography. A large number of distinct local art forms and folk traditions are associated with this sacred grove. The surroundings of the grove attract a wide variety of birds and butter flies.

K.K.Neelakandan Memorial Peafowl Sanctaury,popularly as Choolannur peafowl sanctuary, is located very close to the grove and is an exclusive one formed for the protection of peacocks in Kerala. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 500 hectares of reserve forest in the Peringottukurissi Panchayath. In Palakkad district and Malesamangalam in Thrissur district. This sanctuary has a population of more than 200 peacocks and is under the administration of Peechi Wildlife division. The sanctuary also has a garden of plants associated with every birth stars.

Apart from being an amazing spot for photography and videography, walking through the pathways of paddy fields to enjoy the fresh air will be a unique experience. There is chance to spot peacocks and peahens flying and running through the paddy field.

Sacred groves are vanishing at a fast pace in Kerala and there has been reduction in their number and size over the last few years. Most of the sacred groves are seen disappearing due to inevitable factors like animal grazing and human interference. The groves are often associated with ponds and streams and meet water requirements of local communities. The groves located near the settlements are disappearing at a faster rate and only a few sacred groves are in their pristine condition. Implementing rural tourism initiatives will help conserve them. Alappuzha is the district with the largest number of sacred groves in Kerala.Iringole sacred grove near Perumbavoor is one of the biggest

Though Choolannur Sacred Grove is not a biodiversity hotspot, the lush greenery and fertile lands around make it conducive for agriculture and an ideal spot for the development and promotion of rural tourism..

Dhoni: (15 km from Palakkad)

It takes a three hour trek from the base of the Dhoni Hills to reach this reserve forest area with its small, beautiful waterfall.Kanjirapuzha Dam  is another tourist attraction near Dhoni.

Varikkasseri Mana

Yes It is Varikkasseri - The Magnificent marvelous structure which speaks volumes of past glory in present tense that is Varikkassery Mana at Manisseri near Ottapalam in Palakkad district.

Vaniyamkulam

Vaniyamkulam Cattle MarketLivestock plays an important role in rural life which hugely depends on farming.Catlle market is a spot where traders gather to buy and sell livestock. The historical Vaniyamkulam Market near Ottappalam in Palakkad district is one such prominent cattle market in Kerala.

The history of Vaniyamkulam market dates back to the regime of Cheraman Perumals.The weekly Thursday market, where even elephants were traded, attracted traders and people from near and far regions. The livestock, including buffaloes, ox and cows, mainly arrives from Tamil Nadu and several regions in Palakkad and Thrissur.By Wednesday night traders bring their livestock to the market in big trucks. The next day, the market becomes alive on the wee hours with bustling sounds and sights.

Intermediaries link the buyers and the sellers and are paid commission, locally known as poruthu.Earlier, the cattle are mainly purchased for farming activities, but now, it is for meat purposes. Sales worth several lakhs of rupees happen in the market every week. By afternoon,the market becomes empty. The other prominent cattle markers are at Kuzhalmandam and Perumbilavu.

During festival seasons, the age old cattle market generates record business worth crores.In the Malayalam mega hit Mammootty starrer Valyettan, a special reference has been made on Vaniyamkulam cattle market. Visit this marker on Thursday morning and experience the trading scenes.

Vaniyamkulam is well connected by road with the towns of Palakkad, Ottapalam and Shoranur

Getting There

By Air : The nearest airport is at Coimbatore.60 km.Cochin International Airport (120 Kms),Nedumbassery.Phone : 0484 2610115.Calicut International Airport.Phone : 0483 2719491.

By Rail : The nearest railhead is Palakkad station, well connected to all cities. Palakkad Junction Railway Station, an important railhead in Southern Railway, is well connected with the major towns in and outside Kerala by an extensive rail network (5 km away from the city).A journey in the Amrita Express through the scenic train route of Palakkad to Pollachi offered a memorable experience.Railway enquiry – 139, 1397.

By Road : Palakkad in on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari through Coimbatore. The KSRTC station is on Shoranur Road and has buses to all major towns in Kerala.Palakkad is connected by road with several tourist centres and cities in India. Long distance buses and interstate buses operate from the KSRTC Bus Station. Phone : 0491 2520098.

Where to Stay

For details of hotels and resorts in Palakkad, see accommodation listing on http://halokerala.com/hotels/palakkad/

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Published on 14/10/2015

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