Kettuvallom - Riceboats - Houseboats - romance of kerala backwaters


  

    Hilly, Fertile & Productive  
 

Among the more fertile and thickly forested districts of Kerala, Palakkad, close to the Tamil Nadu border, is supposed to have derived its name from the pala (Alsteria Scholaris) tree and kadu (forest). The whole area is said to have been once covered by pala trees. The district, which lies at the foot of the colossal Western Ghats, has only midland and highland areas. Much of the area is made up of plains, interspersed with a few hillocks. The plains are fertile and productive, so much so that the district is considered the granary of Kerala. Along with Idukki, Palakkad is the other district in Kerala, which has the rare distinguishing characteristic of not having a seacoast. The highland features the great Palakkad Gap, a huge opening nearly 32.2 km wide, which is a break in the Western Ghats. Through this gap hot land-winds rush into the district every January and April. Kerala's longest river Bharathapuzha flows through the district. During the hot season its wide sandy bed is nearly totally dry, except for some miles from its mouth. Being too shallow and rocky for water transport, the Bharathapuzha has little commercial significance, but holds a special place in the cultural psyche of the state.

 

Places to visit

Malampuzha
a scenic spot just a short drive from Palakkad (14 km), is the site of a large irrigation dam built across the Bharathapuzha. The town is set at the base of the hills of the Western Ghats and around the large reservoir are beautiful landscaped rose gardens and amusement parks for children as well as facilities for boat cruises on the reservoir. Illuminated on Saturdays and Sundays, the gardens and the fountains offer a picturesque sight. Also on display in the gardens is Yakshi, a well-known work of art by the illustrious Kerala sculptor Kanai Kunhiraman. Timings: 10 a.m. to 12 noon; 2 p.m. to 6.pm.

Nelliyampathy: 
This fascinating hill station is at a height of 467 to 1572 m above sea level. At least 10 hair pin bends have to be negotiated on the ghat road that passes through the breathtaking evergreen forests of the Sahya Ranges. Seethakundu at Nelliyampathy offers a panoramic view of about one third of Palakkad.

Attappady:
A beautiful synthesis of mountains, rivers and forests, Attappady is of great interest to anthropologists. This is the habitat of many tribes like the Irulars and Mudugas. The Malleeswaran peak is worshipped as a gigantic Sivalinga by the Adivasis who also celebrate the Sivarathri festival with great fervour. A PWD Rest House, a VIP Guest House and a few private hotels offers accommodation at Agali.

Silent Valley National Park: 
This 9000 hectare national park is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forest in the Sahya Ranges. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley forest is that it is devoid of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is only up to Mukkali, nearly 24 km from the park. The rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging with the Bharathapuzha (Nila). There is huge, hollow tree in the park which can hide at least 12 people in it.
Parambikulam: Sprawled across 285 Sq. Km. the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. It is also inhabited by quite a few hill tribes like the Malayars, Kadars and Muthuvans. Boating / cruising facilities are available at the Parambikulam Reservoir. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode offer accommodation. A tree house in the reserved forest area in Thoonakkadavu has to be booked in advance.

Dhoni:
It takes a three hour trek from the base of the Dhoni hills, to reach this reserve forest area with its small, beautiful waterfall. This hill country is the delight of trekkers. The community hall at Kalikatty is used as a camping base for trekkers.

Palakkad Fort: 
The old granite fort situated in the heart of Palakkad town in one of the best preserved in Kerala. It was built by Hider Ali of Mysore in 1766. The fort was taken over and modified by the British in 1790. It is now preserved by the Archeological Survey Of India.

Pothundy: 
Situated on the way to Nelliyampathy, the Pothundy Reservoir Complex is a charming location for picnics and half-day trips.

Thenaruvi:
It is believed as that waters of this natural spring, located in front of the old Sree Rama Temple here are as sacred as the water of the Ganga.

Lakkidi:
Killikkirussimangalam at Lakkidi is the birth place of Kunchan Nambiar, the 18th century satirist and exponent of the Tullal pattu. The poet's house has been preserved as a monument by the State Government.

Kottayi:
This tiny village is the native place of the Late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the doyen of Karnatic Music.


Jain Temple of Jaininedu: 
Situated on the western suburbs of Palakkad town, not far from the railway station this historic 32 feet long 20 feet wide granite temple display images of the Jain Thirthankareas and Yakshinis. The region around the temple is known as Jainmedu, is one of the few places in Kerala where the vestiges of Jainism have survived. It is at a Jain house here that poet Kumaran Asan wrote his monumental poem Veenapoovu (the Fallen Flower).

Thrithala: 
Is noted for its monuments and historic ruins. The Siva temple and the ruins of a mud fort near Thrithala on the Chalissery road are notable cultural monuments. The Kattilmadam temple, a small granite Buddhist monuments on the Patambi-Guruvayoor road is of great archaeological importance. It is believed to date back to the 9th/10th century A.D. The Paakkanaar memorial, honoring the Pariah saint, stands near Thrithala Koottanad road. this is also the native place of renowned writer and social reformer V.T. Bhattathiripad.

Meenkara: 
The picnic spot is the site of a dam acroos the river Gayathri which flows into the bharathapuzha.

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Kerala  Tour Operators 
 Fact Sheet
Population: 2,376,160
Area: 4480 sq km
Altitude: 2133 mt above sea level
Rainfall  240 cm
Climate:  Tropical
Summer Max      Min
35C    21.15C
Winter 34.7C  21.1C 
Season Sep to Feb 
Clothing: Tropical oppressive hot season. Plenty of rainfall during monsoons

Access

Air: 
The nearest airport is Coimbatore, 55 km away. To the south is Kochi Airport, 160 km away and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport 382 km away.

Rail:
Palakkad Junction Railway Station ( 5 km from the city) is a major railhead of the Southern Railways.

Road: 

Palakkad is connected by good motorable roads to all the major towns of Kerala and neighboring Tamil Nadu. There are long-distance KSRTC bus services to Trichur, Guruvayoor, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram. 
 
Local Transport:
Private and KSRTC buses, Yellow-top and tourist taxis, Autorickshaws.

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