Palakkad, also known as Palghat (Malayalam :പാലക്കാട് Tamil: பாலக்காடு)(anglicized), is a town and a municipality in the state of Kerala in southern India. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District. Palakkad lies near the Palghat Gap, a pass or natural depression through the Western Ghats ranges that run parallel to the west coast of India, and connects Kerala to the plains of the state of Tamil Nadu to the east. The people of Palakkad speaks Malayalam and Tamil is understood in border areas close to Tamilnadu.
The ancient history of Palakkad is shrouded. According to William Logan, the author of the Malabar Manual, the Pallava dynasty of Kanchi might have invaded Malabar in the second or third centuary. One of their head quarters was a place called Palakada which could be the present –day Palakkad. Malabar had been invaded by many of the ancient South Indian rulers. For many centuries, it was ruled by the Perumals. They had under them some powerful Utayavars who held authority in their own respective territories. After the rule of the Perumals, the country was divided among these chieftans. The valluvakkonathiri (ruler of Valluvanad), the rulers of Vengunad (Kollengodu Rajas) andf Sekhari Varma ( Raja of Palakkad) were the prominent rulers of this region, after the Perumals.
When the Zamorin of Kozhikode invaded Palakkad in 1757, the raja of Palakkad sought the help of Hyder Ali of Mysore. Hyder Ali's help forced the Zamorin to retreat. Later Hyder Ali subjugated all territories in Palakkad which were under the possession of Zamorin. Thus the whole area possessed by the Raja of Palakkad passed into the hands of the Mysore rulers – Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan. The war between Tippu and the East India Company ended with the treaty of 1872 and all the possessions of Tippu in Malabar were ceded to the British. Gradually these formed part of the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency.
Places of Interst:
The old granite fort situated in the very heart of Palakkad town is one of the best preserved in Kerala. It was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1766. The fort was taken over and modified by the British in 1790. It is now preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Malampuzha Garden (10 km from Palakkad)
This famous picnic spot which comprises a dam and beautifully landscaped gardens, is situated on the lower hills of the Western Ghats. There are frequent buses to this place from Palakkad.
Fantasy Park:(1400 - 2100 hrs on week days and 1100 - 2100 hrs on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays) . Ph: 815122 815124 Entrance fee: Adults Rs. 20 Children Rs. 10. Separate charges for rides and computer games. Block tickets: Adults Rs. 80 Children Rs. 60
Pothundy(45 km from Palakkad): Situated on the way to Nelliampathy, the Pothundy Reservoir Complex is a charming location for picnics and half-day trips.
Thiruvalathoor (10 km from Palakkad) : The ancient temple here has some fine wood work and stone sculptures.
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.
Kottayi :(15 km via Poodur from Palakkad) : This tiny village is the native place of the late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, the doyen of Carnatic music.
Kollengode (19 km south of Palakkad) : Kollengode or the abode of blacksmiths enshrines the pristine beauty of rural Palakkad. The Kollengode Palace, the Vishnu Temple and the poet P. Kunhiraman Nair Memorial are worth visiting. Seethakundu and Govindamalai hills near Kaachankurichi are ideal for adventurous trekkers.
Lakkidi (30 km from Palakkad) : Killikkurissimangalam at Lakkidi is the birthplace of Kunchan Nambiar, the 18th century satirist and exponent of the Tullal (classical art form). The poet's house has been preserved as a monument by the State Government.
Meenkara(32 km from Palakkad) : This picnic spot is the site of a dam across the river Gayathri which flows into the Bharathapuzha.
Ottappalam(35 km from Palakkad): The town is known for its numerous places of worship and their colourful festivals. Durga Temple the Pooram at Chenakkathur the Nercha festival commemorating the Aulia.
Thrithala (75 km from Palakkad): This place 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 monument on the Pattambi-Guruvayoor road, is of great archaeological importance. It is believed to date back to the 9th/10th century AD. The Paakkanaar memorial, honouring the Pariah saint, stands near Thrithala Koottanad road. This is also the native place of renowned writer and social reformer VT Bhattathiripad.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (110 km from Palakkad): Sprawled across 285 sq. km, the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. Boating/cruising facilities are available at the Parambikulam Reservoir. The Rest Houses of the State Forest Department at Thoonakkadavu, Thellikkal and Anappady offer accommodation. A tree house in the reserve forest area in Thoonakkadavu has to be booked in advance. The oldest teak tree, kannimari is found here.
Siruvani (46 km north of Mannarkad and 48 km from Palakkad): The reservoir at Siruvani was built for Tamil Nadu by the Kerala Government to meet the drinking water requirements of Coimbatore. The gateways on either side of the road across the dam are typical of the Kerala and Tamil architectural styles. Siruvani is also home to certain tribals like the Mudugars and Irulars. Festivals/Art forms
Kalpathi Ratholsavam: Annual chariot festival at Viswanatha Temple (November )
Vela at Manappulli Kavu: Annual festival at the Bhagavathy Temple (March)
Kanniyarkali: An art form exclusive to the Nair community of the district of Palakkad,
Kanniyarkali is performed in temples as well as Nair centres (March/April)
Nenmara Vallengy Vela: Annual festival at the Bhagavathy Temple at Nellikkulangara near Nenmara, on the Pooram day of the Malayalam month of Meenam (February/March). Highlight: Fireworks displays
Pavakkoothu: This shadow play is performed at the Bhagavathy temples of Palakkad (March/April)
Kaalapoottu: This exciting ox race is an agrarian sport held in the Malayalam month of Makaram (January).
Konganpada of Chittur: Annual festival of ritual drama at the Chittur Kavu Bhagavathy temple (February /March)
Pattambi Nercha: The festival is conducted in memory of Aloor Valia Pookkunjikoya Thangal, noted Muslim saint of South Malabar (January - February)