Palakkad is set in the foot of the Western Ghats, near Palghat Gap. Due to its location, it has received a moniker ‘Gateway to Kerala’. This town is a launchpad for excursions to some of the picturesque places in the hills of the Western Ghats. Silent Valley National Park, the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is 56 km north of Palakkad. And the pristine hill station of Nelliyampathy, located on the fringes of the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, is 61 km south. Palakkad is also home to an 18th century fort which is popularly known as Tipu’s Fort. Along with the budget hotels and guesthouses, the town also has a few resorts.
Places to See in Palakkad
Silent Valley National Park
Situated in the Nilgiri Hills, Silent Valley National Park forms an important part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Spread over 237.52 sq km, this sanctuary preserves the last substantial stretch of tropical evergreen forest. This park is well-known for its rare plants and herbs. The animals that reside here are tigers, sloth bear, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri langur etc. This park is also home to a rich variety of birds and butterflies. The altitude of the park’s terrain varies mostly from 880 m to 1200 m, but some of the peaks are more than 2200 m high. Forest Department offers guided treks and safaris to several places in this park. They also run a jungle lodge near Mukkali – the gateway to the Silent Valley.
Nelliyampathy (or Nelliampathi)
The slopes around Nelliyampathy are covered with tea and coffee plantations. And the peaks of the hills overlook these plantations as their guarding sentinels. There are a few viewpoints around the village that can offer some splendid vistas of the hills and valleys. The altitude of Nelliyampathy hills range from 467 m to 1572 m. The area around these village has a few resorts and privately managed farms. During your visit don’t miss to visit Seetharkundu and Kesavam Para viewpoints. En route to Nelliyampathy from Palakkad, you can stop at Pothundy Dam.
Malampuzha is a scenic town, 12 km east of Palakkad. Situated in the foothills of Western Ghats, Malampuzha is popular for its dam. It is the largest reservoir in Kerala. There are many walking trails around the town. Around the reservoir are beautiful rose gardens and an amusement park for children.
Palakkad fort is also known as Hanuman Kotta and few people also call it Tipu’s Fort. Haider Ali – father of Tipu Sultan – established this fort in 1766. It is said that some sort of fortification existed over here before the construction of this fort. The present fort is a sombre granite structure, surrounded by a moat. A small bridge leads to the entrance. The control of the fort alternated between Hyder Ali’s family and the British; but finally it came under the latter. Once Zamorin’s troops had also captured it, they controlled it for a short while. Today this fort houses government offices, a sub-jail, and a small shrine.
When to Visit?
Palakkad is the entry point for the northeast monsoon in Kerala. Monsoon hits this state in June and lasts until September. July is generally the wettest month in Palakkad. Winters are moderate and in summer the temperature can be 32 to 35 degrees Celsius. So, the most ideal phase to visit Palakkad is from October to March.
How to Reach?
Rail: Palakkad has a railway station which is well connected with the towns and cities of south India.
Airport: Coimbatore, 68 km northeast, is the nearest airport.
Road: Palakkad is 144 km northeast of Kochi, and 68 km southeast of Coimbatore.
Beauty of Silent Valley National Park is beautifully captured in this 5 min video: