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Shubhyatra >> Kerala Yatra >> Palakkad


District : Palakkad
Location : 47 km to the west of Coimbatore
Known As : Palghat, Palakadu
Best Time to Visit : September to April

Palakkad - The Grainary of Kerala

Palakkad Fort - Kerala

To See : Jain Temple – Jainmedu, Tipu's Fort, Vadakkanthara Temple, Manapullikaavu, Kallpathy Agrahara and Vishwanathaswamy Temple, Kumarapuram Temple Enoor Bhagvathy Temple, Thiruvalathoor Shiva Temple.
Most Famous For : Tipu's Fort - Bangalore, Jain Temple.
Don't Miss : Watch Kalapootu Cattle Race held between December and January in Palakkad District.
Must Experience : Walking into the precincts of Tipu's Fort.
Getting Around : Kunchan Smarakom - 32 km, Kottayi – 20 km, Thunchan Gurumadom -15 km, Silent Valley National Park – 65 km.
Getting There : Air - Nearest Airport – Peelamedu Airport, Coimbatore.
Rail - Palghat Station connected to Trivendrum by Amritha and Kerala Expresses.
Road - Palakkad is on N- H – 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari via Coimbatore. N-H-213 links Palakkad to Kozhikode.
Inside Tip : Watch the farmers working in the Paddy fields of Palakkad. But, do not go to the fields yourself as there may be snakes in the fields.
Important Distances : Coimbatore – 47 km, Thrissur – 67 km, Ernakulam – 146 km, Alleppey – 209 km, Kollam – 296 km, Trivendrum – 359 km.
Where to Eat : Noorjehan Hotel – Biryanis, Pathiris, Mutton Curries, Foodies – Crisp Dosas, Appams.
Staying Options : Sri Chakra International, Hotel Indraprastha, Hotel KPM International, Kanoos East Fort Resort, The Fort Palace Hotel, Hotel Gazala.

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You can hear many stories, floating like forgotten feathers above the streets of Palakkad, nudging solitary memories on a rain-washed afternoon. Many a conversations with the grandfathers consist of once-upon-a-time narratives, which usually end up with "what we had than and what we have now" exhalations. Sometimes, when the power disappears in a lonely evening, these stories glow in the light of the lanterns, their radiance overshadowing the debates on the weepy TV soaps, if only for a moment. It's difficult to nail these stories to the crossbar of history, to give them a date or year, for Palakkad is a town where the lines between the past and the present have long been washed away by the tears of memory.

For, it is a town that had rather be a village, it still makes way for chariots during festivals, and beams gloriously when sunlight bathes its golden paddy fields. For it also appears like a town with its air-conditioned restaurants and faux amusement parks, spurting indefatigably, without ever prostrating to the feet of modernity. A holiday vacation in this palm-fringed land will satiate your ears and taste buds simultaneously. For, you will be enveloped with the enticing aroma of the skillfully and flavourfully blended cuisine of Palakkad and your ears will linger the mesmerising beats of the 'panchvadyam', that are alternatively soulful or blissfully joyous.

Flashback of The Past

Many people, many theories. Believe it, how Palakkad (or Palghat, undeniably a British contribution) got its name is still a debatable topic in this trivial town. You might hear that it is connected with the ancient Jain temple in the town: 'Pali' being the sacred language of the Jains, gave the land its name as 'Palighat', which over the years changed to Palakkad. However, the most common belief goes as Palakkad is derived from 'Pala', an indigenous tree which once densely occupied the land, and hence Palakkad or "the forest of Pala trees". The ancient history of Palakkad is obscure. It dates back to the Paleolithic period as several archaic relics have been found in the region. According to William Logan, the author of the Malabar Manual, it was the invasion of Mysore rulers (Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan) that changed the course of history of Palakkad.

Rice Fields at Palakkad
Rice Fields at Palakkad - Kerala

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What You Can See During Your Holiday In Palakkad

Where ever you ought to visit, it is always good to start your sightseeing from Palakkad's arterial Sultanpet Main Road. Palakkad's motif, the Tipu's Fort, is at the southern end of this road. Rising above a tiny hill, this colossal construction, surprisingly, wasn't built to guard the land. It is said that Haider Ali, who constructed the fort in 1766, intended it to improve communication between Palakkad and Coimbatore. Let your kids explore the Children's Park, nestling nearby, and enjoy a pleasant walk on a breezy evening around the voluminous corridors of this mighty castle.

As a placard of the synergy of different religions, the Jain Temple on the banks of Kalpathy River still stands as a sentinel. Said to have been built by Inchanna Satur, a Jain head, about 500 years ago, this shrine affords some exquisite specimens of Dravidian architecture. En route to the Jain Temple, halt for an hour at the Vadakkanthara Temple, preferably in the evening. Dedicated to Bhagvathy, an incarnation of Kannagi, this temple still holds a traditional display of fireworks, that are set off at 6 pm sharp in the temple compound. Make a wish under those thousand shooting stars, that add a glow to the ambiance. Interestingly, locals have been known to set their clocks by this sound.

Plan a vacation trip during the month of November and you can be a part of the colourful Kalpathy Ther, a chariot festival held at the Kalpathy Agrahara and Vishwanathaswamy Temple. Traffic comes to a halt as Kalpathy decks up for the festival with characteristic aplomb. The whole air pulsates with the merriment of the stalls selling baloons and other knickknacks beside the street, and with the pray of the hundreds of devotees who crowd to pay respect.

When in Palakkad, don't forget to visit the agraharams or gramams. Legend traces the setting up of these gramams to a remarkably romantic story. It is the tale of a prince who fell in love with a tribal girl. On being ostracised for his relationship with an 'outcast', he settled up a kingdom with the Tamil Brahmins, which eventually came to be known as the gramams. The 30-35 families who still dwell here have preserved their archaic way of life. In fact, Vedas and shastras are orally passed down from one generation to other. Don't forget to taste the 'devi payasam', 'sukhiyan and the 'kozhukattas', that are as tasty as their shielded culture.

Sing, Dance And Merry During The Festivals

India is a land of colourful festivals. Kerala is her heart and agrarian Palakkad can be rightly referred to as her soul. Nowhere does the merriment reaches acme as they do in Palakkad. You will find people in colourful clothes, wandering on the streets, with no serious buisness, but letting their hearts out through the euphonic passageway of their mouth - singing songs, vocalising hymes or may be yelling at nasty childrens who gather to try their hands on sweetmeats displayed. Plan a vacation tour in December-January, and you can witness the grand event of Kalapootu Cattle Race, held under the aegis of the Cattle Race Club of India. The race is organised at a time when the farmers are relatively free and draws an unbelievable crowd of almost 50,000 every year. Palakkad is the only place where cart races are also held. The enticing show of 120 pairs of cattle cantering through emerald paddy fields surely kicks up a show.

You can also get along with devotees who crowd from four neighbouring villages to participate in the 'Manappullikaavu Vela', held at the 1200-year-old Bhagavathy Temple during November-December. Standing alpine amidst majestic banyan trees and gazing at the Western Ghats, the 'Kaachanamkulam Thirupuraykkal Kannaki' Temple (a real tongue twister, isn't it?) at Moothanthara surely portrays the unique blend of Tamil-Malayali cultures that is so evident in Palakkad. Dedicated to Bhadrakali, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathy, this shrine has a bizarre tradition of honouring the deity with 'raktapushpanjali' (oblation of blood). The ceremony is marked by elaborate devi-pujas and fascinating firework display.

Places Scattered Around Palakkad

Spare some time to visit the birthplace of the famous Malayalam poet Kalakkath Kunjan Nambiar, praised for his invention of traditional dance form, Ottanthullal. You can enjoy special dance performances during the Thunchan Day celebration, held at the auditorium located inside the premises. The place is in Lakkidi on the Palakkad Shoranur Road via Olavakkode. The famous village of Kottayi, situated at 20 km, is the birthplace of the doyen of carnatic music, the late Sri Chembai Vadyanatha Bhagawathar, guru of the eminent singer Yesudas. This is indeed a place to be visited by every visitor because of its musical ambiance.

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Get Going

Many sights, hotels, restaurants, shops and cab services are in the vicinity of Palakkad's arterial Sultanpet Main Road. For any tourist related information, you can contact the DTPC office, situated just west of the Tipu's Fort. The KSRTC bus stand is further west from here, opposite hotel Green Park. Palakkad is on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari via Coimbatore (47 km). Buses will disembark you at the main bus stand if you happen to be coming from Alleppy, Trivandrum, Kollam and Coimbatore. Nearest airport is at Coimbatore and you can catch a taxi from there to reach Palakkad.

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Top 5 Reasons To Visit Palakkad

Tipu's Fort Palakkad

Pleasure of All Your Senses At Palakkad
Visit the enticing land of Palakkad. Walk along the lush paddy fields, visit the ancient temples, let your hair down during the festivals and take the best from the bag of your holiday. Taste the Palakkad delicacies and listen to the euphonic beats of Panchvadyam.

Behold The Fort of Tipu
Wander along the stately ramparts of the fort built by Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan in 1766. Sitting atop a small hill, this colossal fort presents a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape.

Pray Under A Radiant Sky
Visit the Vadakkanthara Temple in Palakkad which is famous for a grand display of sharp at 6 pm. A variety of fireworks lit up dark canopy above Palakkad, which is a lovely scene to behold. Make a wish under those thousand shooting stars, that add a glow to the ambiance.

When The Cattles Run To Win
When in Palakkad for a holiday vacation, don't forget to behold the grand event of Kalapootu Cattle Race, organised by the Cattle Race Club of India. The race is held in January, when the farmers are relatively free and draws an incredible crowd of almost 50,000 every year!

Workout on A Treadmill
In Kerala, traditional treadmills are still used to irrigate the paddy fields. Try your luck with the local farmer and see if you can get to paddle one.

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