Healing at Kairali
Might be the one of the top places this part of Kerala is known for. Kerala is famous world over for its Panchkarma Ayurvedic treatment and Kairali is perhaps the best one to stimulate your senses. Be at Kairali to relax, revive and rejuvenate yourself. Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village is a perfect retreat for the discerning traveler and Ayurvedic followers. This idyllic getaway has won several awards, the most recent being declared as one of the World’s Top 50 Wellness Destinations by none other than National Geographic and among the top 10 in Asia. Two years before it also received the World Luxury Spa Awards. The name Kairali is derived from Malayalam word for Kerala. Founded in 1989, Kairali using the ancient form of Ayurveda as its only means, established itself as the pioneer in promoting Ayurvedic Treatment Centres, Hospitals and Resorts, both in India and overseas. Kairali Healing Village has 30 cottages and 28 of them are named to different zodiac signs. Each cottage has its own unique design.
What for: Even if you have don't have a specific problem to take care of, just go for a Rejuvenation and Detoxification package. A shirodhara or a abhyangam will definitely pump you up.
Where: Kairali Healing Village is located 12 kms from Palakkad town at Olassery. Coimbatore in Tamilnadu is the nearest airport just 60 kms away. Palakkad also has railway link to Coimbatore.
Peace at Silent Valley
Silent Valley National Park is believed to be the sole surviving piece of evergreen forests in the Sahya ranges. The park is one of the last undisturbed tracts of South Western Ghats mountain rain forests.The peculiarity of the Silent Valley forests is that it is devoid even of the chirping of cicadas. Vehicular transport is possible only up to Mukkali, nearly 24 km from the park. Rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha river which flows through the valley before merging into the Bharathapuzha (Nila). Located in Nilgiri Hills the Silent Valley is the largest national park in Kerala. The area in this national park was historically explored in 1847 by the botanist Robert Wight, and is associated with Hindu legend. The area is locally known as "Sairandhrivanam" literally, in Malayalam: Sairandhri's Forest. In local Hindu legend, Sairandhri is Draupadi, wife of the five Pandavas. Silent Valley is home to the largest population of lion-tailed macaques, an endangered species of primate. Birdlife International lists 16 bird species in Silent Valley as threatened or restricted. Perhaps, nowhere else can one find such a representative collection of Western Ghats biodiversity - more than 1000 species of flowering plants which include about 110 species of orchids, more than 34 species of mammals, about 200 species of butterflies, 400 species of moths, 128 species of beetles of which 10 are new to science, about 150 species of birds including almost all the 16 endemic birds of southern India.The flora of the valley include 108 species of orchids, 100 ferns and fern allies, 200 liverworts, 75 lichens and about 200 algae. A majority of these plants are endemic to the Western Ghats. There are at least 34 species of mammals at Silent Valley including the threatened lion-tailed macaque, Niligiri langur, Malabar giant squirrel, Nilgiri tahr, Peshwa’s bat (Myotis peshwa) and hairy-winged bat. There are nine species of bats, rats and mice.
How: Coimbatore in Tamilnadu is the nearest airport about 91 kms from park, while Palakkad is the nearest railway station about 60 kms from Park. From Palakkad, go to Mannarkkad, and from there to Mukkali. Both places are well connected by private buses. If you are planning to stay at Mukkali, reserve rooms in advance at the Forest dept resthouse. Or else you can stay at Mannarkkad and hire a jeep to reach Mukkali. The entry point of the road to the park is Mukkali. From Mukkali, it takes a 30 km jeep ride to get into the actual entry point of the park. Tourists are not allowed to stay in the valley. They must come back to Mukkali by evening. Entry into the valley is allowed only from 8AM to 2PM.
Nelliyampathy- Queen of Palakkad hills
Nestled atop the colossal Western Ghats, with a beauty of its own, are the cool hills of Nelliyampathy. Beautiful misty mountains give Nelliyampathy the name ‘Queen of the Palakkad Hills’. From the town of Nenmara in Palakkad district, the cloud-caressed peaks of the majestic Nelliyampathy hill ranges are a sight to behold. The height of the hills ranges from 467 m to 1572 m. These hills comprise a chain of ridges that are interspersed with valleys of orange plantations and evergreen forests. The Pothundy Dam is a picturesque locale with facilities for boating and is a nice option as a picnic place. As the Ghat road winds its way up to Nelliyampathy, at certain places there are viewpoints from where the vast stretches of Palakkad district are visible with its extensive paddy fields forming a verdant carpet. It also offers a splendid view of the Palakkad Gap, which is a geographical phenomenon in the Western Ghats formation in this region, bringing into view, parts of the adjoining State of Tamilnadu.On the way up, those interested in bio farming can take a close look at the privately managed farms and also vast expanses of tea and coffee estates managed by different plantation companies. The hills of Nelliyampathy are also well known for its orange cultivation. The revitalising climate and emerald magic of nature presents an exhilarating experience to every tourist visiting this place.
How: Nearest railway stations are Palakkad, about 56 km and Thrissur & Shoranur, about 77 km. To reach Nelliyampathy, one has to take the road starting from Nenmara town in Palakkad district that proceeds to the Pothundy Dam. There are about 10 hairpin bends that have to be negotiated on the way to Nelliyampathy.
Roar of wild at Parambikulam
Spread over an area of 285 kilometres of lush green Anna Malai Hills, this undulating landscape of the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary provides the perfect setting for wildlife to thrive in its fullest form. Several rivers drain the rocky terrain also lending a mystical touch to the Sanctuary. With thick covers of Bamboo, Rosewood, and Sandalwood trees, comes varied wildlife. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is the most protected ecological piece of Anamalai sub unit of Western Ghats, surrounded on all sides by protected areas and sanctuaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the sanctuary is endowed with a peninsular flora and fauna which are excellently conserved due to total protection and minimal human interferences. The sanctuary being a major ecological continuum from Peechhi to Eravikulam through Anamalai aids the large viable populations of wildlife. It is the home ground for different races of indigenous people who are as well an integral part of the prevailing harmonious ecosystem. The thick, opulent habitat of the sanctuary with ample water supplys make it an abode for wildlife and there by for tourist who can have treasured memories of animal sightings and that of being in the lap of mother nature. Trekking in the forest is allowed with prior permission and only if accompanied by an experienced forest guide.
How: The sanctuary is situated in the Chittur taluk of Palakkad district. Surrounding the sanctuary are Pollachi and Valparai taluks of Coimbatore district in the state of Tamil Nadu and Thrissur and Mukundapuram taluks of Thrissur district of Kerala. The sanctuary is approachable only by road and is 95km from Palakkad (Kerala state) and about 100km away from Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu state). The nearest town is Pollachi (Tamil Nadu), which is 39km away. Various options to stay in and around sanctuary.
Slice of Tipu’s history
Situated right in heart of Palakkad town, this well preserved Fort, which dates back to 1766 A.D., was built by Haider Ali of Mysore and later renovated by Tippu Sultan. The Palakkad Fort is said to have existed from very ancient times, but believed to be constructed in present form in 1766 A.D, but little is known of its early history. The oldest Hanuman temple is also situated in the same compound. There is a large ground between the Fort and the Palakkad Town hall, known as Kota Maidanam (Fort Grounds). The ground, which had once served as a stable for the elephants and horses of Tipu's army, is now used to stage cricket matches, exhibitions and public meetings. An open air auditorium called "Rappadi", currently under the preservation of the Archaeological Survey of India, is also located within the spacious grounds of the Fort. Additionally, there is a children's park on one side of the Fort. The Palakkad Special Sub Jail is also located within the fort. There is also a small museum inside.
Beauty of Malampuzha
Malampuzha dam is situated about 10 km from Palakkad and it is one of the main picnic spots here. The Malampuzha dam is built across Malampuzha, a tributary of river Nila and the project was commissioned in 1955. The well manicured lawns of the Malampuzha garden adjacent to the dam provide entertainment facilities to relax and rejuvenate one’s spirits. Apart from the well laid out flower beds, pools, fountains and pathways, the garden is famous for its aerial ropeway said to first of its kind in South India. A trip through the aerial ropeway will give you a panoramic view of the dam and the garden. The rock garden as well as the rose garden with more than 100 varieties is sure to attract you. A fresh water aquarium and a children’s park are part of the garden and boating facilities too are available. One of the major highlights here is the concrete sculpture of Yakshi (celestial maiden) made by the renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman.
Kunchan Nambiar’s Lakkidi
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. Kunchan Nambiar spent his early childhood at Killikkurussimangalam, his boyhood at Kudamalur and youth at Ambalappuzha. In 1748 he moved to the court of King Marttanda Varma of Travancore Kingdom and later to the court of his successor Dharma Raja. He had already written several of his works before leaving Aluva. Scholars like Mani Madhava Chakyar have the opinion that he and the Sanskrit poet Rama Pānivāda are the same.The Sri Vilwadrinatha Temple (at Tiruvilvanala), which is located in the neighbouring Thrissur district, is just on the other side of the river. Lakkidi Perur is a small village in Ottapalam Taluk of Palakkad. It is located 23 KM west on the Palakkad - Ponnani Road. The nearest town is Ottapam, which is 10 KM away.
Ruins of Thrithala
This place is known for its monuments and the historic ruins of the mud fort near Thrithala on the Chalissery road. The Kattilmandam Temple, a small granite Buddhist monument on the Pattambi Guruvayoor road is believed to date back to 9th/10th century AD. The Paakkanaar memorial honouring the Pariah saint stands the Thrithala Koottanad Road. This is also the native place of renowned writer and social reformer V.T. Bhattathiripad. The village is located along the banks of Bharathapuzha and is famed for its Shiva temple. The Siva temple, probably built during the 9th and 10th century, marks the transition from the Chola to the Pandya style of architecture. The deity in temple is known as 'Thalathilappan', meaning God in a plate. The idol is said to have the constitution of sand. It is believed that the sharp bend in the river in the area was formed due to the river changing its course on its own, to give space for the temple to be built.The legend of 'Parayi petta panthirukulam' is centred on Thrithala.
How: Nearest rail head is Pattambi, about 19 km from Thrithala, while nearest airport is Coimbatore in neighbouring State of Tamilnadu, about 55 km from Palakkad town.
Beauty of Siruvani at the border
The reservoir at Siruvani was built for Tamilnadu 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. The dam is surrounded by reserve forests. Muthikulam hill is situated on the eastern side of the dam. There is a natural waterfall in the hill. The waterfalls and the Dam are big tourist attractions. The famous 150 year old Pattiyar Bungalow is on the banks of the Siruvani Reservoir. Water from Siruvani River is renowned for its taste and mineral properties, and the view from the falls and the dam is a great tourist attraction.The sweetness has been attributed to the vegetation and rocks through which the water flows through in the Attapaddi area. Siruvani is also home to certain tribals like the Mudugars and the Irulars. Mudguard indigenous people live mostly in the Attappadi village. They are known for their distinct culture and rituals.
How: SIruvani is 46 kms north of Mannarkad and 48 km from Palakkad.
Peacocks of Mayiladumpara
Peacocks of MayiladumparaLast but not the least, Mayiladumpara grove takes its name from the large number of peacocks (mayli) found here which can be often seen at dawn or dusk. An ornithologists favourite and India’s National Bird, now has a sanctuary for itself at a government sanctuary ‘Choolanoor’. About 200 peacocks inhabit the extensive forests of the Mayiladumpara Sanctuary at Nedungathpara near Palakkad. A right turn from Nedungathpara will lead you to these woodlands that is home to hundreds of peacocks. While you’re on the winding road, bordered by tall trees and scattered rocks, which leads to this peacock country, you will be able to hear the piercing squawks of these beautiful creatures. The dance of these free, wild birds during overcast days is breathtaking. There is a forest outpost five kilometres inside the sanctuary. Not bound by gates, the sanctuary which has been home to peacocks since ages, allows free access to visitors.
How: The sanctuary is located about 30 kms from Palakkad town. It is accessible by road and a trek by foot of about one hour.