Along with Idukki, Palakkad is the other district in Kerala which has the rare distinguishing characteristic of not having a sea coast. Kerala's longest river Bharathapuzha flows through the district. The Bharathapuzha has little commercial significance but holds a special place in the cultural psyche of the State. The present Palakkad district as an administrative unit was formed on the first of January 1957.
Palakkad in Kerala has the famous Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. The area is also perfect for trekking. Other wildlife sanctuary in the region include the Silent Valley National Park which has store of birds and animals.
Air : The nearest airport is Coimbatore, 55 km. away. To the south is Cochin Airport, 16Okm. away.
Rail :There are two railway stations, the main, Palakkad Junction is 5 km from the city.
Road : Palakkad is connected by good motorable roads to all the major towns of Kerala and the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.
Places of Interest :
Palakkad Fort : The Palakkad Fort dates back to 1766 A.D., the fort is well preserved. It was built by Haider Ali of Mysore, supposedly to facilitate communication between Coimbatore and the West Coast. In 1784 after a siege lasting eleven days, the British Colonel, Fullerton stormed the Fort. It later fell into the hands of the Zamorin's troops but was recaptured by the British in 1790. It is now preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Nelliyampathy : A forest range 75 km from Palakkad, the Nelliyampathy hills comprise a chain of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dense evergreen forests and orange plantations. The height of the hills range from 467 mt to the tallest peak Padagiri looming at 1572 mt.
Accessing Nelliyampathy from Palakkad is hair-raising in itself with over a dozen hairpin curves on the ghat road passing through the fascinating jungles of the Sahya Ranges. En route, 17 km from Palakkad, the shimmering Pothundi Reservoir and its manicured surroundings make for an ideal stop over. This hill country is the delight of trekkers.
Malampuzha Garden : 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. Situated at a distance of 10 km from Palakkad.
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 by the State Government. Located at a distance of 30 km from Palakkad.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary : Parambikulam is endowed with luxuriant vegetation. Sprawled across 285 sq. km, and is 110 km from Palakkad. The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rare wild animals. It has one of the largest population of gaur (bison), sambar, spotted deer, jungle cat, lion-tailed macaque, common otter, sloth bear etc. are also seen. There are also a few tigers and leopards
Facilities for boarding and lodging are available at the sanctuary. There are forest rest houses at Thunacadavu, Thellikkal and Elathode. Motor transport and boat cruise can be arranged on request.
Silent Valley National Park (40 km northwest of Mannarkad) : The 89.52 sq. km national park is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forests in the Sahya Ranges. An amazing factor of the Silent Valley forest is that it is devoid even of the chirping of cicadas. Elephants, tigers, wild dog, flying squirrel and lion-tailed macaque are found here. Situated at a distance of 40 km northwest of Mannarkad.
Vehicular traffic is allowed upto Mukkali from Mannarghat. From Mukkali one has to cover at least 24 km on foot to reach the source of river Kuntipuzha, which flows through the valley. Admission to this part is restricted. Prior permission is required to visit the park.
Kalpathi temple : The Vishwanatha Swamy shrine, the oldest Shiva temple is situated 3 km from Palakkad. The annual chariot temple is a gala event. The annual 'Ratholsavam' or Chariot Festival at Sree Viswanantha Swamy temple lasts for seven days.
On the last three days, beautifully decorated temple chariots are ceremoniously drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees whose soul stirring chants rent the air.
Huge crowds of people and millions of hands try to reach out to be one of the privileged to have the honour of pulling the chariots, as they proceed in stately grandeur.