Vaikam house

Alternative holidays in a homestay in Kerala
the greenest, lushest region of India


In this page you will find (click on links to go directly there):
SITES OF NATURAL BEAUTY: Dhoni, Parambikkulam wildlife sanctuary, Nelliyampathi, Silent Valley national park, Attappadi
OTHER NATURE SITES: Mengara, Mangalam dam, Siruvani, Sholayar, Kanjirapuzha dam, Chulanuur peacock sanctuary - J.P.Smrithi Vanam
CULTURAL SITES: Thrithala, Killikkurissimangalam at Lakkidi, Kottayi, Kollengode, Kalpathi Shiva Temple, Peruvemba, Peruvempu, Thunchan Gurumadhom

Malampuzha dam and gardens

Malampuzha, about 10 km from Palakkad, is a famous picnic spot, the biggest dam-garden of Kerala. This is a large irrigation dam built on the river Bharathapuzha at the base of the hills of the Western Ghats. Started in 1949, the dam was commissioned in 1955. The capacity of the dam is 115.06 m (375.15 ft).
Around the dam there are beautifully landscaped gardens, with lush green lawns, well laid-out with flower beds, cool pools, fountains and pathways, a rock garden and rose garden with over a hundred varieties of roses. Udan khatola, an aerial passenger ropeway across the garden, the first of its kind in South India, offers an air journey of 20 minutes at 60 ft. height across the gardens (on one of the 64 two-seater chairs with transparent hoods), giving a delightful panoramic view.

'Yakshi', a concrete sculpture by Kanai Kunhiraman, decorates the garden. A well maintained swimming pool, a fresh water aquarium, a snake park, a children's park with a toy train are also available here. There is also a telescope tower providing a terrestrial view up to 40 miles away.
The dam and garden are illuminated on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. On the other days they are illuminated on request for a fee.
Boating and fishing facilities are available at the dam. One can hire a paddleboat, a rowboat, a water scooter or a motorboat. All with a stunning view of the green mountains surrounding the reservoir.

Frequent bus services from Palakkad (06.00 - 20.00)
Malampuzha gardens
Malampuzha gardens
Malampuzha - the hanging bridge
Malampuzha dam, garden, rope-car

A video showing you what to expect here and ropeway

Malampuzha - the dam
Malampuzha - the bridge
Malampuzha - a view from the bridge
SITES OF NATURAL BEAUTY (Wildlife reserves, sanctuaries etc...)
General info on Kerala's sanctuaries HERE


Dhoni, a reserve forest, 15 kms from Palakkad and 7 kms from the Malampuzha dam, has, among other captivating sights, a small but splendid waterfall, which can be reached after a fairly long climb of 3 hours from the base of the Dhoni Hills.
Dhoni is also famous for its farmhouse, with hundreds of Swiss breed cows in lush green surroundings. For those who are interested in adventure tourism, this is a suitable place for trekking through the jungle teaming with wildlife, with the gleaming view of the water of Malampuzha reservoir all along the way.

The waterfall at Dhoni

Parambikkulam wildlife sanctuary

This reserve is 135 km away from Palakkad, and adjacent to the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. Spread across a vast expanse of 283 sq. km, it is an ideal place for trekking, safari and bird watching. At times one can have a face-to-face encounter with Nilgiri langur, gaur, tiger, leopard, elephant, wild boar, spotted deer, crocodile, cane turtle and so forth.
Several streams originate from the hill ranges and flow down westward to join the river Chalakudi. The terrain is most undulating with a valley in the basin. The Karimala Gopuram is the highest peak (1444m), the average elevation is about 600m.
The Sanctuary receives much heavier rains between June and August. The eastern part of ?the sanctuary receives more rain in October-November. Temperature drops substantially and mist envelopes the sanctuary in the morning hours.
The Sanctuary includes a variety of natural forests: West coast tropical evergreen forests,West Coast semi evergreen forests, South Indian moist deciduous forests, South Indian dry deciduous forests.
Ideally suited to the growth of teak, the tract encouraged large scale teak plantations through artificial regeneration in the early 20's. This was, however abandoned when a full-fledged wildlife department was formed in 1985. 9000ha.of teak plantations in the sanctuary are being managed in such a way as to restore the forest's original status. A giant, old teak tree 40m high and 6.4m in girth, near Thunakadavu is aptly named 'Kannimaram' or Kannimari.
The Sanctuary is a heaven for the ornithologists. The internationally known Dr. Salim Ali has built a ‘bird watching center’ here.
The sanctuary is headed by a Divisional Forest Officer with headquarters at Thunacadavu and is under the direct control of the Field Director, Project Tiger.
How to reach it: The sactuary is only accessible by road, through Pollachi (40 km from Coimbatore and 49 km from Palakkad). Buses from Pollachi to Parambikulam (60 km), are a 2 1/2 hour trip Timings: 6.05 a.m. and 3.20 p.m. The buses return to Pollachi at 8.40 a.m. and 5.45 p.m.respectively. There is also one bus at 11.30 a.m, from Pollachi to Topslip via Parambikulam.
Pollachi has a Railway Station. The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 100 km. away.
Accommodation : The main accommodation centres are at Thunakkadavu, headquarters of the sanctuary (ph : 04253-877223). The Forest department has an Inspection Bungalow and a Tree Top Hut here. The Reservation authority is the Range Officer, Thunakadavu (ph: 04253-877201). At Parambikulam there is a PWD Rest House and an Inspection ?Bungalow (ph: 04253-877201) of Tamil Nadu Government. The reservation authority is the Junior Engineer, Tamilnadu PWD, Parambikulam. More accommodation facility is available at Topslip, headquarters of Anamala Sanctuary. There are two watch towers in the sanctuary. One is at Anappadi, 8 km from Thunakadavu and the other is at Zungam, 5 km from Thunakadavu.
Visitors can have boat rides in the Parambikulam reservoir lake and tour the sanctuary with the help of guides. Trekking in the forest and hill climbing is possible at the sanctuary with the prior permission of the Wildlife Warden, Thunakadavu. BUT DON'T WORRY, we'll be happy to help with all these!

Video of Parambikulam part 1 part 2 part 3

Teak tree

Silent Valley national park

This national park is located on the northeastern corner of Palakkad district, 46 km from Mannarkkad, in an area of about 90 It rises abruptly to the Nilgiri Plateau in the north and overlooks the plains of Mannarkkad in the south. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills above, an altitude of 2000 m, runs through the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through a deep gorge.
The core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the the Silent Valley National Park, with its important, uninterrupted ecological history, is believed to be the sole surviving bit of evergreen forests in the Sahya Ranges. Thanks to its difficult terrain and remoteness, the extent of degradation is minimal in comparison with other sanctuaries. It is one of the shrinking rain forests of Asia, which hosts nearly extinct flora and fauna, declared a national park, and a protected area for tigers.
The tropical evergreen forests occurring within a narrow strip above the equator constitute the richest habitat in terms of species diversity, but also a very fragile one, maybe the most endangered, which has suffered most from human interference. The thick canopy and closely packed tree stumps, permit very little soil erosion, the rains are transformed into perennial streams and rivers, evaporation is much higher and water is rarely scarce. The peculiarity of the Silent Valley Forest is that it is devoid of the chirping of the cicadas –otherwise it is far from silent. Many peninsular mammals can be spotted here like elephant, tiger, wild boar, flying squirrel, including the rare lion tailed macaque that lives only in the Western Ghats of South India.
Birds include rare species such as Indian Black-crested Baza, Bonellis Hawk Eagle, Rufous Bellied Hawk eagle, Shaheen Falcon, Short-Eared Owl, Penisular Scops Owl, Ceylon Frog Mouth, Great Indian Hornbill, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, House Marin, Rufous Bellied-Shortwing, Malay Bitten etc. About 170 species have been recorded, of which 31 are migrants. It harbours about 1000 species of plants, of which 966 species of flowering plants.How to get there: The sanctuary is situated 46 Km. away from Mannarghat From Palakkad there are frequent buses to Mannarghat (40 Km). Mannarghat is connected to Mukkali (24 km) by bus. Bus services from Mannarkad to Mukkali at one hour intervals.
Silent Valley is 18 Km. away from Mukkalli which can be reached by jeep or truck up to a certain way. The rest of the way has to be covered on foot up to the source of Kunthipuzha which flows through the valley before merging into River Brahmaputra.
Transportation from Mukkali to Silent Valley to be arranged through the Forest Department. Contact Wildlife Warden, Mukkali.
Accommodation : At Mannarghat there is a PWD Rest House and the reservation authority is the District Collector, Palakkad.
Video about Silent Valley
A stream in the Silent Valley
The lion-tailed macaque


Nelliyampathi, 52km. from Palakkad town and about nine kms. from Nenmara, adjoins the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary where leopards, elephants, bisons and deers abound. It is an enchanting hill station at an altitude of 4,000 ft. (467 to 1572 m) above sea level, in the midst of the majestic Western Ghats, where mountains and valleys are interspersed with tea, coffee, cardamom and orange plantations. The total area is about 82 sq. kms.
The highest peak in the range is Nellikotta, also called Padagiri, 1585.08 m above sea level. The other major peaks are Vellachimudi, Valiyavana, Mayanmudi and Vela Vanchan, each about 1200 m. high.
The annual average rainfall in the area is 47.244 mm. The temperature varies between 15 C in December and 30 C in April, the mean temperature being 22 C. This hill station, despite its natural beauty and excellent weather conditions, has not yet been exploited much by modern urbanization.
The journey to Nelliampathi itself is an experience. The only route is from Nemmara, from where the first town of Nelliampathi, namely Kaikatty junction, is at a distance of 26 km. At the 9th kilometer is the Pothundi Dam, a small irrigation dam which provides water for the rice fields in the surrounding area. The dam is at the foot of the Nelliampathi hills. From here, starts the government forest, where one can see massive teak trees. The Ghat road winds up through the evergreen forests of the Sahya Ranges for the next 17 km, with breathtaking valley views. This road is very narrow, with many hairpin turns on the way, requiring a skilled driver behind the wheels. On the way, one can see wild animals like monkey, deer and porcupine. The view of the Pothundy dam from the height is a breathtaking sight. There will be many waterfalls ?by the roadside during the rainy season.
A trek through the Nelliyampathi forests may bright to the view groups of bison grazing in their habitat.
Seethakundu offers a fantastic panoramic view of the valley below, and you can see aboutone third of Palakkad. The 1000 m high waterfall is one of the major attractions.
Seethakundu got its name from the legend that Sita Devi, during the vanavasa period with Sri Rama, took a bath here. During Deepavali, a large number of devotees gather here.
Buses from Palakkad to Neliyampathi: 04.30, 05.30, 07.00, 09.30, 12.30, 13.30, 17.00

Video of Nelliyampathi

The road to Nelliyampathi from Nenmara
Nelliyampatthi stream
Nelliyampatthi waterfall


Attapadi, about 60 kms from Palakkad, is a beautiful synthesis of mountains, rivers and forests. Attappadi Reserve Forest is a protected area comprising 249 km² of westernmost part of the 745 km² Attappadi block of Mannarghat Taluk. Attappadi is an extensive ?mountain valley at the headwaters of the Bhavani River nestled below the Nilgiri Hills of ?the Western Ghats. The 249 km² Attappadi Reserve Forest is an informal buffer zone conjoining Silent Valley National Park to the West. 81 km² of this forest was separated to become most of the new 94 km² Bhavani Forest Range which is part of the 147.22 km² Silent Valley Buffer Zone formally approved by the Kerala Cabinet on June 6, 2007. The Cabinet also sanctioned 35 staff to protect the area and two new forest stations in Bhavani range at Anavai and Thudukki. The zone is aimed at checking the illicit cultivation of ganja, poaching and illicit brewing in areas adjacent to Silent Valley and help long-term sustainability of the protected area.
The elevation of Attappati valley ranges from 750-1000 m. The Malleswaram peak rises to 1664 m (5458 ft) from the center of the valley.
There is a Government Goat Farm at Attapadi village which has the "Attapadi Black" breed available.
Attappadi is the home of tribes like the Irulas, Mudugaars and Kurumbars who live in the forest in closely built huts called 'Ooru' (hamlet). There are 171 hamlets in Attapadi. All hamlets are serviced by an effective government health extension program using trained tribal health volunteers.The tribal women of 80 Attapadi hamlets are conducting a vocal campaign against liquor and ganja, which has received public support from the Governor.
In 1970 the State Planning Board assessed Attappati as the most backward block in the state and the first Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) in Kerala was initiated there. Since then, the state government has implemented several special development projects. Many of these projects were not well adapted to traditional adivasi culture and beliefs so about 80 per cent of the tribal population is still living in abject poverty. Attappadi demonstrates how difficult it is for a modern government development process to succeed in a traditional self-sustaining indigenous peoples (adivasi) community. Tribal people are a majority of the Attappadi population but have a high illiteracy rate of 49.5 % and a lack of political and administrative awareness. The majority of project managers ?and new land owners are from other parts of Kerala, Tamilnadu and other states. The Attappadi Comprehensive Environmental Conservation and Wasteland Development Project was established in 1995, with local operations managed from their Agali Headquarters. This project has 2,190 million rupee ($5,000,000) development assistance loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and is implemented by the Attappadi Hills Area Development Society (AHADS), a state government agency. AHADS has made good quantified achievements that will bring long term benefit to the valley.
These Dravidian tribes have been in these forests for ages; they live on forest resources and agriculture, hunting, breeding bees for honey and wax. Their main food is raw millet (chama) and roots as well as meat.
Tribal women seems to have a much greater degree of equality to men than in other parts of India, and instead of the bride's parents having to deprive themselves to give dowry, on the contrary, there is the ancient custom of Pennu Vilai (girl price), where the groom has to give something (or, failing this, work for the bride’s family) until the bride’s parents see it fit to give him their daughter.
They are highly religious. The Malleswaram peak is worshipped as a gigantic Shivalinga by the adivasis who celebrate the Sivarathri festival (in February/ March) there, at the Chemmannur Malleeswaram temple, with great fervour. After observing strict fast, they go to Malleswaram to light and come back to the temple for a 3-4 day religious celebration, during which tribes from all over the forest gather to perform rituals and dances in front of Shiva and Kali and the snake-like temple idol.
An irula woman
A Kurumbar family
A Mudugan tribal making wax
The snake-idol at Mallleeswaram


Panoramic lake and aquariums. 32 km from Palakkad.Mangalam dam

Mangalam dam
Located 48 kms. south of Palakkad town, near the NH47, about 14kms. south of Wadakkancherry village, the Mangalam dam is constructed across Cherukunnappuzha, a tributary of Mangalam river, in picturesque surroundings. Mangalam is mainly occupied by settlers from other parts of Kerala. The reservoir fringes on the forest area where there are deers, wild elephants and a variety of birds. There are beautiful parks and lawns adorned with statues.

Beautiful forest and dam, 25 km from Coimbatore. Siruvani is located about 48 km from Palakkad. The reservoir at Siruvani was built for Tamil Nadu by the Kerala government to meet the drinking water requirements of the Coimbatore. On either side of the road across the dam there are gateways typical of the Kerala and Tamil architectural style. Siruvani is also home to certain tribes like the Mudugars and Irulars.

Tea pickersSholayar
The highest peak in the district, with coffee and tea plantations.

Kanjirapuzha Dam
Kanjirappuzha dam, 24 kms. from Palakkad, is the biggest dam built with soil in Kerala. It feeds almost half the agricultural land of the district and supplies water to such places as Mannrkkad, Ottappalam and Shoranur. The water spread of the dam lies in a single stretch. There is a garden in front of the dam. An evergreen forest, by name 'Vettilachola', is immediately beyond the reservoir which is surrounded by hills and during rainy season, the mountain is covered with mist. There are three islands in the reservoir with plenty of fish (including commercial varieties) grown by the Fisheries Department.

Mayiladumpara Chulanuur peacock sanctuary

Chulanuur, 30kms. away from Palakkad is a grove abounding in peacocks, the only peacock sanctuary in the state of Kerala.

J.P. Smrithi Vanam
Loknayak J.P. Smrithi Vanam and Deer Park, 22 km from Palakkad Town, is situated in 10 acres of reserve forest at Walayar in the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu on the side of National Highway 47. Deers and other animals move freely in this park. Facilities for elephant ride provided.

Meenvallom waterfalls
There are 10 steps of waterfalls at Meenvallom, 37 km from Palakkad. The originating point is Thuppanadu river. The height of the falls varies from 5 to 45 m.


Thrithala , the native place of renowned writer and social reformer V T Bhattathiripad, is known for its monuments and historic ruins as the Siva Temple and the ruins of a mud fort near Thrithala on the Chalissery road. The Kattilmadam Temple, a small granite Buddhist monument from the 9th or 10th century C.E. on the Pattambi-Guruvayoor road, is of great archaeological importance. The Paakkanaar memorial, that honours the Pariah saint, stands by the Thrithala Koottanad road.

Killikkurissimangalam at Lakkidi
The birthplace of the famous 18th century Malayalam satirical poet Kalakkath Kunjan Nambiar,Killikkurissimangalam at Lakkidi praised for his invention of traditional dance form, Ottanthullal. The poet's house has been preserved as a monument by the State Government.
The home of the greatest Koodiyattam maestro and authority of abhinaya Natyacharya Vidushakaratnam, Padma Shri Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar, is also here.
Special dance performances are held during the Thunchan Day celebration, at the auditorium located ?inside. It is on Palakkad Shoranur Road via Olavakkode.

The famous village of Kottayi, 20 km from Palakkad, is the birthplace of the doyen of carnatic music, the late Sri Chembai Vadyanatha Bhagawathar, guru of the eminent singer Yesudas.

Kollengode, meaning“the abode of the blacksmiths”, is a rural place of pristine beauty, located about 19 km from Palakkad. The Kollengode Palace, the Vishnu temple and the poet P. Kunhiraman Nair Memorial are worth visiting, while the nearby Seethakundu and Govindamalai Hills are ideal for trekking.

Kalpathi Shiva Temple
The famous temple on the banks of river Kalpathi, known for the annual car festival held in November.

Well known for its festivals, the Chandabhishegam in December and Peruvemba Vela in April.

Peruvmpu, in Palakkad Taluk, is famous for making leather musical instruments like chenda, maddhalam, thakil,deca, tabala, edakka, thimila, udukku etc.

Thunchan Gurumadhom

thunjan_parambuAcross the lush green fields, two km. from Chittur town on the banks of river Sokanashini, " the destroyer of the sorrows", is Gurumadhom, an old building where Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, considered the father of Malayalam language, lived in the 16th century. It is here that he transcreated the two great Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, for the common people with the subtle and meaningful mingling of Sanskrit and Dravidian stems of the prevailing language and literature, evolving an altogether new texture for the Malayalam language.
As the story goes, Thunchath Ezhuthachan and his disciples, on his way back from a stay in Tamil Nadu, had a stop-over here, but the tranquility of the place made him settle down here for the rest of his life. Occupied by Tamil Brahmins who perhaps are the descendents of the disciples of the Acharya, the gramam still has an old look and on both sides of the building are temples of Sri Rama and Shiva.
The street with long arrays of Agraharams, has loads of antique charm. At the Gurumadhom, are exhibited a Srichakra, a few idols worshipped by him, the stylus, the wooden slippers and a few old manuscripts. On Vijayadasami day the memorial gets the maximum number of visitors, with hundreds of children brought here to write their first alphabet, for a ritualistic initiation into learning.


Palakkad is a place of festivals. These are only a few...

Chinakkathoor Pooram (a famous rural festival of Ottappalam) Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple Palappuram, Palakkad (first days of February)
Pariyanampatta Pooram Pariyanampatta Bhagavathy Temple Kattukulam, Palakkad (around February 20th)
Kalppathy Ratholsavom
a chariot festival held at the Kalpathy Viswanatha Swamy Temple, Palakkad (mid-November). This temple is the oldest Siva temple in Malabar, built around 1425 Kombi Achan, the Raja of Palakkad. The location of the temple and steps leading tothe river remind of the Varanasi temples on the bank of Ganges. The three satellite temples in the village of new Kalpathi, old Kalpathi and Chathapuram also celebrate the festival.
Nenmara Vallangi Vela. Nellikulangara Bhagavathy Temple Nenmara, Palakkad (first days of April) Five villages take part in the festival, famous for its fireworks display.
Chandanakkudam. Pattambi Mosque Palakkad (first days of February)
Ashtami Rohini (Sreekrishna Jayanthi)
The main festival of the Kunnathurmedu Sree Krishna Temple in the centre of Palakkad Town.
Manappullikaavu Vela.
A festival held during November-December at the 1200-year-old Bhagavathy Temple. Standing amidst majestic banyan trees and looking towards the Western Ghats, the Kaachanamkulam Thirupuraykkal Kannaki Temple at Moothanthara is an example of the unique blend of Tamil-Malayali cultures that is so evident in Palakkad. Dedicated to Bhadrakali, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, this shrine has a tradition of honouring the deity with 'raktapushpanjali' (oblation of blood). The ceremony is marked by elaborate devi-pujas and firework display.
Cart race.
In December-January 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.

For general info on Kerala's festivals, go to this page


See more on Ayurveda in the Kerala pages, here. Ayurveda is very much in fashion for Westerners, so beware of tourist scams, with poorly trained practitioners asking for astronomical amounts of money. There are many serious licensed Ayurveda practitioners in and around Palakkad, practicing this ancient art from generations. We can arrange sessions suited to your needs.


Ananda Bhavan - Malampuzha, Palakkad
Ananda Bhavan, a home at Malampuzha in Palakkad district is a registered home for the abandoned children. The Bhavan receives financial help from the state government.
Contact: Ananda Bhavan, Malampuzha, Palakkad-678681; Kerala

Abhayam Pulassery, Palakkad
Abhayam, a project of Social Association for Development, was started in 1988. Abhayam is a voluntary organisation registered under Charitable Societies Registration Act of 1860. The institution functions in a six acre land and its buildings are provided by the trustees of the Association to accommodate the campus activities in Koppam, Vilayur and Malampuzha panchayats. Abhayam has 50 orphaned or destitute or mentally retarded or aged persons as inmates. Contact: Abhayam, Koppam PO, Pulasseri, Palakkad Dist.; Kerala - 679307

Daru Farah Yatheem Khana - Vadakkancherry, Palakkad
Daru Farah Yatheem Khana, situated at Vadakkanchery in Palakkad district, is a unique Muslim organisation. Contact: Daru Farah Yatheem Khana, Vadakkancherry PO, Palakkad; Kerala

Shravanasamsara High School - Palakkad
Shravanasamsara High School situated at West Yakkara in Palakkad district teach deaf students. Registered under Societies Registration Act, the school functions with the help of donations it receives from various organizations.
The school imparts education to 159 deaf students of whom 74 are girls. 98 of them are between the age group of five and ten and the remaining 61 are between 11 and 20 years old.
Contact: Shravanasamsara High School, West Yakkara, Palakkad; Kerala.


Drive to the Nilgiris from Coimbatore

Sitharkund view point, Nelliampathy


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This page was last modified on October 27th, 2011