(Last Updated on : 17/08/2012)
The Palghat town is situated almost on the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Palghat town is now known more as 'Palakkad'. The Palghat town is located between the Nilgiri Hills (north) and the Anaimalai Hills (south) and is about 32 km wide. It is said that the names 'Palghat' and 'Palakkad' derived from the words 'pala' (name of a flower tree) and 'kadu' (forest). It indicates that the area was previously roofed with forest of these trees. Being in the border of the two states Palghat town has a mixed culture mainly in case of its cuisines, marriage and the festival rituals.
According to the 2001 census, the population of Palghat town was 130,736 of which males consisted 49% of the population. The average literacy rate of Palghat town is 81%, which is much more than the national average of 59.5%.
The Palghat town is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad district of Kerala. It lies near the Palghat gap, which is a pass through the Western Ghats ranges that run parallel to the west coast of India, and connects Kerala to the plains of the state of Tamil Nadu to the east. The local language of the inhabitants of Palghat town is Malayalam but they also speak Tamil since it is near the Tamil Nadu border. Palghat is the place, where the magnificent Western Ghats Mountains break into two, thus creating the 'Palghat Pass', the only 'corridor' between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The modern town of Palghat takes up a portion of this pass and there are many residential and commercial buildings there. There is a huge fort in the centre of the town named the 'Palghat Fort'. The local people calls the fort by the name 'Tipu Fort' since his father Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore built this. It was built in 1766 but later the British Colonel Fullerton captured it and modified the fort. Later, the Zamorin's troops took up the fort but British recaptured it in 1970. Now, there is a functioning jail in the fort grounds. The local people say that there is a secret subway from the fort to Mysore. The fort was built by strong granite blocks to make it tough. The Archaeological Survey of India now looks after the 'Palghat Fort'. The best panoramic view of the Western Ghats and its mountains can be enjoyed from the top of the fort in the late afternoon.
In Palghat town, there is a large irrigation dam named Malampuzha on the river Bharathapuzha at the base of the hills of the Western Ghats. There is also a garden near the dam named Malampuzha dam garden, which is easily accessible from Palghat town. This place has amusement park for children and boating facilities, which makes it a tourist's attraction point. The paddy fields of Palghat are also very eye soothing.
There is a historic Jain temple of Jainimedu on the western border of Palghat town, which is very close to the railway station. The surrounding area of the temple is called as Jainimedu. It is one of the places of Kerala, where Jainism has survived without much damage. The granite wall of the temple has no decoration. This 32 feet long and 20 feet wide temple has four divisions. The three divisions have images of Jain Thirthankaras and Yakshinis.
While in Palghat town, one can visit to the nearest Wildlife sanctuary 'The Parambikulam', which is 135 km from here and near near the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The Parambikulam Sanctuary covers an area of 285 km square. The visitors can have the close sight of elephants, wild boar, sambar, bison, guar, crocodiles, and a few tigers and panthers. Apart from these, the rich diversity of flora and fauna are must watch for the visitors. With a prior permission from the forest authorities, one can go for trekking also. The boating facility can be enjoyed at any time.
There is a Silent Valley National Park situated 80 km from Palghat, which is a dense rain forest. This is a protected area for the tigers and home for the local tribal people. It is more popularly known as the evergreen forest and is well known for the rare Lion-tailed Macaque.
The 'Ooty of Kerala', Nelliyampathi is a hill station, which is about 80 km from Palghat town. It has a series of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dark evergreen forests.
The visitors of Nelliyampathi Hills can find Pothundy Dam on their way, which is only 35 km from Palghat town. This place is mostly used by the tourists to relax and to enjoy the beauty of the dam.
The highest peak of the Palkkad or Palghat is Anamudi, which has coffee and tea plantations. This is also a site for tourist's visit. There is a natural tunnel of 15 meters long named 'The Punarjani Guha' is another place of interest for the visitors. There is a faith that the performing of 'noozhal' i, e, crawling through this tunnel from one end to the other washes away all the sins and one can get relief from rebirth. Only men can perform this and women are allowed to only visit the cave. On 'Guruvayur Ekadashi' day, this ritual is performed once in a year.
Earlier, the Romans assembled here for the woods and herbs of these forests. The Palghat Pass used to be the major highway for the Roman traders. But this highway was the centre of the armed robbers. So, to save their jewels and coins from these robbers, the Roman traders used to hide them in large mud pots under the ground. These traders hardly returned to get back their hidden treasures. Therefore, this area of Palghat has discovered many Roman coins and jewels, which can be seen in the collections of various art collectors and museums in India and abroad.
The Palghat in Kerala is connected with Tamil Nadu via Highways and rail lines. It is well connected by roads. The National Highway 47 from Salem to Kanyakumari and the Palakkad to Kozhikode NH 213 passes through the Palghat. One more road is the Palakkad-Ponnani, which connects NH 47 and NH 17. Indian's Southern Railway's junction is also Palakkad or Palghat. The meter-gauge line is also available from Palghat for the cities of Pollachi, Dindigul and Madurai. Vegetables, fish and diary products from other nearby cities are brought via these train lines. Palghat is well connected with Coimbatore in Tamilnadu with broad gauge trains and buses.
In Coimbatore, there is also an International airport, which is 52 km from Palakkad. From this airport one can visit to many foreign countries like Singapore, Sharjah, Colombo and also to many major cities of India. With all these communication facilities and beautiful places nearby, Palghat is always tourist's favourite place to visit.