Sunday, February 25, 2024

Tourism      Hill Stations      Kerala     Palakkad (Palghat)     


Place : Palakkad, Kerala
Significance : Famous for coffee and orange plantations.
Best Season : September to January
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Nestling in the midst of the majestic Western Ghats, the fascinating hill station Nelliampathy may not appear in the popular tourist destination list simply because most people not heard of it.  Nelliampathy is a charming hill station with picturesque mountains, valleys, mist and rain, pockets of gooseberry trees, tea, coffee, cardamom and orange plantations. Labeled during the Earth Conference at Rio in 1999 as one of the 17 hotspots in the world for its biodiversity, Nelliampathy is an absolute haven for nature lovers.  Locally known as 'poor man's Ooty', Nelliyampathy also offers immense opportunities for trekking. 

Spreading over a total area of 82 sq. kms at a distance of about 52 kms from Palakkad town, Nelliyampathy is at a height of 467 m to1572 m above sea level.Once owned by the Maharajas of Kollengode and Kochi, Nelliampathy is now a part of the Nenmara Forest Division.  Apart from scenic beauty, Nelliampaty also boasts largest population of fauna. According to a survey, nearly 215 species of birds and 90 species of butterflies  have been found in this region.  Some of the species of birds at Nelliampaty are  Grey-breasted Laughing Thrush,  Woodpecker, Oriental Broad-billed Roller, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Broad-tailed Grass bird,  Nilgiri Pipit etc. The hill station is also known for the Malabar hornbill and the rust coloured Malabar squirrel. The dense jungle is packed with primates including Lion-tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Nilgiri Langure etc. A small population of Nilgiri Tahr is also seen in the grassy peaks. 

The Journey to Nelliyampathy is thrilling with a panoramic view at every bend. There are about 23 hair-pin curves on the way.  The road is narrow but smooth. Kaikatty is the first place on the way to Nelliyampathy. 

At Kaikkatty Junction, there are two roads, one leads to Padagiri ( Nellikotta)  through the AVT tea Estate  and the other leads to Puliampara. 

On the Padagiri route about 3.5 kms from the ITL resort is the Kesavan Para. Located 6 km from Nelliyampathy, Kesavan Para  is one of the breathtaking vantage point.  The A.V. Thomas Group of companies popularly known as AVT has a large tea garden under its Manalaroo Estate nearby. The Manalaroo Estate is one of the largest tea plantations  in India where one can get fresh tea. Near one can see a temple. A 1 km walk from the side of this temple leads to the view point.  This path is too dense and can be accessed by foot. From Padagiri is the Victoria Church. Stands on a hillock, from here one can get a panoramic view of the Nelliampathy forests and the Parambkulam (Pothundi) Reservoir. Another viewpoint  is in the Karapara estate which has a waterfall. This is worth visiting only after monsoon.  

The road to Puliampara has the scenic hotspots like Mampara etc.  Seethakundu view point  is the most famous tourist attraction in Nelliampathy which is reachable by jeep and the 1 km walk along the POABS organic estate.   POABS is referred as the largest perennial multi-crop organic farm in the world which produces organic tea, coffee, cardamom and vegetables.. Located 8 km from the centre of Nelliampathy one have to pass through acres of organic plantations. Seethakundu offers a spectacular view of the whole valley.  It is believed that during the Vanavasa period Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in the epic Ramayana, had lived here and Sita took water from a small stream which is named after her. The waterfall falls from a height of 100 meters and it can be viewed from the top of the mountain. From here one can have the view of dams at Chulliar and Meenkara and the Kollengode village spread with endless green paddy fields and stone quarries. Besides the waterfalls, there is a  gnarled tree in Seethargundu which is also famous. 

The sprawling Mampara Grasslands,  located 10 km from the centre of Nelliampathy is another famous attraction. Raja’s Cliff at Maampara is a bald peak 5,250 ft above sea level is the highest view point in Nelliampathy. Surrounded by tea gardens, coffee and cardamom plantations and various fauna , the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. The Chaliyar, Meenkara and Aliyar reservoirs and rivers below look sparkle. Also one can get a glimpse at the  Pollachi ,  Coimbatore and Palakkad . Although it offers a good view point, it is very rough in most places and a 4 wheel drive is a must to access this place.

Puliampara (4 km from Kaikatty junction) is the starting point to view Seetarkund and Mampara. At Puliampara, there is a Kerala Government run orange and vegetable farm which sells vegetables, squashes and jams. Built by the rulers of the erstwhile State of Cochin in 1943 it is a 237 acres of land. Across the road is a nursery which has many plants and variety of flowers like orchids, anthurium etc. Near to this is Tea garden of Veekay Tea Company under Chandramala Estate.  

The other famous peaks at Nelliampathy are Vellachimudi, Valiyavana, Mayanmudi and Vela Vanchan, each about 1200 metres high.

Pothundy Reservoir

Situated below Nelliampathy at the base of the Sahya Range, this beautiful reservoir is close to the scenic village of Nenmara . Built across two tributaries of Ayalar river - the Meenachadypuzha and the Padipuzha, this is a famous picnic spot in Nelliampathy. The reservoir has boating facilities also.

Timings 10 am-5 pm 
Ph:  04923-244224/ 32