Palakkad is supposed derived its name from Pala tree (Alsteria Scholaris) and kadu (forest). The whole area is said to have been once covered by 'pala' trees. Palakkad, due to its geographical position has strategic role in the Kerala life. Before the commissioning of Konkan Railway along the Western coast, Palakkad was the gateway to Kerala from the country elsewhere.
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The 32 to 40 km gap in the 960km Western Ghats functions as an inlet for northeast monsoon and dry winds. N H 47, major artillery of Kerala, passes through this Ghat section. Palakkad, the largest producer of rice is known as granary of Kerala. As many as eight rivers originates from the Palakkad hills. Among the rivers include Bharathapuzha, the longest river in the state.
The hilly district has 136257 hector reserve forest including Silent Valley. The district which lies at the foot of the colossal Western Ghats has only midland and highland areas. Palakkad had witnessed several alien invasions that had left indelible impressions on the history of Kerala. The Palakkad Fort of Hyder Ali speaks volumes of Mysore invasions and the advent of the Britishers to the region.
Located on the banks of the river Sokanasini (the destroyer of sorrows), this is a memorial to Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the author of Adhyatma Ramayana, who spent his last days here. A srichakra, some of the idols worshipped by him, a stylus, wooden slippers and a few old manuscripts are exhibited here.
The Vishwanatha Swamy shrine, the oldest Shiva temple is situated 3 kms 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.
One of the best preserved forts in Kerala, it was built by Mysore's Haider Ali. In 1790, The Fort was taken over and renovated by the British.
The annual feast of the Pattambi Mosque situated 61 kms from Palakkad, falls in the first week of February. About 70 - 80 tuskers are lined up for the festival.
It is a picnic spot in the lower hills of the Western Ghats, 12 kms from Palakkad with a dam and a garden. Malampuzha Garden is a 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 the garden from Palakkad.
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