Pristine dense forests, lush paddy fields, gushing waterfalls and rich history come together to make Palakkad, lying at the foot of the Western Ghats in Kerala, a fascinating tourist destination. Popularly known as the granary of Kerala, this fertile stretch of land is where several legendary battles were fought against the British regime and where nature is at its bountiful best. The dense forests of Palakkad shelter gorgeous species of flora and fauna and just cruising through the various reserves, national parks and bird sanctuaries is an experience not easily forgotten.

From the mesmerising Mayiladumpara Peacock Sanctuary, where you are likely to find one or more peacocks dancing in their glorious splendour, to the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, where tigers prowling to water holes is a common sight, Palakkad lets you observe nature at close quarters. The place derives its name from the Malayalam words pala (a kind of tree) and kadu (forest), and history says it was once a spectacular forest covered with the sweet-scented flowers of the pala tree.

Palakkad has a rich history. According to William Logan, the author of the Malabar Manual, the Pallava dynasty of Kanchi (275 CE- 897 CE) might have invaded Malabar in the 2nd or 3rd century AD. One of their headquarters was a place called ‘Palakada’, which could be the present-day Palakkad. In 1757, the Zamorin of Calicut invaded Palakkad and the Raja of Palakkad sought the help of Hyder Ali of Mysore. After Hyder Ali helped the raja win, the land of Palakkad passed into the hands of the rulers of Mysore, Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. This history lives on in the Palakkad Fort, which has witnessed several battled between the Mysore kings and the British.

A 40-km break in the mountains, known as the Palakkad Gap, gives access to Palakkad. It is through this pass that many settlers came to the land and the spice trade flourished. This multicultural influence is evident in its temples and palaces. Even today, Palakkad is a potpourri of various cultures, and some of the finest Carnatic musicians hail from this region.