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Palakkad known as the Ricebowl of Kerala due to the plentiful paddy cultivation in this district.

Palakkad District (Malayalam :പാലക്കാട് ) or Palghat is one of the 14 districts of Kerala state in South India. The city of Palakkad is the district headquarters. Palakkad is bordered on the northwest by the Malappuram District and on the southwest by the Thrissur District. To the east lies the Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. It is a predominantly rural district. Palakkad is the gateway to Kerala due to the presence of Palakkad Gap, in the Western Ghats. The total area of the district is 4480 km² which is 11.5% of the state's area. The district is nicknamed "the granary of Kerala".

In earlier times Palakkad was also known as Palakkattussery. Some etymologists trace the word "Palakkad" from the word Palanilam, which means "dry lands". The commonly held belief, however, is that the name is a fusion of two Malayalam words, Pala, a tree (Alstonia scholaris) that is found abundantly in Palakkad, and Kadu, which means forest.

The district is 13.62% urbanised.


Paddy fields in Palakkad was a part of Malabar District of Madras Presidency during the British rule. After independence, it came under the Madras state. It was made a separate district of Kerala when the state was formed in 1956.


Nelliampathi mountains as seen from Nemmara villageOut of the total area of 4480 km², about 1360 km² of land is covered by forests. Most part of the district fall in the midland region (elevation 75-250 m), except the Nelliampathy-Parambikulam area in the Chittur taluk in the south and Attappadi-Malampuzha area in the north, which are hilly and fall in the highland region (elevation >250 m). Some of the notable peaks in the district are Anginda (2325 m), Karimala (1998 m), Nellikotta or Padagiri (1585 m) and Karimala Gopuram (1439 m).

The climate is hot and humid for most part of the year. Palakkad is one of the hottest places in Kerala. There is sufficient rainfall. The district is blessed with many small and medium rivers, which are tributaries of the Bharathapuzha River. A number of dams have been built across these rivers, the largest being Malampuzha dam. The largest in volume capacity is the Parambikulam Dam[2] built in Udumalaipettai.

The present Palakkad district, as an administrative unit, was formed on the first of January 1957, comprising of Palakkad, Perinthalmanna, Ponnani, Ottappalam, Alathur and Chittur. When the Malappuram district was formed on the 16th June 1969, Ponnani taluk excluding Thrithala firka and the villages of Vadakkekad, Punnayur and Punnayurkulam and Perinthalmanna taluk consisting of Mankada firka and Perinthalmanna firka excluding Karkidamkunnu and Chethalloor amsoms were transferred to Malappuram district. A new taluk, namely Mannarghat, was formed by grouping 19 villages of the erstwile Perinthalmanna taluk. While retaining the Trithala firka with Ottappalam taluk, the villages of Vadakkekad, Punnayur and Punnayurkulam were brought under Chowghat taluk of Thrissur district. The Paradur village of Tirur taluk was added to Ottappalam taluk. Recently some portions of Karavarakund village of Malappuram district were also added to Palakkad. At present the Palakkad district consists of two revenue divisions, five taluks and 163 villages. The revenue divisions are Palakkad and Ottappalam. Palakkad, Alathur and Chittur taluks form the Palakkad revenue division and Ottappalam and Mannarghat taluks form the Ottappalam revenue division. There are 13 development blocks and 90 panchayats in the district. The total area of the district is 4480 km.

District Panchayat

Under the amended Indian Constitution, Decentralised planning was implemented in the state. The headquarters of District Panchayat is at Palakkad Municipal town. The District Panchayat office building was constructed near to Civil Station.

Basic Statistics

Taluks - 5
C.D Block - 13
Municipalities - 4
Corporations - Nil
Panchayats - 90
Revenue Villages - 163
Parliamentary Constituencies - 2
Assembly Constituencies - 11
District Panchayats - 1
District Panchayats Constituencies - 26
Block Panchayats - 13
Block Panchayats Constituencies - 141
Grama Panchayats - 90
Grama Panchayats Constituencies - 1178
Municipal Councils - 4
Municipal Constituencies - 130
Total Population 2617072 (2001 Census)


Sri Killikkurussi Mahadeva Kshetram ( Shiva temple of Killikkurussimangalam).Agriculture is the main occupation. The most prominent crop is rice. Palakkad is known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala. But in recent times, rice cultivation has become unremunerative due to high wages and low prices. Hence farmers have turned to other crops and the area under rice cultivation has decreased drastically. In the areas bordering Tamil Nadu, crops like sugar cane, groundnut, tomato, jasmine etc are cultivated. Rubber is the main crop in the hilly regions in the different parts of the district. Vegetables like pumpkin, ash gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, pea etc. are now cultivated all over the district. Tamarind, Neem, Mango and Palm trees are seen in abundance in the Palakkad, like in Tamil Nadu. The district is a major centre of export for mangoes and tamarind. Jaggery, which is unrefined sugar, is made from sugarcane in Chittur Taluk.


Heap of rice straw, usually seen in front of houses in Palakkad district.There are various industries in the district. The Public Sector companies ITI Limited and Instrumentation Limited have plants in Kanjikode, 12 km from Palakkad town. Other big companies are BPL group, Coca Cola and Pepsi. There is an Industrial Area in Kanjikode with a number of medium industries.

Established in 1976, Palakkad unit of ITI Limited manufactures large digital switches and digital trunk exchanges in collaboration with M/s Alcatel of France. A lean and highly productive plant by virtue of its structure, it has modern facility for PCB manufacture (including multi-layer boards) assembly and automated testing facilities with SMT line and environmental test lab. ITI Palakkad is accredited with ISO 9000 (Manufacturing) and ISO 14000 (Environmental Management System)


A typical fence made of bamboo usually seen in villages of Palakkad district.The main religion is Hinduism, with many castes - Nair (includes Menon's, Panickker's), Pisharody (Malayali Vaishnavaite ambalavasi), Ezhava, Ezhuthachan,(E S S) Namboothiri (Malayali Shaivaite Brahmin), Iyer (Tamil Brahmin), Chettiar (equivalent to telugu Naidu),trader (Moothan), Gupthans, artisan community like carpenter (Asari), goldsmith (Thattan), blacksmith (Kollan) and potter (Kusavan). There are some tribals living in the forest areas within the Palakkad district. Nair's were traditionally the warrior caste. They are now actively involved in all fields of expertise (Science, Technology, Medicine, Legal Practices,...) within India and also abroad. The Late Sri M. G. Ramachandran was from a Nair family in Palakkad district. Namboothiris work as temple priests. Once upon a time they were highly influential landlords. A few Namboothiri families were also known for their knowledge in astrology and medicine. Ezhavas and Ezhuthachans were mostly farmers, the educated among them are into all fields of work now.

The Tamil Brahmins of Palakkad require special mention. They migrated from Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu centuries back, on the invitation of the then ruler. They were settled in 96 villages called Agraharams in different parts of the district. They are also basically priests. They brought along their rich cultural heritage, Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance among them. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Palakkad Mani Iyer, M.D. Ramanathan are some of the prominent names in the field of Carnatic music.

Muslims are in majority in the areas bordering Malappuram district. Here almost every family has male members in the Gulf region. Due to the remittances from these people, the area has substantially improved economically in the recent years.

The earliest Christians in the district were from Thrissur district, who settled at Melarcode (R C Kambolam) around 1550 CE as traders of coconut oil and spices to near by districts. Later on, Christians from Idukki and Kottayam districts migrated to Palakkad and made the hilly terrains of the district their homes.

The language spoken by the majority is Malayalam, with a distinct Tamil flavour. Also, the accent differs according the community of the speaker. Tamil is spoken in the areas bordering Tamil Nadu, by Tamil Brahmins and some Muslims who have roots in Tamil Nadu. There are some Telugu speaking people also, who are believed to have migrated to Kerala centuries ago as part of an invading army.

There are no large cities in Palakkad district. Even the district Head Quarter (HQ) is a medium sized town. There are no big shopping malls or large hospitals. People usually go to Coimbatore for these needs. But recently, all the major jewellers of Kerala have opened their showrooms in Palakkad town.


Way to Nelliampathi mountains and Pothundi dam from Nemmara.Palakkad Junction is a very important station of Southern Railway. Places like Pollachi, Dindigul and Madurai are connected by the meter gauge track starting from here. The trains on the meter gauge are like lifelines for the people of the district, bringing vegetables, fish and dairy products. The office of the Palakkad Division of Southern Railway is situated near Palghat Junction Railway Station. The trains coming from Tamil Nadu take diversion to north and South Kerala from Shoranur station in Palakkad District.

Palakkad has a fairly good network of roads. The Salem-Kanyakumari National Highway 47 and the Palakkad-Kozhikode National Highway 213 pass through the district. Another important road is the Palakkad - Ponnani road which connects NH 47 and NH 17.

The nearest Airport is Coimbatore which is 60 km from the town. Coimbatore Airport is well connected to All parts of India. Air deccan, Spicejet, jetlite, Kingfisher airlines, Goair, Paramount airlines, Indian and AirIndia are the major Operators.


Nemmara Vela.In the months of March and April, after the harvests, festivals called Vela are celebrated in many villages. These festivals consist of parade of caparisoned elephants, traditional orchestra of percussion instruments (called Panchavadyam, Thayambaka, Pandimelam etc) and fireworks. These festivals are very popular; people from neighbouring districts and Tamil Nadu come to witness them. Nemmara Vallangi Vela,Chinakkathur Pooram of Palappuram and Vayilliamkunnu pooram of kadampazhipuram are the prominent among them. The vela season comes to an end with Mangalam vela, which usually happens in the month of May.

Another important festival is the Kalpathi Ratholsavam. This is festival of the Tamil Brahmins. The deities of the various temples are taken out on a procession in chariots. It is believed that the God goes out to see his people on these days.

The Anjumoorthy temple at Anjumoorthy Managalam, a village in Palakkad, is a unique temple in the district. The temple is considered to be the only temple in India where Sudharshana Chakram, a sharp spinning wheel carried by Lord Vishnu, is the primary deity. The belief is that Sudarshana Chakram self-manifested (Swayambhu) in the area where the temple now stands.

The Navrathri Festival celebrated annually in Kodunthirapully Village is also famous. This village has the unique distinction of being two theoretical parts that celebrate the same festival on Ashtami and Navami, often with a lot of competitive edge. The festival although celebrated for every one of the night days culminates on Ashtami and Navami with caprisoned elephants, [[panchavadyam[[, a fireworks finale and musical stage shows.

Pattambi Nercha - Celebrated in Pattambi and nearby areas on the second Sunday of February in remembrance of Aloor valiya pookoya thangal.

Another very famous festival is the "Puthur Vela". It is the annual festival held during the month of April of the puthur "Sree Thirupuraykal Bhagavathy kshethram" where 15 elephants unite for the famous "kudamattom".The "thayambaka" and "panchavadhyam" is a special treat for music lovers.

The annual Ultsavam at the Thiruvegappura Mahakshetram is a large attraction to devotees.

The annual sivarathri festival in East Vennakkara of palakkad municipality has a divine touch. Vayilliamkunnu pooram-: Vayilliamkunnu pooram ia one of the famous festivals in valluvanadu,it consist of three separate poorams:

Other festivals

Vayilliamkunnu pooram-kadampazhipuram
Kongan Pada - Chittur
Manappullikavu Vela
Vadakkanthara Vela (only once in 3 years)
Kalpathy Ratholsavam
Koduvayoor Ratholsavam
Tattamangalam Kuthira Vela
Kannyar Kali at Vadavannur, Coyalmannam, Puthucode
Thattamangalam Ayyappan Festival at West Village
Pattanchery Kummatty,Karivela followed by Pavakoothu and Koothabhishekam
Mathur Kooth Festival (April - May), Mathur Padinjharethara Kalikavil Bhagawathy Temple, Mathur , Palakkad.

Places of worship

The Kaikkottu Bagavathy temple is very famous."Kumbabishekam" is celebrated annually in the month of April.
Vishu vela of Thumbalamkad is the one most entertaining festivals in Palakkad. This is celebrated on the Vishu day April 14th or Chingam onnu.
The Anjaneya (Lord Hanuman) temple inside Palakkad Fort attracts good number of devotees.
Chittur kavu - Devi temple.
Manappulli kavu - Devi temple.
Pudussery kavu - a Devi temple. The annual pooram festival starts at pudussery in the Malayalam month called Meenam.
Pallassena Kavu - a Temple located 20 km from Palakkad town.
Lord Shiva (Brahmeeswaran) Temple situated in Karimpuzha village, 25 km from Palakkad town.
Lord Shiva (Kasi Viswanathan) Temple situated in Kalpathy, 2.5 km from Palakkad town.
Killikkurussi Mahadeva Temple at Killikkurussimangalam around 8 km from Ottappalam city.
Vaazhaali Bhagavathi Temple Nellikkurissi, Mulanjoor,Ottappalam.
Sree Kurumba Temple Karakurissi.
Chenakkathoor Kavu Ottappalam.
Shree Periya Maariyamman Kovil Sakthi Nagar Melamuri Palakkad.
Mangottu Kavu Temple Athipotta, Palakkad
Nurani sasthapreethi
Sri Puliilla Bhagavathy Temple, Karingarapully,during the month of December,annually.
Lord Subramania temple - Kodumbu.
Lord Shiva temple - Pattanchery.

There are a number of schools and colleges including engineering colleges. Government Victoria College (3) is a more-than-a-century- old institution which has many eminent persons as its former students. They include E. M. S. Namboodiripad(late communist leader), former Chief Election Commissioner T.N.Seshan, the architect of Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro E. Sreedharan, writers (the late) O.V.Vijayan and M.T.Vasudevan Nair and cartoonist Ravi Shankar.

The NSS College of Engineering is an institution founded in 1960 by Nair Service Society. The undergraduate admission into this engineering college is based on merit ranking in Kerala engineering entrance exam. A sizeable number of seats are also reserved for students belonging to socially backward caste and religious minorties like muslims. The major engineering departments are Electrical and Electronics, Mechanical, Industrial, Electronics and Civil. Situated in the valley of the beautiful mountain ridges, it has produced some of the best engineering minds the country has to offer.

The Chembai Memorial Music College, Government College Chittur, NSS College Nemmara are some of the old colleges of Palakkad.

Places of interest

View from outside the northern wall of Palakkad fort.Palakkad Fort - Situated in the very heart of the town, this is the most beautiful and the best preserved fort of Kerala. The sober silence of the granite walls reminds us of old tales of valour and courage. Fort which dates back to 1766, built by Hyder Ali of Mysore. In 1784 after a siege which lasted for eleven days, the British Colonel Fullerton stormed the Fort. Later it fell into the hands of the Zamorin’s troops, but was recaptured by the British in 1790. This well-preserved Fort is also known as Tipu's (Tipu Sultan son of Hyder Ali) Fort. The fort is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Malampuzha dam garden - A large irrigation dam built on the river, Bharathapuzha at the base of the hills of the Western Ghats. The beautiful gardens, the amusement Park for the children, the boating facility on the reservoir etc. make Malampuzha a paradise for the tourists. This important tourist spot is easily accessible from Palakkad.
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, sprawling over 285 km²., is 135 km from Palakkad and adjacent to the Indira Gandhi National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. Besides being an abode of elephants, wild boar, sambar, bison, guar, crocodiles, and a few tigers and panthers, it has rich diversity of flora and fauna. Treking in the forest is allowed with prior permission. Boating can be done at the lake. The Cannimare Teak Tree, which is said to be Asia’s largest, is here near Thunakadavu.
Silent Valley National Park - Thick rain forest, habitat of rare species. Declared National Park. This National Park is 80 km. from Palakkad. It is popularly known as the evergreen forest and noted for its eerie silence because of the lack of cicadas. It is an important biosphere reserve in the Western Ghats and Home of the tribal people. The Valley known for the rare Lion-Tailed Macaque. This National Park is a protected area for tigers also

Sri Killikkurussi Mahadeva Kshetram ( Shiva temple of Kiillikkurussimangalam ).Killikkurussimangalam - Birth place of Kunchan Nambiar and home of Mani Madhava Chakyar. The very famous and old Killikkurussi Siva temple is situated here. This cultural village has a memorial and library dedicated to the great Malayalam satire poet and founder of Ottamthullal art form Kunchan Nambiar. The home of authority of abhinaya (acting); legendary Natyacharya Vidushakaratnam Padma Shri Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar, who took Koodiyattam to new heights; is also a special cultural attraction of the village. Mani Madhava Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam a school devoted to teach Koodiyattam (founded by late Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar) also situated in the same place.

A small waterfall in the Nelliyampathi mountains.Nelliyampathi - Known as Ooty of Kerala. Nelliampathy, about 80 km from Palakkad, is a hill station in the Nelliampathy forest ranges. This forest range constitutes a series of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dark evergreen forests
Sholayar - Highest peak in the district. Coffee, tea, plantations.
Attappady - About 38 km. northeast of Mannarkkad. Above everything else, one will be awe-struck by the grandiloquence of the divine architect who created this loveliness of forests, rivers and mountains. It is also a place of great interest to anthropologists as many Irulas and Mudugas inhabit here. These Adivasis worship the mountain peak 'Malleswaran' as a gigantic Siv-Ling. This peak and the River Bhavani exert tremendous influence on the lives of the tribal.
(This comes under Trissur district and may be omitted)
Punarjani Guha - The Punarjani Guha is a natural tunnel 15 meters long in the rocky cliff. It is situated 2 km from the Thiruvilwamala Temple and the chief presiding deity is Sri Rama. The idol is believed to be ‘swayamboo’ ie. born on its own. It is believed that by performing ‘noozhal’ or crawling through the tunnel from one end to the other will wash away all of one’s sins and thus attain rebirth. Only men are allowed to do the ‘noozhal’ and women can only visit the cave. This ritual is practised only one day in a year on Guruvayur Ekadashi.

Chulanur - Peacock sanctuary.
Dhoni - Dhoni a reserve forest area is about 15 km. from Palakkad. This forest has among other capivating sights a small but splendid waterfall. The site can be reached after a fairly long climb of three hours from the base of the Dhoni hills.
Jain Temple of Jainimedu - Situated on the western border of Palakkad town and not far from the Railway station, is a historic Jain Temple. The place around the temple is known as Jainimedu. This is one of the few places in Kerala where the vestiges of Jainism have survived without substantial damages. The granite walls are devoid of decoration. The 32 feet long 20 feet broad temple consists of four divisions with images of Jain Thirthankaras and Yakshinis in three of them. Kumaran Asan wrote his monumental poem 'Veena Poovu' (the fallen flower) at a Jain house here during his brief stay with his master Sri. Narayana Guru.

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