It is the fort which is situated in the middle of Palakkad town that first welcomes the tourists to this place. This fort tells the tale of many a subjugation and surrender. As per the directions of Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore, the work on this fort was started in the year 1766 under the supervision of a team of French engineers. Hyder had settlements in Coimbatore, Malabar and Kochi (Cochin). His intention was to turn the Palakkad fort into a focal paint of these settlements and rule them. In the war with the English in 1767 the fort was damaged and Hyder Ali reconstructed it on a solid foundation. Hyder Ali was succeeded by his son Tippu Sultan as the Nawab of Mysore in 1782 and the fort came under his control. In 1787 the English and the Kozhikodu Zamorin captured this fort of vital strategic importance. Knowing this, Tippu sent a strong contingent and drove out the Zamorin and recaptured the fort.
In the war between the English and Tippu in 1790, the English again captured the fort. According to a treaty after 3rd Mysore war, in 1782 the British got Malabar region and the complete control of the fort therein. In 1797 the English mended the damaged parts of the fort. The war between Tippu and East India Company ended with the treaty of 1872 and all the possessions of Tippu in Malabar were ceded to the British. Gradually these formed part of the Malabar district of the Madras presidency.
Palakkad was only a taluk of old Malabar district of Madras presidency till the linguistic reorganization of the States in 1956. At present, some government offices and a sub jail are functioning at this fort.
Kottamaithanam, west of the fort, is very famous. It is said that it was here Tippu’s cavalry camped. This maithanam is used for conducting exhibitions and mammoth meetings. Nearby the fort, there is a children’s park and an open air stadium called ‘Rappadi’.
Malampuzha is the ‘Vrindavan’ of Kerala. It is 13 kms from Palakkad town. Since the completion of the dam in 1955, the place has been beautified into a tourist resort. The dam is located in idyllic surroundings with a hilly background. The beautiful garden on mughal model below the dam is the star attraction for the tourists. The small garden on Japanese style is also very attractive. The gigantic ‘Yakshi’ statue situated in the garden would cause surprise and wonder to anyone visiting Malampuzha. The fish-shaped aquarium is an added attraction. The snake park, the rock garden, the amusement park and the fancy park and the thrilling rides therein and the garden and fountain are the other attractions.
Parambikulam in Western Ghats is about 125 kms from Palakkad. The dam and the wildlife sanctuary here are renowned. All sorts of animals and birds are seen here. There is a reservoir also. The place is famous for teak plantations. The oldest teak tree, ‘Kannimaree’, stands here. There is a national park here, which is named after Salim Ali, the famous bird observer.
Mailadumpara, in Chulannur situated 22 kms away from Palakkad town and 5 kms from Peringothukrish, is also famed. It is here the peacock protection center is located. Kunjan Nambiar Smrudhi forest is also here.
Kottayi which is situated 15 kms from the district headquarters is also famous. Chembai Village which gave birth to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavather, the maestro of Karnatic music is in Kottayi. The last resting place of Chembai is the pilgrim center of music lovers. The birth place of guru Kunju Kurup, the great Kathakali master is also in Kottayi. The famous Kandethan temple which attracts people from within and without the district is also situated here.
Seetharkundu at Nelliampathy offers a fantastic view of the valley below. The 1000 meters high water falls is one of the major attractions. Legend has it that during the ‘vanavasa, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana had lived here. Seetharkundu got its name from the legend that Sita devi during the vanavasa period with Rama, took a bath here.
The first popular Malayalam poet and the father of Thullal Movements, Kunjan Nambiar was born in Kalakkathu house at Killikkurissi Mangalam of Lakkidi Perur panchayat in Palakkad district. Every day a number of literary men come here to pay obeisance to the ever burning lamp and the ezhuthani (pen) he used for writing. A center imparting training in learning the poet’s arts form like Ottam Thullal, Parayan Thullal and Seethankan Thullal is functioning here. Every year May fifth is observed as Kunchan Day and award is given to the best thullal artist of the State.
It is the Kunjan Memorial Committee working under the State Cultural Department that gives initiative to the activities here.
The ever green Silent Valley is in Palakkad district. The river Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills above the valley, at an altitude of 2000m, traverses the entire length of the valley and rushes down to the plains through a deep gorge. The Silent Valley National park, with an area of 90sq. kms is situated in the north eastern corner of the district. In the National Park it is estimated that there are more than thousand kinds of trees. The rarest species of animals and birds are seen in the valley. The valley has a fair representation of all peninsular mammals.
Meenkara is a fascinating sport due to the dam, garden, fish ponds and natural beauty. It is 32 kms, south east of Palakkad town. The dam here was constructed in the year 1960 across Meenkara river, a sub tributary of Gayathripuzha, which is the tributary of Bharathapuzha.
This dam and the surroundings at Muthalamada Panchayat offer a strikingly beautiful panorama of natural scenery. The work on this dam across Chulliyar, a tributary of Gayathripuzha was completed in the year 1960. A view from this dam at the sky kissing Nelliyampathy mountain ranges is superb.
Pothundy is 38 kms south of Palakkad town, in Nelliyampathy route. The dam is across Padipuzha and Meenchadipuzha, the two sub tributaries of Ayilurpuzha, which is the tributary of Bharathapuzha.
The work on this dam was completed in the year 1956. it is located 48 kms south of Palakkad town. The dam is constructed across Cherukunnupuzha, a tributary of Mangalam river. There are deer, wild elephants and rare species of birds on the fringes of the reservoir.
The dam is the common reservoir of Kerala and Tamilnadu. It is 80 kms away from Palakkad town, and 22 kms interior from Edakkurissi which is in Palakkad manarcad route. The dam is constructed across Siruvanipuzha which is the tributary of Bhavanipuzha. It supplies drinking water to Coimbatore municipality. There is a water fall from 2000 feet height on the eastern side of the dam. The scenic beauty of Siruvani is really wonderful.
In ‘Sokanashini’, an old building at Chittoor Thekkegram village, Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam language spent his last years. People call it gurumadom. Thunchan madom on the banks of ‘Sokanashini’ (destroyer of sorrow) Chittoorpuzha is even today blessed with the presence of literary men. The ezhuthani (pen) he used for writing is kept here as a precious memento.
JP Smirthivanam and Deer Park are located at Walayar reserve forest which has an area of 100 acres. One can see here deer and other animals roaming about in their natural habitat. This is situated 22 kms away from Palakkad town in Palakkad-coimbatore road. Here facilities for elephant riding are also available.
The villages of Palakkad district have become the background of the novels of reputed writers like M.T. Vasudevan Nair and O.V. Vijayan. Kudallur, the birth place of M.T. Vasudevan Nair is the locale of his novels, ‘Nalukettu’ and ‘Kalam’ (time). In vijayans famous novel, ‘Khasakkinte Ithihasom’ (the epic of Khasakk) the locale is the palakkad village, ‘Thasarak’. A number of people interested in literature visit these two places.