Palghat is the gateway to Kerala. Celebrated as the rice bowl of the state, Palghat or Palakkad as it also known, has a low mountain pass called Palghat Gap which separates Kerala from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The pass is located between the Nilgiri Hills and Anaimalai Hills and many important local rivers like Bharatha Puzha originate from there. A lush emerald green land of hills, rivers, mountains, forests and streams, Palakkad derives its name from 2 Malayalam words Pala and Kadu (forest) and the region was once densely covered with sweet smelling flowering Pala trees. The famous gap which serves as a corridor had once been a vital trade route between east and west coasts of peninsular India and 15th century migration of Brahmins into Palghat had created a lovely local potpourri of arts. That is why, Palghat is blessed with some of the finest classical music schools and many great Carnatic musicians have hailed from this green region.
The famous Palghat Gap also affects the weather patterns of the region and the district is incredibly rich in flora and fauna. One of the most beautiful districts of Kerala, it is abundant with skinny palmyra palm trees, endless stretches of paddy fields, glassy lakes and patches of shola forests. Many wildlife sanctuaries, dams, historical monuments and great weather make Palghat a very relaxing place and traditional ayurvedic treatment centers relax urban visitors further. I had taken an early morning train from Cochin to Palghat and the beautiful 3 hours journey had been through a sea of green. Kerala is an unbelievably beautiful tapestry of many shades of green and each hue is richer than the other. My Cochin host’s local friend had taken over my guiding responsibility in Palghat and he had made sure that I had been safely tucked in a comfortable city hotel. A nondescript, but quaintly charming town, Palghat had nothing much spectacular to offer and except for the moat circled fort and an ancient Brahmin colony I had nothing much to do there.
The outskirts of Palghat, however had been another story and the area had been packed with exciting things to do. The expansive Malampuzha Dam with its gardens had been lovely and rubber plantations had ringed it from all around. The stony Western Ghats had been covered with blue moisture laden clouds and the green of the forests had been of densest emerald colour. It had been extremely beautiful and waterbodies, both natural and manmade had reflected the rain coloured sky. Palghat had been a very moist place and skinny palms submerged in timed water of dam reservoirs had silhouetted against startlingly beautiful sunsets. All this and astoundingly relaxing natural beauty had made me linger at Palghat longer than I had planned and every single day of my stay had included heading for the woodland. This unplanned extension of Palghat stay had disturbed the rest of my itinerary and I had to concise Neeliyampathy to a day trip. The visit to the Silent Valley National Park got cancelled altogether and despite these changes, I had loved every moment of my stay at Kerala’s green granary. Palghat had been truly memorable and it had been a shinning example of Robert Frost’s famous lines, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE