Nestled at the foot of the Western Ghats, Palakkad is surrounded by rugged mountains and fertile valleys near Kerala’s border with Tamil Nadu. The city clusters around a beautifully-preserved fort while offering easy access to a peacock sanctuary and recyclable rock garden.
Things to do
At the heart of the city lies the 18th-century Palakkad Fort, which is one of the best-preserved forts in Kerala with its sturdy battlements and intact moat. Learn about the battles that took place here between the British and Mysore Sultans and explore the Anjaneya Swamy Temple. Afterwards, watch a local cricket match on the Kota Maidanam, which separates the fort from Palakkad Town Hall.
Visit the 15th-century Viswanatha Swamy Temple along the banks of the Kalpathy River, which hosts the annual Chariot Festival. It’s the oldest surviving Shiva temple in Malabar and features a towering Gopuram, together with two sacred banyan trees that greet devotees on arrival.
Drive east to Malampuzha, where a unique rock garden has been created solely from recycled materials. Its Indian-inspired artworks have been crafted from old tiles, electrical items, broken jewellery and homewares. The garden can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Malampuzha Dam.
Bird lovers should make the hour-long trip west to the Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary, which is inhabited by hundreds of peacocks. Admire their vibrant displays and the celebrated peacock dance as you explore the forested walking trails. They’re joined by about 100 other bird species within the sanctuary.
Coimbatore International Airport is around two hours’ drive from Palakkad, while trains connect the city to destinations across Kerala. Buses and rickshaws travel throughout Palakkad, but it’s compact enough to explore on foot.