There are many tourist places in Palakkad which are of historical and environmental significance, making it an ideal holiday destination. There are various dams, wildlife sanctuaries and temples that attracts one and all. The notable destinations according to Palakkad tourism are Silent Valley National Park, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Malampuzha Dam Garden and Palakkad Fort.
Silent Valley National Park and Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuaries are known for housing endangered species of flora and fauna that are not otherwise spotted outside the sanctuary and park. Trekking is allowed in the sanctuary and tree houses are also provided.
Malampuzha Dam is another attractive feature of Palakkad and has an amusement park and garden. Palakkad Fort, also known as Tipus’s fort, was built in the late 18th century by Hyder Ali, and is one of the best preserved forts in Kerala.
In addition to the above mentioned places, Palakkad is also famous for Nelliyampathi, Attappady, Walayar Dam, Chulanur, etc., which are unique in their own way.
It is a must to get souvenirs from every place we visit. Palakkad is unique for traditional bells, hanging lamps and peacock lamps. After Thrissur, Palakkad is the major destination for gold jewellery, and has the newest designs in the market.
During the month of April and May, music festival is celebrated in the Kulapally Sree Krishna Temple. Additionally, festivals, also known as ‘pooram’ are celebrated in the major temples of the district. There is Kalpathy Ratholsavam, which is a chariot festival celebrated at Viswanatha Temple in the month of November. Kaalapoottu, an exciting ox fight, is celebrated in the month of January.
Other than the temple festivals, there are cultural entertainments also. Some examples are Pavakkoothu, a shadow play, and Kanniyarkali, an art form which belongs only to the Nair community. There are also various theatres which screens the latest movies.
Since Palakkad has a mix of Kerala’s and Tamil Nadu’s cultures, it is reflected on their cuisine too. Most of them are vegetarians, and the district is famous for generating some of the best mouth-watering recipes. The staple food is rice, but they are also famous for sambhar, kootan (gravy curry) and pickles. The cuisine is moderately spicy. Some of the best and unique dishes from Palakkad are olan, a red pumpkin dish, Pavakkai Pitlai, which is a bitter gourd gravy, and ada, a lentil-based pancake. These are only a few among their various delicious cuisine.
Palakkad has played an important role in preserving the tradition of Kerala. Thullal, Kathakali, Mohniyattam and Chakkiar Koothu are the most important dance forms of Kerala and the district has contributed many worthy artists in the mentioned dance forms. The district is also famous for its musical contribution to the artistic society, and specialises in Carnatic Music. There are various eminent authors based from Palakkad who have made an impact in the society with their words.
Palakkad has many theories on the origin of its name. Some are of the opinion that Palakkad is a combination of two parts. ‘Pala’ is a kind of tree and ‘Kadu’ means jungle. Since this tree was found in abundance, this district was known as Palakkad. Another legend goes like this. There was a Jain temple in the region, which gave rise to the name Palighat, since Pali is the sacred language of the Jains.