Nelliyampathy (also Nelliampathy) is a hill station in Palakkad district known for its cool climate and ever pleasing landscape.
If you are at Palakkad, feeling the pinch of the heat, why not head to the hills for a day or two?
You can chill out, capture a few animal pictures, climb a rock or two, have a nature walk now and then, visit a farm and enjoy the scenic views.
Located about 55 kms from Palakkad town, the hill station can be reached by a little over an hour by car.
Nelliampathy has a cluster of hills, where you could look down at the passing clouds or cheer at the shine and shadows of the pervading plains.
One of the major sights below is Pothundi Dam, a tourist attraction by itself.
The earthen dam, around 200 years old, is located along the way to the hill station. It serves the agricultural and drinking water needs of people around Chittur.
Past the rice fields of the plains, vista is taken over by plantations, except for the rain forests that blanket the misty hills.
Yes, these forests have their share of wildlife. Monkeys are a common sight. During your treks there is chance to see some not so common ones such as the Lion Tailed Macaques and Langurs. You could even come across a rare squirrel or a Nilgiri Tahr. That does not happen often though.
Walking past the tea gardens in to the woods can take you to areas of elephant activity. It is dangerous to do so since many of them are quite aggressive. They can chase you even from a distance of a couple of hundred metres.
Another interesting animal to be seen is bison, the jungle version of buffalo.
Folks on quick tour to Nelliyampathy may have to be contend with seeing a few monkeys, pigs, porcupines and an occasional deer.
If you love birds and butterflies, and have enough time, there is plenty to look for in the wilderness. There are about 215 species of birds and about 90 types of butterflies found here.
Since Nelliyampathy forests continue to Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, many people visit both the places in one go. If you do not mind the travel distance of about 100 kms, or a car ride of two and half hours one way, there is more wildlife to see at Parambikulam.
Plantations of Nelliampathy are known for their rich harvests. Let it be tea, coffee, pepper, cardamom, vegies or oranges, everything grows well.
Most farmers have fallen in love with farm tourism and their doors are open to visitors. Some have started farm stays.
One of the most famous plantations is run by Kerala Government – The Orange and Veg Farm.
Exploring Nelliyampathy may take you to vantage points, suicide spots, waterfalls and trekking trails. Some such sites to visit are Kaikatty, Kesavan Para, Seethargundu, Karappara, Padagiri and Mampara.
Kaikatty is the base for trekking and camping. Forest department also runs a guest house. The Government run Orange and Veg Farm is located here as well. The farm have about 237 acres of orange trees plus other produce. The season for oranges here is December.
Padagiri (Nellikkotta), the highest peak of the region, is one of the best look-outs too. The peak is more than 1500 metres, a great place to see far and wide. There are some teak forests near Padagiri.
Seethargundu is another fantastic viewpoint. It also has a small waterfall running nearby. Not far from here is Seethargundu estate, known for its organic produce, mainly tea and coffee.
Mampara (Rajah’s Cliff) is another regional favourite for fascinating panoramic views.
Some of the above places may need a jeep and / or some trekking.
How to Reach
Nelliyampathy is about 25 kms south of Nenmara, a regional town 30 kms from Palakkad.
During Nelliyampathy tour, excitement starts well before reaching there. The road along the hills is narrow and challenging. There are 10 hairpin bends and numerous curves.
There are some great views along the way. Pothundi Dam, seen from above, is standout scenery.
Nelliampathy can be accessed only by road. The State Transport Corporation, KSRTC, runs services from Palakkad and Nenmara.
You may need a jeep / SUV to reach some of the sites. Jeeps service locally. They are available for hire at Pulayanpara.
If you are coming from Cochin by public transport, get to Thrissur first (train or bus). From there you can reach Nenmara by bus. From Nenmara, you can either take the KSRTC bus or hire a jeep. Taxis and jeeps are expensive though.
Similarly, from Coimbathore also, the journey is via Nenmara only.
The government guest house at Kaikatty provides overnight stay and food. Advance booking is necessary.
There are also several resorts and farm stays. Besides providing overnight stay and food, they also arrange treks and other activities.