With the blazing summer sun becoming unbearable in the plains, people are looking up to the hills and forests for some soothing comfort. And thankfully Kerala has plenty of them to provide a cool effect. One such place is the serene hills of Nelliyampathy in Palakkad district. While driving to the top of Nelliyampathy hills on the winding road, you can also enjoy the beauty of never-ending coffee and tea plantations on both sides. No wonder Nelliyampathy is termed ‘Poor man’s Ooty’ as this hill station is replete with wonderful sights. The pleasant and cool climate makes Nelliyampathy the best place for those who want to escape the sweltering summer heat of the plains.
The cloud-capped hills, verdant forest and lush green grasslands make Nelliyampathy, which is 60 km away from Palakkad town, a must-see destination for travellers. Though the months from June to December will be pretty cold in Nelliyampathy, the climate between January and June will be comfortable.
The enchanting hill station is spread across 82 square kilometres and is situated 467 to 1,572 metres above sea level. Earliest residents of the region termed this region ‘Nelli’ after a goddess they worshipped, and ‘Nelliyampathy’ means the abode of goddess ‘Nelli’.
To step into the magical Nelliyampathy hills, one has to travel through the road near the Pothundy dam after reaching Nenmara. If you are into leisure boating, you can glide through the placid waters of the Pothundy dam in a boat. Kaikatti, the first town of the Nelliyampathy region, is nearly 26 km away from Nenmara. One has to manoeuvrer 10 hair pin curves spread across a distance of 17 km to reach the top.
Water is channelled from the Pothundy dam to irrigate the paddy fields in the adjoining areas. As one go up the winding mountain road, the plains of Palakkad, the expansive coconut groves and the green paddy fields are a treat for your eyes. One could also sink in the beauty of the tea plantations of various private companies. Once you pass the Pothundy dam, you can see forest patches managed by the State Government, which houses gigantic teak trees. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot monkeys, deer, porcupines and other wild animals in the forest, and during the monsoon season, the region will be dotted with awesome waterfalls. Nelliyampathy is also famous for its breathtaking orange orchards.
The hill station has many hotels and resorts to provide food and accommodation to the travellers besides a government-run guest house at Kaikatti.
The scenic beauty of Nelliyampathy and its adjoining areas will provide an out-of-the-world experience for the travellers. Seetharkund waterfall is a visual treat and legend has it that Lord Ram, his wife Seetha and Lakshman lived in this forest during their forest exile. The bird’s eye view of the Chulliyar dam, the Meenkara dam and the Kollengode town from the hilltop is spellbinding, to say the least.
The beauty of the valley could be enjoyed by looking down from Kesavanpara, which is near Kaikatti. The Manalaru Estate, the largest tea producer in India, is near Nelliyampathy, and the beautiful houses built by the British are also an attraction of the hill station.
How to reach
Travelling to Nelliyampathy is quite easy as the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is running services between Palakkad and the hill station. It is noteworthy that usually four-wheel drive jeeps are used in mountainous regions.