Nature takes the pristine beauty of Palukachippara in Kannur a notch higher, when mist envelops these enchanting hills. One gets a feeling that the hills, cocooned in the thick mist, are beckoning the visitors.
If you want to experience this surreal experience, make sure to be atop Palukachippara before dawn. The zephyr and the slight coldness will caress everyone visiting this nature’s hidden gem. The hill is the ideal destination for those who want to visit a place that is not frequented much by travellers.
Palukachippara, which is situated at Malur near Mattanur, is very much now on the tourism map of Kannur. As the authorities have put in place facilities for trekking, one could scale the hill to enjoy nature’s beauty, relax on the rocks and take a whiff of fresh air and to get a bird’s eye view of the green paradise.
The sought-after location is spread across the Kottiyoor and Kelakam panchayats. The hills got the name Palukachippara as the look like a traditional hearth with three hills literally standing tall close to each other.
The hills, which are nearly 2,347ft above sea level, are part of the Western Ghats. The major part of Palukachippara lies in the Kottiyoor panchayat and the remaining in the Kelakam panchayat.
The clamour to make Palukachippara a tourist destination got louder in 1998 and the demand was to put the hills under the ambit of ecotourism project.
Though the state tourism department had tried many times on that front, nothing concrete materialized. After 10 years, the tourism potential of Palukachippara was highlighted when the road connecting Kottiyoor with Palukachippara was developed under the Prime Minister’s road scheme.
But it took another 15 years for the ecotourism project to get underway with the facilities for trekking. The project, which is under the control of the state forest department, is taking off following the productive moves of both the Kottiyoor and Kelakam panchayats.
The main roads
Four main roads lead to the hills. You can reach the mesmerizing hills after travelling for 3.6km from Kottiyoor town and after crossing the Bavali River.
One has to board a four-wheel drive vehicle to cover the remaining distance to reach the base camp. During monsoon season, journey on foot is the only way out to cover the unlaid stretch.
The second route to Palukachippara is from Chungakunnu in Kottiyoor panchayat. On this route too, there is proper road only for 2km and the distance to the base camp is 3.6km. The third road connecting the hills is from the Kelakam panchayat. The 16km stretch from Kelakam town will touch Adakkathode and Shantigiri before reaching Palukachippara. The fourth road that leads to the hills starts from Erattathode in Kottiyoor. The route, which is 14km long, will take you to Shantigiri via Vendekkumchal in Kelakam panchayat.
The area coming under the Palukachippara ecotourism project is controlled by the state forest department. The vehicles can easily access the base camp during the summer season.
One has to take tickets before trekking, and there is also a cloak room for the convenience of the visitors. The state forest department and an association of the local residents have the responsibility to protect the forest as it is an ecotourism project. After the inauguration of the project the other day, people’s representatives, visitors, and officials of the forest and police departments had gone for a trek on the hills.