Palakkad’s Nelliyampathy: An evergreen beauty with a special monsoon charm

Nelliyampathy is dotted with awesome waterfalls during the rainy season. Photo: Representation image/iStock/ePhotocorp

A fascinating destination that springs a surprise or two every time you visit the sought-after tourist spot. It is no wonder that its mist-covered virgin rolling hills and verdant forests have been enthralling travellers for quite some time.

The super-cool Nelliyampathy in Palakkad, which has earned the sobriquet ‘poor man’s Ooty,' is a scenic beauty. Nelliyampathy may be a familiar tourist center to majority of Keralites, but even they would wonder if asked whether they have unraveled the secret layers of this mesmerizing hill station. Tourists say every visit to Nelliyampathy gives a feeling that you are stepping into a new place and that’s why this captivating holiday spot stands out.

Travellers were always in awe of Nelliyampathy nestled on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border as this slice of paradise boasts of natural scenic beauty, expansive tea, coffee and cardamom plantations, and rich diversity of flora and fauna. The enchanting sight of white cotton clouds caressing the Nelliyampathy hills, which are 467m to 1,572m above sea level, from Nenmara town in Palakkad district is simply out-of-the-world. The view of mist-enveloped hills from the blistering plains itself gives a soothing effect to anyone.

The places of interest in Nelliyampathy include the pristine hills, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Seetharkundu viewpoint, Nenmara village, Malampuzha gardens and Pothundi dam. Moreover, the orange orchards of Nelliyampathy are definitely a crowd-puller. Stay at this paradisaical destination can be memorable as there are many quality resorts and hotels that roll out red carpets to guests.

It may be noted that accommodation facilities are also available in plantations on both sides of the road before reaching the picturesque Palagapandi estate. A bungalow that was built by the British in the Palagapandi estate has been refurbished into a private resort and is welcoming travellers.

As Seetharkundu is near the estate, one can reach this quaint place by hailing a jeep vehicle and travelling up to Mampara or by walking while enjoying the wonderful vistas on the way. The Seetharkundu river flows nonchalantly with a natural white noise as if the hills are adorned with anklets.

A new face during monsoons
Nelliyampathy is dotted with awesome waterfalls during the rainy season. Tourists also say that the best time to go for a trek here is during the monsoon season. The place receives good rainfally from June to September.

If you want to experience Kerala in its true monsoon glory, picking a day during this period would be ideal. Just make sure that you stay at a spot that gives a good view to enjoy the rains comfortably and also provide options to experience the weather in a healthy manner.

Lesser-known spots of Nelliyampathy
There are many beautiful but lesser-known places such as Manpara, Kesavanpara, Victoria hill church and Karapara dam, among others. Make it a point to take a deep breath of fresh air after stopping the vehicle on the way to different tourist centers in Nelliyampathy. One could also get a clear view of the Palakkad gap, which is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats, from various locations in Nelliyampathy.

Rich flora and fauna
It is noteworthy that Nelliyampathy has a thriving ecosystem that is home to bison, elephants, leopards and Indian giant squirrels. The birdwatchers can also have a great time as different species of birds could be spotted at this hilly region.

You have to take the road that touches the Pothundi dam to reach Nelliyampathy from Nenmara and maneuver 10 hairpin curves to reach the top. It goes without saying that a tour of Nelliyampathy would help to beat the searing heat of the plains. While going up the hills through the winding road, the bird’s eye view of the rustic plains of the Palakkad district is amazing.  

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