Chalakudy is the paradise for nature lovers. The town of Chalakudy serves as base camp for all the travelers from India and abroad. The town is also well connected by road and railways to other parts of the country. Many of the famous tourist places are easily accessible from Chalakudy. The best season to visit Chalakudy is from December to March. Let’s see here some of the tourist places which are accessible from Chalakudy.
Major Tourist Attractions of Chalakudy
Chalakudy River is otherwise known as Chalakudy Puzha and is the fourth longest river in Kerala. The river flows through three districts of Kerala namely Ernakulam, Palakkad and Thrissur. The river originates in Anamalai region of Tamil Nadu and is the collection of tributaries that have originated from Kuriyarkutti, Parambikulam, Karapara, Anakayam and Sholayar in Kerala. It joins the Periyar River near Puthenvelikkara. The river comes with a drainage area of 1704 sq km. In Kerala, 1404 sq km of river lies and in Tamil Nadu remaining 300 sq km is found. The River comes with a length of 145.5 km. Though the Chalakudy River is the tributary of Periyar River it is treated as a separate river by the Government as well as other agencies. According to Hinduism, taking a dip in the river during auspicious days is considered holy.
Chalakudy River is one of the fewest rivers of Kerala where the riparian vegetation is done at substantial level. Chalakudy River is also rich in aquatic life and also the richest river in fish diversity. It also comes with thick vegetation on either side. The same is also certified by National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) Lucknow. The river contains 104 species of fresh water fishes out of 152 species found in Kerala. Of the fish species found in Chalakudy River, Cyprinids, Bagrid catfishes and Bagrid catfishes are the species rich family. Out of the 104 fish species, 35 are endemic species belonging to the Western Ghats. In this 31 are of either vulnerable (11), endangered (16) or critically endangered (4) from indiscriminate collection of the aquarium overfishing, fish trade, dams, introduced species and overfishing.
From the riparian forests of the Chalakudy River, it is revealed that a riparian vegetation of more than 10 metres width is spread over an area of 10.5 Km downstream from Perigalkuth and it covers an area of 58.5 hectares. Out of the total area covered 26.4 hectares lie within the Vazachal area which includes the three large islands that densely covered by the riparian forests. The riparian forests area has been completely covered by riparian vegetation species of plants in addition to the evergreen as well as semi-evergreen species. Out of the total 319 species of flowering plants found from the study area, 24 are endemic species of the Western Ghats and ten of them are endangered as well as rare.
Chalakudy River is also known for two popular waterfalls, the Athirapally falls and Vazhachal falls. Sholayar Hydro Electric Project as well as Peringalkuttu Hydro Electric Project is also found on this river. Thumboormoozhy Dam was constructed on this river for irrigation. There is also a dam situated on the tributary of the Chalakudy River called Parambikulam and the dam is named after the tributary and called as Parambikulam Dam. The Chalakudy River merges with the Periyar River adjacent to Manjali of North Paravur, Ernakulam District.
Thrissur District, Kerala
Waterfalls in and near Chalakudy
The Chalakudy town is situated on the banks of Chalakudy River and there are many waterfalls, dams, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. found in and around Chalakudy. Let’s see the major waterfalls and dams found here.
Athirapally Waterfalls is otherwise known as “Suren Chellakutti Falls”. It is situated in the Athirapally panchayath in Thrissur district, Kerala. It is situated on the southwest coast of India. The waterfalls is located on the westward flowing Chalakudy River near Vazhachal Forest Division as well as the Sholayar ranges. This 2-metre (80 ft) waterfall along with the Vazhachal falls is quite famous tourist spot. Athirapally Falls is the largest waterfall in Kerala and it is also called as “The Niagara of India”.
The Chalakudy river, which is some 145 kilometres long, originates in the Anaimudi mountains of Western Ghats. The river flows through the Vazhachal forest and reaches the Arabian Sea. Though the river runs smoothly at the beginning but as it reaches Athirapally it becomes turbulent. At Athirapally, the water surges around big rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. The river continue to remain turbulent until it reaches Kannamkuzhi which is at 1 kilometre. Once it reaches Kannamkuzhi, it slows down and becomes calm until the dam at Thumburmuzhi.
The forest that surrounds the waterfalls is rich in flora and fauna. Some of the animals found here are tiger, Asiatic Elephant, leopard, sambar, lion tailed macaque and bison. The 180 metres unique riparian forest is found only in the Athirapally-Vazhachal area. Here, the tourists can also spot all the four South Indian species of hornbills i.e. great hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill, Indian grey hornbill and Malabar pied hornbill. In case, the proposed 163 MW Athirapally hydroelectric project is set up, then these unique birds will vanish as their habitat would be submerged into the water.
Teak, eucalyptus and bamboo plantations are found in the area. Environmentalists state that Athirapally has the one of the kind of riparian ecosystem in Kerala. The Vazhachal forest is also declared as second most diverse area in the state by V S Vijayan Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board as well as former Director of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore. The International Bird Association has also declared it an “Important Bird Area” and the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has recommended to set up a national park or sanctuary. The Wildlife Trust of India also has called it one of the best elephant conservation areas. “Any disruption to this fragile ecosystem will spell disaster” as stated by Mr V S Vijayan. The river also provides habitat for 85 species of fresh water fishes and 35 of the species are of endemic. This is the ideal place to find most of the animals in wild.
Chalakudy Town, Thrissur, Kerala
How to Reach Athirapally Waterfalls
The nearest railway station to the Athirapally waterfalls is the Chalakudy railway station situated at 30 Kms and the nearest airport is the Kochi International Airport situated at 55 Kms southwest of the waterfalls. From Chalakudy, Athirapally could be reached easily by taxi or bus available from the Chalakudy private bus terminal. Since Athirapally is situated on the highways that connect Tamil Nadu and Kerala amidst the thick forest, it is not advisable to travel at night.
On journey from Chalakudy to Athirapally falls, the tourists will see beautiful landscapes that are full of small villages, lush green trees and winding roads. The visitors can reach the top of the waterfall through a paved path that wind through thick bamboo clusters. Similarly, the visitors can reach the bottom of the falls through a steep narrow path. The falls is quite attractive during the monsoon season that spans from June to September and every year nearly seven million tourists visit this place.
Vazhachal Falls is also located on the west flowing Chalakudy River. It is situated near the Vazhachal Forest Division as well as the edge of Sholayar ranges and is situated 5 Kms away from the Athirapally waterfalls.
Chalakudy Town, Thrissur, Kerala
Sholayar Dam is also built across Chalakudy River and it is a concrete dam. The dam comes with main Sholayar Flanking, Sholayar Dam and Sholayar Saddle Dam. This dam was built by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and also comes with Sholayar Hydro Electric Power Project which is owned by KSEB. The dam consists of two reservoirs. The first one is easily accessible by the tourists and is called as Upper Sholayar Dam and the second one is situated in the deep forest and is called as Lower Sholayar Dam.
Thrissur District, Kerala
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 285 sq kilometers and is a protected area situated in the Chittur taluk of Palakkad district, Kerala. The wildlife sanctuary was set up in 1973. It is the part of the Anamalai Hills sub-cluster of Western Ghats. Recommendations are made for it to be declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is situated at Kerala-Tamil Nadu border between Neliampathy and Anamalai ranges. The wildlife sanctuary’s elevation ranges from 984 ft to 4593 ft. This sanctuary was also declared as tiger reserve in 2009.
This sanctuary consists of seven major valleys as well as three major river systems and also has man-made reservoirs like Parambikulam, Peruvaripallam and Thunacadavu. The dams found here are interconnected by canals and rivers. The highest peak of the sanctuary is Karimala Gopuram which has an elevation of 4,718 ft. However, the Vengoli peak is quite popular among tourists as it is easy to climb and from here the Nilgiri Tahrs are quite visible for them to see.
The sanctuary is also quite rich in flora and comprises various trees such as sandalwood, rosewood and teak trees. The sanctuary also houses the oldest teak trees in the world. The major attraction of the sanctuary is Kannimara teak tree which is around 350 years old.
The sanctuary is also rich in fauna as it is the home to 39 species of mammals, 268 species of birds, 16 species of amphibians, 61 species of reptiles, 1049 species of insects, 124 species of butterflies and 47 species of fishes. In the reservoir of the forests, the tourists can see a wide range of aquatic fauna which includes mugger crocodiles on the banks.
Apart from wildlife spotting as well as boating in the river, the tourists can indulge in trekking along the Cochin State Forest Tramway which is defunct now. This tramway was set up in 1905 by the Maharajas of Cochin for the transportation of teak from Parambikulam to Cochin harbor and it is an engineering marvel. However, the tramway was stopped in 1953 and the remains of rails, wagons, bridges are found along the narrow gauge railway. The tourists can also go for trekking along this track which will take two days to complete the entire trekking.
The sanctuary is open throughout the year and it could be visited from 7 am to 6 pm. However, entry to the sanctuary is closed at 4 pm. They also charge a nominal entry fee from the tourists as well as for their vehicles. It is ideal not to visit the sanctuary during the monsoon period which stretches from June to August as the rain makes the hillsides unsafe. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from August to January. Parambikulam is also home to indigenous communities such as Kadar, Muduvar, Malasar and Malamalasar. Malamalasars follow a unique ritual i.e. when someone dies they do not cremate or bury the corpse instead they leave it in the deep forest for the animals.
Parambikulam also promotes eco-tourism in several ways and the forest department also helps in the promotion of the same. It is ideal to take the help of the forest officer when you go to monitor the wildlife from the watchtowers and the best place in the sanctuary to watch the wildlife is Anakkal Vayal which is very popularly known as ‘dining table of Parambikulam Tigers’. The tourists can also go for bird watching and the popular place is Kuriarkutty where the legendary ornithologist Dr Salim Ali stayed for three years. The tourists can also sail down the river in the bamboo houseboat made by the tribal or try eco-meditation deep in the pristine forest. It is ideal to take the help of the forest officers for eco-tourism tours.
For the adventure lovers, the best option is to stay in the reserve forest area in Thoonakkadavu. State forest department rest houses are available at Thoonakkadavu, Elathode and Thellikkal and are quite comfortable to stay. The sanctuary also comes with “Tented Niches” which are also quite good. It is managed by a joint venture of Tourism Department, Kerala Forest Department and the seven Eco Development Committees which perform under Parambikulam Forest Development Agency. The eco-friendly cottages are twin bedded Swiss tents that come with modern attached baths. For the Thellikkal inspection bungalow, the tourists need to go on trekking for 8 Km as it is situated deep inside the forest. Only basic meals are available in the lodges. For all those who travel into sanctuary, it is ideal to carry the food.
Prambikulam Wildlife sanctuary
Pollachi, Tamil Nadu 642 001
How to Reach Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is closest to Pollachi, Coimbatore and Palakkad. From Coimbatore and Palakkad, the tourists can reach via Pollachi and topslip. Nearest airport to the sanctuary is the Coimbatore airport. The nearest railway station to the sanctuary is the Palakkad railway station and is well connected by road and several public buses and private transportation are available to reach the sanctuary. The nearest airport is the Coimbatore airport. From Chalakudy it is 148 kms away and takes three hours and 8 minutes to reach the sanctuary via the NH 47. It is to be noted that Chalakudy is well connected to other parts of the state by road and railways.
Temples and Churches in Chalakudy
The majority of population found in Chalakudy is Christians followed by Hindus and Muslims. Hence, there are many temples and churches in Chalakudy. Some of the important temples and churches found here are:
Kadampuzha Devi Temple
Kadampuzha Devi Temple is a Hindu temple as well as a pilgrimage centre situated at Kadampuzha, Malappuram District in Kerala. The temple is dedicated to goddess Durga. The temple does not have any idol and the poojas are performed at a hole which is 6 cm in diameter. It is believed that the Devi had disappeared into that hole after giving her darshan to Adi Sankaracharya. Karthigai Day during the month of Vrischikam (November – December) is considered as an important day and is being celebrated in a grand manner. The deity is said to be more powerful on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Annadana is made daily at the temple. Plastic bags are not allowed in the temple and the devotees offering coconut are to carry it in non-plastic bags.
The temple is owned by Malabar Devaswom Board which comes under Kerala Government. However, it is being administered by a trust consisting of Hindu-Variar family and is of non-hereditary co-opted trustees. Another temple found in the vicinity of Kadampuzha Devi Temple is Madambiyar Kavu Temple. It was originally constructed as well as maintained by the Thekkencheri Nair family. The idol worshipped here is Lord Shiva in Kirata incarnation.
The two main daily rituals followed at the temple are Poomoodal and Muttarukkal. Poomoodal is the covering of the deity with freshly picked Thecchi flowers. This is done daily from 9.00 am to 11.00 am after that the temple is closed following the morning poojas. Muttarukkal is performed by breaking coconuts before the deity by the pujari into two equal parts. It is believed that it wards off any problems in devotees’ life. The word itself means “keeping away problems”. In case, the coconut is not broken in two halves then another coconut is broken and the process goes on until the coconuts break into two equal halves. It is believed that with the breaking of coconut in two equal parts the Devi solves the problem of the devotees. This offering is done every day in the morning between 05.00 a.m. and 07.00 a.m. On Sundays, it is also done in the afternoon between 1500 hrs and 1745 hrs.
According to prasanam conducted at the temple, it is 1900 years old temple and is dedicated to Goddess Vanadurga. According to the local legend, Adi Sankaracharya who was passing through Kadampuzha which was then a forest and deserted place saw a bright light coming from the cavity in the ground and he came to understand the presence of a divine power and built a small temple for the Devi here.
Another legend says that God Shiva and Goddess Parvathi took the form of hunter and huntress to test Arjuna who was performing penance to Lord Shiva to get the pasupathastra. Knowing this Duryodana thought it as an ideal time to kill Arjuna and sent a wild boar to kill him. Both Arjuna and Shiva shot arrows at the boar which killed it. Both of them had an argument as to who killed it. Enraged Arjuna shot arrows on the hunter which turned into flowers and Arjuna got to know that it was Lord Shiva. He immediately prostrated to Lord Shiva and begged to forgive him. Lord Shiva who was pleased by this gesture blessed him and bestowed with him the pasupathastra. Every year thousands of devotees throng this temple.
Kadampuzha Devi Temple
The Executive Officer,
Malappuram District, Kerala
How to reach Kadampuzha Devi Temple
The temple is easily reachable from the Calicut International Airport. The nearby railway stations are Thirur and Kuttipuram. Both the railway stations are 18 Km away from the temple. Buses are also yet another good option to reach the temple. Only few buses run to the temple. Hence, it is ideal to hire taxi or cab to reach the temple. Buses to the temple are normally taken from Guruvayur, Manjeri, Palghat, Nilambur and Calicut. If the people are travelling from other places then they need to get down at Vettichira on NH 17. From there, auto rickshaws could be hired as the temple is only 2 Kms away.
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Ambalapuzha in Alappuzha district, Kerala. It is believed that the temple was built during 15th to 17th century AD by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran. Chembakassery was renamed as Ambalapuzha later. The presiding deity of the temple is Parthasarathi who carries a whip in the right hand and a conch (sacred Shanku) in the left. This temple is also associated with the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. It is said that during the raids of Tipu Sultan in the year 1789, the idol of the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna temple was brought to this temple for safe keeping. The pal payasam served in this temple is quite popular among the Hindu devotees. The sweet pudding is prepared with rice, sugar and milk and it is believed that Lord Sree Krishna reaches the temple during the pal payasam Neivedyam every day to have the same.
The paintings of the dasavatharam are displayed on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. The temple is of great importance for the pilgrims and it is opened from 3.00 a.m. to 12.30 pm and 5.00 pm to 8.00 p.m. Click Here to Read More about the Temple
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
Kerala 688 561
How to reach Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha is a small town that is situated 13 kilometres away from the Alappuzha town on the NH 47. The temple is situated 1.5 kilometres towards the eastern side of the temple. Several Kerala State Transport buses run between Alappuzha to Ambalapuzha. The nearest railway station is Ambalapuzha which is two kilometers away and the pilgrims also can get down at Alappuzha and from there they can take the KSRTC busses of hire a taxi or a cab. The nearest airport is that of Trivandrum International Airport which is some 139 Kms away.
St Mary’s Forane Church
This church is dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary and is 10 Kms away from the Kottayam which is the hub of Christian life of central Kerala since early 9th century. It is to be noted that this church is one of the biggest parishes of the Archeparchy of Changanassery. The total number of faithful to the church exceeds 10000.
St Mary’s Forane Church
Kottayam, Kerala 686 562
Pisharikkal Bhagavathy Temple
One of well-known temple of the 108 Durgalayas is Kadalassery Pisharikkal Temple. This temple is said to be about 1000 years old. The temple consists of two main idols. One of them is the Vanadurga and the other is the Bhagavathy. All the devotees coming here mention this divine God as Bhadrakali Amman. It is believed that the temple is surrounded by a divine aura. It is also believed that the Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavathy Amman which is yet another popular Durga shrine in Kerala resides here. The main idol of the temple holds a conch as well as a wheel in her hand. Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapathy are also worshipped at this temple. Uthram Pattu, a song worship on Uthiram day and a delicacy made with jack fruit (Chakka Ada) are the main offerings to the Goddess.
Kadalassery Pisharikkal Bhagavathi enjoys the starting role in all the rituals. Wherever araattu is held for this Bhagavathy that should be the first araattu there i.e. if Oorakathammathiruvady is to start the pooram then Pisharikkal Amma should reach there. Also Ammathiruvady will take holy bath only at the ghats where Pisharikkal Amma had the Araattu. The first Pooram Purappad during the Peruvanam Araattupuzha Pooram (Karthika Purappad) is held here. During Araattupuzha Peruvanam Pooram, the first ritual (kodikayattam), first pooram and first araattu is held here for this deity. The first araattu on the day of Araattupuzha pooram at mandaram Kadavu is conducted during the holy muhoortham i.e. the Chothy Nakshathram reaches the summit. All the deities in the temple are considered to participate in the holy araattu. In order to take part in this araattu the athazha pooja in many temples are done during the day time itself. It is also believed that on the pooram night Ganga does not have any holiness as Ganga takes part in the araattu of Kadalassery Pishaikkal Bhagavathy at Araattupuzha.
The annual festival of this temple falls on the Malayalam month of Meenam i.e. during March and April. The festival starts on the Makayiram day and ends with the araattu that takes place during Araattupuzha festival. Another important festival celebrated here is the Thalapoli during which young girls carry the plate with oil lamp, turmeric, flowers, etc. This is celebrated on the Atham day of the festival. Navarathri, Karthika day in the month of Vrischikam and Makara Chowwa are the other important festivals celebrated here. The temple opens for the darshan from 4.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Pisharikkal Bhagavathy Temple
Ashtimchira Chalakudi Road, Chalakudy, Kerala 680 722
How to reach Pisharikkal Bhagavathy Temple
The nearest airport is the Cochin international airport that is situated 22 Kms away from Chalakudy. Chalakudy railway station is the nearest railway station. The temple is situated near the government hospital in Chalakudy between Angamaly and Thrissur and is 50 Kms away from Ernakulam. Chalakudy town has KSRTC bus station as well as private bus station. The KSRTC station plies buses between inter-district as well as inter-state buses whereas the private station runs local bus service in the suburbs of Chalakudy.
Kanakamala is a village situated near Chalakudy town and it is also the name of the hill that is situated here. The hill is of 3000 feet height and is part of western Ghats.
Thrissur District, Kerala 670 675
Amusement and Waterparks in Chalakudy
Chalakudy River is also utilized for setting up various water theme park and parks in and around Chalakudy town. Chalakudy serves as base camp for the visitors to access many such parks.
Dream World Water Theme Park
Dream World Water Theme Park is situated close to the Athirapally waterfalls and it is also in proximity to the other nearby attractions of Thumboormuzhy, Sholayar and Vazhachal. The Theme park is designed in such a way that tourists of any age group can enjoy all the amusement rides without any hassle. At the entrance of the park huge dragons are built which attracts the tourists. The floor of the park is built with tiles and lawns which enables the tourists to walk barefoot. Read More
The Silver Storm Water Theme Park is situated 19 Kms from Chalakudy Junction and the nearest railway station is Chalakudy Railway Station. From the railway station, the tourists can hire taxi or cab. There are also buses operated by KSRTC as well as private owners. Chalakudy is also well connected with other major cities of the state. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport which is connected with domestic as well as international airports.
Kauthuka Park, The Park of intrigue is the brain child of Mr Varkey Veliyath, who sensed the harmony in nature. The park is spread across 1.25 acres of of ancestral property of Mr Varkey Veliyath. This park is situated on the way to Athirapally waterfalls. Mr Varkey Veliyath’s wife and his daughter also joined him in creating this park. Here the tourists will see the peaceful co-existence of sworn predators which live here harmoniously and feed on what is provided to them.
The park is not a plain land but consists of rivulets, caves, ancient ponds with crystal clear water where fish of various hues and sizes are found. It makes the tourists to feel that they have entered into the remote habitat of the Nature. The tourists will be taken around the park by Mr Varkey or his family members. In the Kauthuka Park the birds and animals roam freely and are not in captivity. Read More
Potta PO, Chalakudy Via, Thrissur District, Kerala
Thumboormuzhi Dam and Butterfly Park
Yet another popular place in Thrissur District is Thumboormuzhi Dam and Butterfly Park. It is located 55 Kms from Thrissur on the way to Athirapally waterfalls. The dam is built across the Chalakudy River and the park is found situated on the banks of the river. The dam on then Chalakudy river diverts the water for irrigation purposes. Here, the water of the river is split into Edathukara canal and valathukara canal which means left side canal and right side canal. During summer all the waters of the dam are diverted towards the canals and the river bed would be visible for the tourists.
It is to be noted that Thumboormuzhi is a natural habitat of butterflies. All species of butterflies in the world are found here at Thumboormuzhi. Tourists for sure will enjoy the nature at its best and they will also experience how the nature’s two different creations converse with each other i.e. the butterfly and the flower. The tourists can find 148 species of butterflies are seen in the park. It is ideal to visit the park early in the morning so that the tourists can see bigger butterfly that looks like birds. During monsoon the biggest butterflies visit the park which is the unique feature of this park. Some of the butterflies found in this park are lemon butterfly, southern bird wing, common rose, light blue tiger and dark blue tiger.
Most of the plants grown here are for feeding the butterflies. Some of the plants found here are Pagoda flowers, rattlepods, Mexican heather or Hawaiian heather, Rubieceae, flame lily or fire lily, heliotropium keralense (medicinal plants), etc. The park provides the tourists with river view, a beautiful garden, virgin forest view and children’s park. The tourists will also find DTPC restaurant, snack bar, bathing ghats, washrooms, Chinese pavilion and parking areas. The park charges an entrance fee of Rs 10/- for adult and Rs 5/- for children.
Thumboormuzhi Dam and Butterfly Park
Malakkapara Tea Gardens
The Malakkapara village is located in the Thrissur district of Kerala state. Though the village is rich in natural beauty, it remains unexplored. The village also comes under lesser developed regions of the state. But the village is quite famous as it has the Tata Company’s tea estate. The forest area of the village is maintained by the Kerala Forest Department. The tourists will also find many endangered and rare species of flora and fauna at this village. The village is situated on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border on the Anakkam-Valparai route which runs via Chalakudy. Here adventurous family safaris through the deep forest and the Western Ghats are organized. The route also comes with lots of hairpin curves. The fascinating Malakkapara tea estate is a feast to your eyes.