Saturday, June 4, 2011

Palamalai - the Quaint little hilltop temple

Quite often we plan and go to so called exotic and extravagant places, yet we fail to discover and see great gems of places that are right next to our backyard. Palamalai, some 25 Km from my hometown Coimbatore is one such beautiful place. Visited only by some regulars of the temple, not many in Coimbatore visit this place, if at all they have even heard about this place. Palamalai is a quaint little village atop a hill about 25 km from Coimbatore, and is known more for its temple - Arulmigu Palamalai Aranganadhar Thirukkovil, (A Perumal (Vishnu) Temple) than its hilly locale. I have heard that the route was bad, but when I had visited – June 2011, the road was freshly laid, and was in best shape. The road can take you right upto the temple and you need not walk any further.

The route is as follows : Coimbatore ==> Mettupalayam road ==> Periayanayakan pirivu ==> Kovanur ==> Palamalai

After Kovanur, there doesn’t seem to be any human inhabitation and the roads are completely empty and peaceful. The road atop the hills is very good and even had a few hair pin bends on the way. After some 6/7 Km of winding hill roads amidst some scenic views, I reached the Top of the hill.

Route from coimbatore to Palamalai:

View Larger Map

The top of the hill reveals the large temple, nearby tea shops, and a few boys playing cricket with a bunch cut coconut tree branches.  At the top, you get fooled that the entire place is just about the single Temple which forms the central pivot of the place, though it is true, there is also an entire village that came after a ride down the road a further 1 Km. However we rather parked our bike at the temple and walked about on our foot to discover more. 

Farmyards along the way

Road near kovanur

Farther from Kovanur

Snapped En-route

Empty road stretch

Hair pin bend no 1

Viewpoint along the way

Cricket alongside temple

Bike parking area..!

Path to Theppakkulam..

The Theppakkulam

Near the theppakkulam

House along side the village

Lake near the village

MGR's midday meal hut
Whers my Midday meal...!

village backyard

yet another viewpoint
We enquired a few villagers around. We heard that there is a Temple pond / ‘Theppakkulam’ once you go down a small path behind the temple. A walk down this path for about a Km took us to this rather deserted and beautiful theppakkulam amidst thick cover of trees. We further ventured ahead towards the villages and small settlements and were surprised to find a beautiful lake alongside as well. The settlements were completely serene with hardly any one around to be seen. There was even a small elementary school with barely 10 students, we saw more of them infact queuing up for the free midday food than any class at all. A complete roundabout walk around the village lead us back to the main temple. A brief visit inside the temple gave a glimpse about the its history, where all we could find was that the temple was quite old and full of stories, hinting that it would be a must visit place for any ardent temple visitor. Further walk lead us to few more view points for our cameras. The local tea shop nearby served hot and spicy ‘black ginger tea’ (sukku kaapi !) which went just right with the Ragi thattu vada. This was the only place I have seen Ragi vada which tasted very good indeed.

After spending about 2.5 hours exploring the place we started back having spent one of our most satisfied and peaceful time of our lives.