The word 'malampuzha' means 'mountain river' in local language, and you see mountains in the background when you reach Malampuzha. These blue hills are part of the Western Ghats that border Kerala in the east.
Actually, the dam was constructed before Kerala came into existence. The location of the dam was in Malabar which was part of the erstwhile Madras in 1949 when work started. The dam was completed in record time and inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Madras, Kamaraj, in 1955.
Nearly two kilometers long, the dam provides water for irrigation and water supply. In addition to irrigating hundreds of acres of agricultural land, drinking water is supplied to Palakkad and six adjacent panchayaths.
Malampuzha is a tributary of Bharathapuzha, which supplies water to numerous villages before it reaches the Arabian Sea in the west. In extremely dry conditions when the river begins to dry up, shutters of the dam are opened to replenish water levels to feed the river.
Below the dam there is a large garden. The garden is a popular destination for domestic tourists, particularly during weekends. Attractions include a Japanese garden, snake park, rest spots, boating and numerous plants creating neat patterns.
A ropeway passes above and a trip on it is another way to see the garden and dam surroundings. The ropeway is outside the walled garden and you can enjoy the whole panorama, the dam, the lake and the garden from up above without entering the gardens.
Climbing up the dam, you could get panoramic views. On one side you see the reservoir and mountains. On the other are the garden and the green hills in the background. You might also like walking along the long walkway atop the dam. Nearly two kilometers long, the walkway turns almost 90 degree about the middle.
The famous Yakshi sculpture by renowned artist Kanayi Kunhiraman is located here. Yakshi means enchantress and the naked sculpture has caused a lot of controversy. The crocodile sculpture in the garden, on the other hand, has not created any controversy!
There is a snake rescue and rehabilitation center in the garden complex. Managed by the Forests Department, the snake park accommodates several varieties of snake, poisonous and non-poisonous, as well as crocodile species.
Outside the garden complex, there is a fresh water fish aquarium (built in the shape of a fish).
Malampuzha is seven kilometres away from Palakkad Junction railway station (which is actually located at Olavakkode, a Palakkad suburb). If you are coming by air, the nearest airport is Coimbatore in Tamilnadu, 55 kilometres away. From Coimbatore there are frequent buses and trains to Palakkad.
For accommodation, you could stay at the local KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel, or at one of the many hotels in nearby Palakkad. Rates vary from less than INR 1000 to INR 6000 in these hotels.
All the photographs and content of this Web site are Copyright © T. Gopinathan.