Nilambur is laced with natural wonders, structures, dense forests, teak tress and many other places that attract the eye.
Rubber trees and the rubber industry are a generally flourishing business in Kerala and there is a place near Nilambur known as Pullangode, where this rubber industry is set up and can be visited. Being so intertwined with nature and untouched in its natural splendour Nilambur has many luring spots that showcase fresh flowing waterfalls, next to dense thick green forests and one such place is Kallamoola Vallipoola which is situated near Pullangode and houses a number of smaller waterfalls. Whether it is the Amarambalam Reserve Forest or the Chenappady estate or Vaniyambalam which has the famous temple Banasura or Nadukani Churam, Nilambur has a large number of tourist attractions that are not just flavoured with ancient South Indian history and tradition, but make for an ideal rewarding holiday.
Banglavu Kunnu is famous for its winding roads which have ayurvedic herbs planted on both the sides of the cottages. These cottages are now utilised as forest range offices.
Nilambur is home to the most renowned oldest teak plantation, Connolly’s Plot, so named in honour of H.V. Conolly, the then Collector of Malabar, who was instrumental in planting teak across the Nilambur area. Located just two kilometers from Nilambur town, Conolly’s plot spreads over an area of 2.31 hectares, beside the Chaliyar river at Aruvakode. Conolly was assisted in this task of setting up the teak plantation by Shri Chanthu Menon, a subordinate forest officer. Conolly’s plot was raised about a hundred and fifty years ago around 1842-1844 and hence becomes the oldest ever teak plantation in the world. Apart from being known for its tribal settlements, Conolly’s plot houses a rare attraction, the oldest living teak tree, Kannimara, which stands at an imposing 46.5 metres. Also, as a mark of honour and respect, Shri Chanthu Menon was laid to rest at this very teak garden. Ancient in its history and rich in its cultural heritage, Conolly’splot is a must visit site once in Nilambur.
The Teak Museum
Apart from the oldest teak plantation, Nilambur also boasts of the oldest teak museum, located just 4km from the town, on the Nilambur – Ooty state highway. A must visit place, this thematic teak museum was established by the Kerala Forest Research Institute in collaboration with the Kerala Forest Department. The teak museum houses cultural, historical, scientific and aesthetic aspects of teak and anyone visiting this museum has access to learning all these features of teak under one roof. Regarded as the first of its kind and the only one in India, this teak museum has an added specialty, a collection of bamboo trees that welcome you to the museum. The carved teak door at the entrance has a painting of the Kannimara teak, the oldest living teak tree. A fascinating abundance of exciting information on this wonder tree attracts a multitude of tourists to the museum. Among other exhibits, the most interesting is a life-size replica of the trunk and root system of the largest known teak tree in the Malaytoor region. Logs of ancient trees have been preserved and a world of literature is available in the library.
Bio Resources Park
Lush green forest tracts, medicinal plant garden, ferns and orchids, and an exclusive butterfly park are what make up part of the five-acre large Bio Resources Nature Park in Nilambur, situated just four kilometers from the town. Apart from being the first of its kind in the country, the Bio Resources Nature Park also has several conservation theme areas with special importance given to endemic and endangered species of Kerala. A walk through this nature park will give you the golden opportunity to see and witness live specimens, learn about their habitat, understand the ecological, social and cultural importance of different plants. Set up at a cost of approximately 40 lakh rupees, this park has areas for thallophytes like algae and macro-fungi; bryophytes; pteridophytes; xerophytes, aquatic, medicinal, ornamental and aesthetic plants like orchids, palms and the like. The collection of plants known as germplasm is beneficial to those engaged in conservation and management of plant biodiversity. Strategically located adjacent to the Teak Museum, the Bio Resources Nature Park at Nilambur is a must visit.
Renowned for its splendid variety of flora and fauna is the famous rain forest called Nedumkayam, situated about 18 kilometres from Nilambur town. Characterized by rich rain forests overflowing with extensive plant and wild life, Nedumkayam boasts of wooden rest houses built by the British, that offer a panoramic view of wild elephants and deer grazing in the nearby forests. A rare sight for people living in this part of the country, tourists can take advantage of this golden opportunity and enjoy exciting views of elephants and deer grazing in the wild. Added attractions include the elephant taming centre located nearby, currently not operational. Elephants are a populous majority in the forests of Nilambur and thus centers that cater to training, taming and protecting these animals become important. One needs to obtain permission from the Kerala Forest Department in order to enter this highly secure and protected forest zone.
Nestled in the land of fresh perennial springs and lush green mountains, Adyanpara is famous for its waterfalls and for the splendor of the wooded jungle surrounding it. This cascading waterfall, a spectacle of unrivalled grandeur, attracts an impressive variety of exotic and migratory birds regularly and is steeped in rich wildlife. The wild beauty of this spectacular waterfall makes it a picturesque picnic spot amidst nature’s bounty. Myth has is that the water in Adyanpara waterfall is purified and has natural medicinal properties. The reason being each drop of this water is filtered by the soil and the water is in direct contact of medicinal plants, their leaves, roots and outer parts. The Kerala Government has proposed to use Adyanpara waterfalls as a source of electricity generation .The water from the waterfalls is being used by surrounding villages for the purpose of agriculture. The rejuvenating sound of water cascading from such a height and the relaxing green forests around are a rare treat to the eye and heart of anyone visiting this waterfall.
Widely known for its inhabitants of potters, and traditional pottery Aruvacode is a small village located near Nilambur. Located on a small hilltop, the potters in Aruvacode are mainly from Andhra Pradesh, and hence their language is not the same as the local language. However with the influx of cheap substitutes villagers began to lose interest in this art form. It was activist designer K B Jinan who led the movement to rekindle their hope and helped retain this art form with a modern touch, by exploring the possibilities of terra-cotta suited for the modern context and thus Kumbham was born. Jinan realized the need for the potters to make a niche for themselves in today’s competitive market. The work of the potters was redefined and that paved the way for a comeback. Today, the potters of Aruvacode make kitchen and household ware in over 500 designs, garden furniture and landscaping products, murals and architectural accessories. These potters design and produce beautiful and innovative products by experimenting with terracotta. Kumbham products are extremely popular in this region of South India and find wide acceptance in households, offices, hotels and resorts.
Central Forest Nursery
Established during the year 1997, the central forest nursery is one of the four central forest nurseries in Kerala. Important species of plantations found here include teak, eucalypts, acacias etc. In an attempt to meet requirements of quality planting stock of teak, eucalyptus and other important plantation species, the central forest nursery is fully equipped to produce rooted cuttings and root trainer seedlings. The nursery is also known for its large quantities of seedling production. Highly recommended for those travellers who are interested in plant life and plantations, this nursery is an essential part of Kerala’s plantation industry.
Nilambur is also widely known for its tribal settlements. Approximately 27 kilometers from the Nilambur town is a place called Mancheri, which is home to a primitive tribe known as the Cholanaickers. One can travel through the dense forests preferably by jeep to reach the home of the Cholanaickers. Besides this tribal group, there is yet another tribal community on the hill tops of Valamthode. Manjeeri Colony is a colony built by the government for the Cholanaikkan, an indigenous forest-dwelling ethnicity. Those interested in the ethnicity of India’s various indigenous tribal groups, their history and culture, Nilambur is an exciting source of information and enlightenment. One can feel the vibes of these ancient tribes and settlements once in Nilambur.
Kovilakams-Residence of the local Rajas
Famous for their beauty and grandeur, Kovilakams are palatial residences of the rulers or rajas of the past days. The term kovilakam is a Malayalam word that denotes the principal manor/estate/palace of a princely lineage of Kerala, India. Nilambur also houses a cluster of such ancient kovilakams steeped in traditional medieval Kerala style architecture. Distinguished by their beautiful frescoes and wood works, kovilakams are particularly large princely manors, symbolising ancient medieval lineage and tradition.
A Kovilakam is usually endowed with estates and properties sufficient for all its constituent members.