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Of serenity and scenery

Endless greenery, unique temples, interesting festivals and wildlife reserves make Pollachi in Tamil Nadu an intriguing destination. Part 17 of an Outlook special on lesser-known destinations in the state.

Verdant fields as far as the eye can see, swaying coconut palms, and far in the horizon, the Western Ghat mountains – Pollachi seems like a scene from a film. With its picturesque character, Pollachi is a favoured filming spot, especially for village scenes. 

Located in Coimbatore district, Pollachi sits in the middle of an agricultural region. Orchards of coconuts and dates, interspersed with vegetable fields make Pollachi a commercial hub – it is the second-biggest sandhai (market) in the country. For tourists looking for a serene, scenic and off-beat destination, Pollachi is fast becoming a favourite. 

Temple tales
To soak in some history, myth and spirituality, two temples in the vicinity are significant. One is the Sri Arulmigu Subramania Swamy Temple, built between the 12th and 13th centuries in honour of Lord Subramaniyar. The temple is a prime example of skilled sculpture work. The idol is carved from a single stone. This temple is the hub of several celebrations and festivals such as Soorasamharam and Thai Pusam. 

The Masani Amman temple here is one of the most unique in India. Built upon a cremation ground, with the sanctum sanctorum also built on the cremation area, the idol is seven feet long and in a sleeping position, with her head towards the East and her feet facing the West. 

Reserved for wildlife
Pollachi is in close proximity to the famous Anamalai Tiger Reserve. This protected area in the Anamalai hills spreads across 960 square kilometres, with a buffer area of about 1480 square kilometres. 

The Reserve, with its fauna and flora, is a fair representative of the region. It supports diverse habitat types including unique ones such as montane grasslands, savannah and marshy grasslands. Man-made teak plantations, exotics such as eucalyptus, wattle, pines and a deep fresh water ecosystem created by the construction of Parambikulam Aliyar dam add to its diversity. The Reserve supports a healthy population of several endangered wild animals and the presence of more than 25 tigers underscores the ecosystem’s health. The road to the Reserve is full of scenic spots – we highly recommend hiring a bike for the duration. 

Falls and hills
The scene of many film shootings, Thirumoorthy hills and the Panchalinga waterfalls are famous also for the Amanalingeswarar temple and the picturesque Thirumoorthy Dam. Located in a perfect spot, the dam is surrounded on all sides by paddy fields, coconut groves and sunflower gardens.

Monkey Falls, some 30 kilometres from Pollachi, is a waterfall on the road to Valparai. Falling from a height of 18 metres into a natural pool, Monkey Falls is a favourite of tourists who want to bathe in a serene spot. You can trek up here, through an evergreen forest surrounded by rocky cliffs, enjoying some wonderful views on the way. Prior permission is needed and guided tours are also available. 

Ballooning fun
Every year, a spectacular "Hot-Air Balloon Festival" is held in Pollachi where hot air balloons are displayed and everyone can take rides to enjoy an aerial view of the sylvan surroundings.

Shopping bag stories
The typical Coimbatore cotton sarees are easily available in Pollachi. Jaggery and coconuts are other things you can take home. 

Getting there
By air: Coimbatore is the nearest airport
By rail: Pollachi is well connected to all major cities and towns of South India
By road: The fabulous road network of South India serves Pollachi as well. 

Accommodation
Hotel Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore
No.2, Dr. Nanjappa Road (Opp. Central Bus Stand)
Gandhipuram, Coimbatore - 641 018
Contact: 91 9176995852

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