The Palakkad village on the Kerala – Tamil Nadu border is famous for its 45,000 hectares of mango orchards, the largest mango producer in Kerala. With Rs.200 crore worth export each season, the mangoes from here reach the global markets first, much earlier before its competitors Peru and Venezuela make a move. The harvest season in Muthalamada begins by February end and goes on till the end of July. Muthalamada, a sleepy village in Palakkad bordering Tamil Nadu, is predominantly known for its vast stretch of mango farms Muthalamada is the land of aromatic juice mangoes.
The rise of Muthalamada as an export hub has boosted mango tourism too. A place where all favorite varieties – Alphonso, Neelam, Banganapilly, Mallika, Malgova, Suvarnarekha, Sindhooram and Kalapadi - are available, a Muthalamada visits should definitely include a walk along the orchards, tasting juicy fruits and watching the farming activities.
Thousands of people earn a living by working in these orchards every season as pluckers,sorters and packers. Mango lovers from Palakkad,Pollachi and Coimbatore visits the place to buy their favorite varieties of fruits directly from the farms at reasonable rates.
Climate change, especially drought and unseasonal rains, is a challenge to mango cultivators. Drought hits the harvest as mangoes fall from trees much before it ripens. If the trees get rains in December and January the harvest begins in early January; Only in Peru and Bolivia does mango harvest happen that early every year. The high quality, taste and early arrival on international market make Muthalamada mangoes good export orders and high price. Muthalamada can be easily accessed by rail and road. There is a picturesque railway station in Muthalamada on the Palakkad – Pollachi rail line.A visit to the mango orchards there will be a memorable experience.
Mangoes for export are collected in nets from the closely planted trees of medium heights. Strict quality control is ensured for these export quality mangoes, which are sent to the Gulf and European markets, apart from metros Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Indore. Muthalamada mangoes are also getting wide acclaim for their flavour, taste, and juiciness.
Muthalamada will be for a different reason to view the most picturesque and eco friendly railway station on the Palakkad – Pollachi broad gauge rail line. Tourist can reach Muthalamada station by 10 am in the Amrita Express from Palakkad Junction.
Giant trees like banyan, casuarinas, veetti, mango and even coconut trees make this tiny station heavely. Most trees are positioned between platforms one and two. There five huge banyan trees on the platform with chirping birds and squirrels offer shade to the rail commuters. The hanging thick prop roots make the banyan trees look stunning. As the number of trains and passengers are very less, the platforms and tracks are very clean. Wandering along the twin platforms, you get a whiff of fresh air and breeze. The shady trees keep the platforms cool even during hot afternoons.Palakkad’s iconic Palmyra clusters can be seen from the platforms amid teak and eucalyptus. Adjacent to the main station complex is a small heritage building part of the old station.
The station is a popular gathering spot of people of all ages. Women come here with their little cones to rest and relax while children swing on the prop roots. One notable feature of the language diversity among the people as you can pick up conversations in both Malayalam and Tamil. The name of the station is written in for languages which is a very rare scene in Kerala. The station was a major location in movies like Megham and Vettam.
Muthalamada railway station is the most scenic one in South India and a tourist attraction. More than trains, what links people here is the love and bonding they share during their happy hours in this green spot.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi