Etymology and History
Palakkad was also known as Palakkattussery. Some etymologists trace the word "Palakkad" from the word Palai nilam, which means "dry lands". The commonly held belief, however, is that the name is a fusion of two words, Pala, a tree that is found abundantly in Palakkad, and Kadu, which means forest.
Not much is known about Palakkad's ancient history. It dates back to the Paleolithic period, and several megalithic relics have been found in the region. At the turn of the first millenium AD, for several hundred years the Perumals ruled the land. Later their governors called Utayavars took possession of this land and divided it among themselves. William Logan, the Scottish author of the celebrated Malabar Manual , suggests that one of the hubs of the Pallavas of Kanchi invaded Malabar in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
One of the earliest records about Palakkad has a chronicle of a war victory in A.D 988 when the king of Palakkad, Nedumpurayur Nadudayavar, stopped an invasion by the forces of the King of Kongunadu at Chittur. Even today, a festival is celebrated in memory of this victory at Chittur. The Nedumpurayur royal family was later known as Tarur Swaroopam and finally as Palakkad Raja Swaroopam.
In 1757, to check the invasion of the Zamorin of Calicut, the Raja of Palakkad sought the help of Hyder Ali of Mysore, who freed all parts of Palakkad invaded by the Zamorin. Eventually, Haider helped himself to Palakkad and later his son Tipu Sultan was the unquestioned ruler of this region. But after his defeat to the British, Tipu ceded all his Malabar territories to the British following the treaty with the English East India Company in 1872. Palakkad formed part of the Malabar District of the Madras Presidency thereafter.