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PUNALUR SUSPENSION BRIDGE.jpg

Punalur is the largest Hill City in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the headquarter of Punalur Taluk and Punalur Revenue Division. It's situated in the eastern part of Kollam district of the southern Indian state of Kerala, on the banks of the Kallada River and foothills of the western ghats. It is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) north-east of Kollam and 75 kilometres (47 mi) north of Thiruvananthapuram.

Punalur
Municipality, Taluk and RDO HQ
Punalur Suspension Bridge
Coordinates: 9°01′01″N 76°55′34″E / 9.017°N 76.926°E / 9.017; 76.926Coordinates: 9°01′01″N 76°55′34″E / 9.017°N 76.926°E / 9.017; 76.926
Country India
StateKerala
DistrictKollam
Government
 • TypeLocal
 • BodyMunicipality
Area
 • Total34 km2 (13 sq mi)
Area rank14
Elevation
56 m (184 ft)
Population
 (2011)[1]
 • Total66,702
 • Rank9
 • Density3,337/km2 (8,640/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
691305 to 034
Telephone code0475
Vehicle registrationKL 25
Nearest cityKollam (44 km)
Websitewww.punalurmunicipality.in www.voiceofpunalur.com

It is the second largest City in Kollam District after Kollam and is also one of the biggest and oldest Municipal towns in Kerala, home to a paper industry with the Punalur Paper Mills, established in the 1850s, one of the first industries in Kerala and a pioneer in the industrial revolution of the state. Punalur is also known as the "Pepper City of Kerala". Punalur became an important trading and transport centre between Kollam and Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) under the rule of the Travancore Kingdom. Steady progress by the Punalur Panchayat administration saw an upgrade to municipality status in 1971.

EtymologyEdit

It is believed that Punalur derived its name by the word 'Punal' (river in old Tamil and Malayalam as in "kuruthipunal=river of blood" according to Dr. Hermann Gundert),[citation needed] and "Ooru" (place), referring to the river passing through the town.

HistoryEdit

Punalur is a Municipal City on a mountain path which had good relations with Tamil Nadu to the East from time unknown. Most parts of Punalur taluk were inhabited before the Indus Valley Civilization. Human civilizations existed in Punalur during the Mesolithic period, mainly around Thenmalai (known as Shenduruny). Punalur is described in inscriptions of Mithranandpuram and Vellayani. Until 1734, Punalur was under the direct rule of the Ilaydathu Swaroopam. Later it was annexed by Marthanda Varma and came under the rule of Travancore. The British Raj established a good hold over this part of India due to its rich agricultural resources.

Historically, Shenduruny has a rich heritage. A recent study conducted by Dr. P. Rajendran[2]], archaeological research associate of the Poona Deccan College, has resulted in the excavation of the remains of Stone Age culture from a large cave situated at the north western part of the Shenduruny (Kallada) River. It was proved that these remains belong to the Mesolithic period. This study brought out the fact that the Shenduruny River Valley Civilization was one of the oldest river valley civilizations in India. It dates to between 5210 and 4420 BC, making it older than the Indus Valley Civilization which is believed to have flourished from 4400 to 3700 BC. Cave paintings seen here are comparable to the Mesolithic paintings found in the caves of central India. The cave found here is large enough to hold at least twenty people at a time. According to Dr. Rajendran, the marshy place seen below just in front of the cave once must have been a lake. Now the Shenduruny River has the reputation that it had nourished a civilization in the prehistoric past.

Punalur also served as a pivot point in the rise of the independence movement and against the rule of Diwan. Many meetings were centered on Punalur due to its close proximity to Tamil Nadu. Many important decisions on planning and attacking Tirunelveli collector were taken in Punalur.

The Taluk headquarters was shifted from Pathanapuram to Punalur, after an attack at Pathanapuram in 1880. This helped aid the growth of Punalur. Later the flow of goods to and from Tamil Nadu started traveling through Punalur. Punalur is the first settlement after the Western ghats. The opening of the Punalur Suspension Bridge increased the importance of Punalur as a centre of trade between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Later the rail route between Kollam and Thiruchendur made the town more prosperous.

Punalur Paper Mills, the first of its kind in Kerala, served both as an economic centre as well as a source of jobs. The Punalur paper mill employees' union was one of the first organised employee unions in the state of Kerala itself.The workers of Punalur paper mill actively participated in movements including freedom fight and the riot against Diwan rule. Later the Travancore plywood industry added to Punalur's importance in the industrial field. Punalur Market (formerly Sri Ramapuram market) is one of the largest vegetable/agro-products markets in Kerala.

The cultural history of Punalur reflects in the work of traditional and modern artists and performing groups of music, drama, cinema, etc., especially acclaimed contributions of Punalur N. Rajagopalan Nair, Punalur Balan and Lalithambika Antharjanam in theatre and Malayalam literature.

GeographyEdit

 
Punalur Kallada River seen from Punalur Suspension Bridge

Punalur has an average elevation of 56 metres (184 ft).[3] Many tourists have visited scenic spots along the Kallada River.[4] The Palaruvi Falls is 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Punalur.[5] The first planned eco-tourism project in Kerala is only 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Punalur on NH 208 towards Sengottai.

PoliticsEdit

Punalur Assembly constituency is part of the Kollam (Lok Sabha constituency). K. Raju who is the current Minister For Forestry And Animal Husbandry is MLA of Punalur assembly constituency. N. K. Premachandran is MP of Kollam (Lok Sabha constituency). [6]

Government AdministrationEdit

Punalur Municipality was formed on 1 April 1971, with an area of 34.06 square kilometres. Currently, Punalur is a Grade-II municipality and divided into 35 electoral wards. Punalur is the largest municipality in Kollam District.

Punalur is one of the two Revenue Divisions (RDO) of Kollam district and another being Kollam itself. Punalur Revenue divisional office was formed on Keralapiravi day 1 November 2018. It's headed by RDO/Sub Collector. Punalur RDO headquarters is situated at PWD complex, TB Jn. Punalur Revenue division is administratively divided into three Taluks: Punalur, Kottarakkara and Pathanapuram, each of which is subdivided into 50 villages. Punalur is the headquarters of the Punalur Taluk and is one of the major and largest Taluks in Kollam District. This Taluk comprises 15 villages.

Punalur is the Sub-divisional headquarters of the Kollam Rural Police. It's headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police/Assistant Superintendent of Police. Office of the Circle Inspector of Police, Police Control Room & Highway Police base Station are also functioning in Punalur. Punalur Railway Police Station is the one & only Railway Police Station in Kollam Rural District. A proposal for one Traffic Police Station at Punalur, waiting for Govt. decision.

Court complex under construction in Punalur may be expected to opening soon. Functioning houses in Punalur are M.A.C.T, Sub Court, Munsif Court, JFMC-1, JFMC- 2 (Forest offences), JFMC-3 and Sub-divisional Magistrate Court. Government of Kerala sanctioned one Family Court for Punalur, may start soon.

Punalur has a Divisional Forest Office, it's headed by DFO. Timber Sales Divisional Forest Office (DFO-Timber Sales) and Forest Flying Squad Office also functions at Punalur.

Other important Government offices functioning in Punalur includes Sub-Regional Transport Office, Excise Circle and Range Offices, Fire & Rescue Office, District Educational Office, District Tribal Office, KSEB divisional Office,Telecom divisional Office, KWA Sub-divisional office,, NH Sub-divisional Office, PWD Sub-division Office, Sub-Treasury, Sub-Registrar Office, Employment Exchange, LIC Regional Office, Rubber Board Regional Office, Taluk Supply Office, Taluk Statistical Office, Legal Metrology Office, SC/ST Addl. Commissioner Office, Labor Office, Devaswam Board Assistant Commissioner Office, Food Safety Circle Office etc. Most of the Government Offices are functioned in Civil station at Kachery Road, Punalur.

HealthcareEdit

Punalur taluk hospital is considered to be one of the best Hospital in public sector healthcare in India with ultra modern facilities. Now, it is the largest Govt.Taluk Hospital in Kerala. A proposal for this Hospital to upgraded as a General Hospital/District Specialty Hospital.The Punalur Taluk Hospital that has set a benchmark in public sector healthcare to get a new hi-tech building under Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The building will have 32 outpatient units functioning at the same time, which is first of its kind in a taluk hospital. INKEL will construct the 10-storey Rs 68-crore building having a total area of 2,00,000 sq feet under ‘Aardram’ mission. The new facility will have 500 beds for inpatients, 94 ICU beds and seven lifts. "The hospital will compete with any of the corporate hospitals in the state, with 32 doctors available at a time attend outpatients in the new building." The hospital had bagged awards from Kerala State Pollution Control Board for the last six consecutive years of which three are excellence awards. The hospital already has employed 40 advanced cosmetology procedures including skin platelet-rich plasma administration, follicle transplantation, squint correction, and dental jewellery. The programme ‘Beside you – birth companion scheme’ permits husband or female relative of pregnant women to be present in the labour room at the time of delivery.

The hospital is also the first to employ painless delivery facility in a public sector hospital in the state. The hospital has centralised systems for air, oxygen, and suction in all beds, probably the lone facility in public health centres. The dialysis and cancer care services are free. A palliative care also functions at the hospital, which receives over 2,000 outpatients per day a number a private hospital under normal circumstances used to have.

Government Regional Cancer Center, ESI Hospital, Government Taluk Ayurvedha and Homeo Hospitals functioning in Punalur. Major private Hospitals also functioning in Punalur.

ClimateEdit

Even though it is located near the Western Ghats, Punalur is the hottest place in Kerala,[citation needed] and during summer temperatures as high as 44 °C (111 °F) have been recorded. One of Kerala's major Meteorological Observatory Center functioning in Punalur. Punalur and Chittur, Palakkad have a long reputation of being the hottest places in Kerala, but Punalur broke all heat records in 2007 and 2009. The summers of 2007 and 2009 were the hottest when the maximum temperature hovered around 40 °C (104 °F) for many days. Punalur also holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in lowland/midland regions of Kerala; with 12.9 °C (55.2 °F) on 8 January 1968. Minimum temperatures in January–February on a cloudless day can be as low as 16 °C (61 °F) and maximum in March–April can be as high as 40 °C (104 °F).So, Punalur is also known as " The Hot City Of Kerala ".

Climate data for Punalur, Kerala
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.5
(86.9)
31.5
(88.7)
32.8
(91.0)
32.8
(91.0)
32.7
(90.9)
30.6
(87.1)
30.0
(86.0)
30.3
(86.5)
30.6
(87.1)
30.3
(86.5)
29.7
(85.5)
29.9
(85.8)
31.0
(87.8)
Average low °C (°F) 22.4
(72.3)
23.2
(73.8)
24.6
(76.3)
25.5
(77.9)
25.7
(78.3)
24.5
(76.1)
24.0
(75.2)
24.1
(75.4)
24.1
(75.4)
24.0
(75.2)
23.5
(74.3)
22.7
(72.9)
24.0
(75.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 19
(0.7)
37
(1.5)
72
(2.8)
162
(6.4)
223
(8.8)
388
(15.3)
352
(13.9)
237
(9.3)
202
(8.0)
299
(11.8)
216
(8.5)
59
(2.3)
2,266
(89.3)
Source: Climate-Data.org[7]


 
Photo of the article
 
Punalur Hanging Bridge since 1877

Punalur Suspension BridgeEdit

The Punalur Suspension Bridge is the oldest motorable bridge in Kerala, which was built by the British on AD 1877 and is now a historical attraction.It is also known as "London Bridge Of Kerala". The bridge has a length of 400 feet. The suspension bridge was built to prevent wild animals from crossing into the town from the forest area of old Kattupathanapuram. It is the symbol of Punalur now. It is added to Kerala Tourism Circuit recently. Punalur is also known as the " Hanging bridge City Of Kerala "

TransportationEdit

Major roadsEdit

 
Punalur Ksrtc bus stand

Kollam – Thirumangalam Road (NH-744) passes through Punalur, connects the City to Tamil Nadu and other parts of districts. The Main Eastern Highway, which is Punalur-Pathanamthitta-Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha Road / SH – 08 starts from Punalur. SH-48 (Punalur-Ayoor Road) is connected to the state capital of Trivandrum from Punalur. SH -5 (Punalur/Pathanapuram-Kayamkulam road ) connects to Cochin from the city and the largest state highway (SH-59: Hill Highway) in Kerala state is also passes through this city. Commutation in this hilly city is mainly dependent on state run KSRTC, SETC and private bus services.

Road transportEdit

Punalur Sub-Regional Transport Office is situated at Nellippaly Jn, Punalur, KL-25 is the vehicle registration code for Punalur Taluk. Punalur KSRTC Depot is one of the major and oldest KSRTC depot in Kerala. Punalur KSRTC depot yard renovation work under progress, once it's completed Punalur become one of the biggest KSRTC Depot yard in Kerala, may expected to finish the works soon. It is well connected to the capital city of Kerala Thiruvananthapuram, and the district headquarters of Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Wayanad etc. Punalur private bus stand is one of the largest Private bustands in Kerala. Private bus services well connected by Kollam, Thiruvanathapuram, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam Districts. KSRTC and SETC Interstate services to towns in Tamil Nadu like Sengottai, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tiruchendur, Madurai, Trichi, Chenai, Velankanni, Salem and Hosur. KSRTC ply town to town and Fast Passenger services in Punalur mainly through Main Eastern Highway linking Punalur to Pathanamthitta, Ranni, Erumely, Kanjirappally, Ponkunnam, Palai, Mundakayam, Kattappana, Kumily, Thodupuzha, Muvattupuzha, Kottayam and many more towns in high ranges of Kerala. Plenty of A/C Luxury Bus services are operated from Punalur to Bangalore, Chennai, Madurai, Pondicherry and Coimbatore on a daily basis. Many other services are also operated by KSRTC to interior villages like Mathra, Achenkovil, Rosemala, Tenmala, Aryankavu, Pattazhy, Thalachira and Kokkadu.

RailEdit

Punalur railway station is the second largest railway station in Kollam District and a major transit point located on the Kollam – Sengottai railway line. Station Manager's office, Railway Protection Force (RPF) Station, Southern Railway Sectional Engineer office and Track Machine Maintenance section also functioning in Punalur Railway Station. The construction of the meter gauge rail route between Kollam – Punalur and Punalur – Sengottai (Ghats Section) along the scenic mountain terrain was started in 1873 by the British engineers and was completed in 1902. Travancore rulers in association with the British prepared the plan for the track through the challenging mountain terrain as it involved the construction of long arch bridges over steep valleys and tunnels across the rocky mountains of Western Ghats.[8]

 
Thirteen Arch Railway Bridge

The first goods train travelled on this route in 1902 and a train carrying its first passengers began its run in 1904. It makes for a thrilling train journey as it passes over five big bridges and hundreds of tiny ones while negotiating mountain streams and valleys. Passengers are also treated to a breath-taking view of the Western Ghats. The train also passes through five tunnels on this stretch, including the one-kilometre-long tunnel between Bhagawathipuram and Arayankavu. The station at Punalur is equipped with the locomotive service centre, parcel and timber depot, train parking bays, storage tanks for water and oil, etc. This route is in the process of up-gradation to broad-gauge and the first part of conversion finished between Kollam and Punalur. The conversion work on Punalur-Sengottai ghat section is in progress. Once the conversion is over this will serve as the shortest rail-route from Kochi port to Tuticorin port. The infrastructure of the station will be changed as proposed in tune with handling demands and historical accuracy.

The Punalur Railway Station currently connects to Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad Junction, Nagarcoil, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Thiruchirappally, Chennai and Velankanni. The station handles six express train services to Velankanni, Chennai Egmore, Ernakulam, Kollam Junction, Thirunelveli, Palakkad Junction and eight passenger train services, of which four services ply to Kollam Junction, another four services ply to Sengottai, Madurai Junction, Guruvayur and Kanyakumari.

EconomyEdit

The main agricultural products of this town include rubber, black pepper, and other spices. Punalur Sreeramavarmapuram Market is one of the largest vegetable market in Kerala. The chief commodities of export here are the hill products: pineapple, pepper products, plywood and timber. The Punalur Paper Mill Ltd., a paper industry established in 1888 by a German national, was closed in 1987 due to labour disputes. Various attempts to resolve the issues over two decades failed to produce any result but finally reached a legal settlement in February 2011 between the new management and the State Government. It is in the process of running by the newly formed management. A major share of PPM is owned by Akhula Industries, Hyderabad.

The Punalur economy was at its height during the time of Punalur Paper Mill. However, other industries like Agro-Fruit, State Farming Corporation, Rehabilitation Plantations, RPC Kraft Paper, plywood industry, etc. still provide a significant contribution to Kerala. The Punalur market is also assisted by the agricultural industries.

DemographicsEdit

As of 2011 India census,[9] Punalur had a population of 66,702. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Punalur has an average literacy rate of 84%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 85%, and female literacy is 82%. In Punalur, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Notable peopleEdit

MediaEdit

  • Voice Of Punalur™
  • Punalur News
  • Fox Tv Punalur

Educational institutionsEdit

Colleges

  • Sree Narayana College Punalur
  • Sree Narayana Guru College of Advanced Studies, Punalur
  • Co-operative Engineering College, Kuriyottumala
  • Government Polytechnic College
  • University Institute of Management, Punalur
  • AKMAS College ,Punalur
  • Government Commercial Institute
  • St.Goretti College, Punalur
  • Grace International Academy
  • Ivanios College, Moorthikav, Punalur

SchoolsEdit

Punalur has numerous government, aided and unaided schools. Starting from the first school, St. John's L. P. School popular as 'Roma School' opened in thatched sheds in the St. Mary's Church campus during the late 19th century, The Government Higher Secondary School in Punalur and the Taluk Samjam schools were established in the early 20th century. Later the Taluk Samajam schools were split into boys HSS, girls HS, and the Chemmanthoor HS. Another educational institution was established in the St. Mary's Church Campus namely, St. Goretti H.S.S.In the outskirts of the city. SNDP had established an institution namely SN Trust H.S.S among unaided schools, the notable institutions are Sabarigiri, St. Thomas, Toch, Fathima, Oxford. From play school to higher secondary classes are available in these institutions. Sree Thyagaraja school of music and dance is an institution working in punalur since 1901.

Tourist AttractionsEdit

  • Punalur Hanging Bridge
  • Thenmala Eco Tourism & Dam
  • Shenduruni Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Junkle Park, Punalur
  • Jatayupara Eco Tourism
  • Kudukathupara Eco Tourism,Kulathupuzha
  • Palaruvi Waterfalls
  • Kumbhavurutty Waterfalls
  • kanjiramala hills
  • koonamkuzhi suicide point
  • Achankovil
  • Kottukkal Cave Temple, Anchal
  • Pinnacle View Point
  • Ambanad Tea & Orange Plantations
  • 13 Kannara Bridge
  • Oil Palm Plantations
  • Chaliyakkara
  • Vazhathoppu
  • Olapara Waterfalls
  • Tholikod Sludge Lagooon
  • Aryankavu
  • Kelankavu Waterfalls

Malls In PunalurEdit

  • D Mall,Punalur- It Is The One & Only Complete Mall In Kollam Rural Area.It is the Complete Shopping Hub With Branded Showrooms & 3 4K-Multplex Theaters.Situated In Chowka Road.
  • Chellam Movie Mall, Punalur- It is the First Movie Mall In Kollam District. With 3 4K-Screens, Big Auditorium, Food Court & Kindergarden. Situated in NH 744,Valacode,Punalur
  • New Mall, Punalur-It Is Situated At Market Jn. Punalur. With 2 4K-Theaters & Branded Showrooms.

Theaters In PunalurEdit

  • Ramraj Movies,Punalur 4K 3D Dolby
 Atmos 
 Screens 1,2
  • Thailakshmi Multiplex,Punalur 4K
 3D Dolby Atmos
 Screens -1 
 (Work Progress)
  • D Mall, Punalur 4K 3D
 Screens -1,2,3
 (Work Progress)
  • Chellam Movie Mall, Punalur Imax 4K 3D
 Dolby Atmos 
 Screens -1,2,3
 (Work Progress)
  • New Mall, Punalur
 Screens 1, 2
 (Work Progress)
  • Sreepadmanabha Theater, Punalur
 Renovation Soon

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Census of India Search details". censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  2. ^ Study conducted by Dr. Rajendran[1] Archaeological wonders discovered by Dr. P. Rajendran G. Asokan at different sites in Kerala
  3. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Punalur
  4. ^ Panoramio – Photo of Amazing Punalur – Kakod Whitewater02
  5. ^ "Palaruvi Falls". World of Waterfalls. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "CLIMATE: PUNALUR", Climate-Data.org. Web: [2].
  8. ^ Ormmakalilekku Oru Ottayadipatha – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.

External linksEdit