Wayanad is a beautiful land in Northern Kerala interspered by the Western ghats, jungles and valleys. The greenery, river kabini and its tributaries make this place heaven. Wayanad means in local language land of paddy fields. Apart from rice, tea, coffee and spice plantations are also seen here. History has dated to 18th century here when pre-historic engravings were discovered in the Edakkal caves, one of the most famous pre-historic site in Kerala. The drawings in these caves are about of 10,000BC and some scripts of the 3rd century BC have been excavated.
Wayanad is still home to the one thrid of Kerala's adivasi(tribal) population . The famous Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja also known as the Lion of Kerala engaged the British forces in several battles was of the Kurichian tribe who had a great martial tradition. The Sultan Bathery temple is one of the most important amongst the series of Jain ruins.
Wayanad is a hotspot of tropical biodiversity. Sanctuaries of wayanad shelter a variety of wildlife including many endangered species. Wldlife sanctuaries in Wayanad are located at the 2 main locations of Muthanga and Tholepetty in a vast area of 344sq kms.
Tribal people in wayanad have a rich legacy of art and craft. They make tools and handicrafts from indigeneously available materials like bamboo and spice wood. Wayanad is a perfect setting for adventure seekers providing wonderful oppurtunities for trekking , rock climbing, river rafting and other adventure tours. The Kanthanpara falls, Pookote lake, Sentinal Rock falls, Kuruva island etc are just a few.
The main bus stand of Wayanad is in Kalpetta, the district capital. wayanad is well connected to the other cities in Kerala as well as cities in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The closest railway station and airport is Kozhikode or Calicut. Jeeps and autorikshaws are the local transport.
The Kerala Tourism office is located at kalpetta North about 1 km from bus stand. The office timings are 10am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday. The 2nd Saturday of each month is closed.
Gateway to wayanad, Vythiri provides panoramic view of the misty mountains and the spectacular falls. Perennial fresh water forest lake Pookot with facilities for boating, kayaking etc and the Begur Wildlife Sanctuary are Vythiri's major attractions.
What to do
Spend a night in the 100ft high treetop house inside the spice plantation to get a glimpse of the forest after sunset and to wake up feeling like a bird.
Serene and stunning the uninhabited 950 acre island of evergreen forests are seen on the east bound Kabini river. Rare birds, orchids and other fauna are seen in the island.
What to do
Cross the river on a raft and go to the other bank of Kabini
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Part of the Nilgiri biosphere, the bio rich sanctuary is contiguous to the Nagerhole and Bandipur sanctuaries of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudhumalai sanctuary of Tamil Nadu in south east. Leopards, tigers, cheetah, sambar can be seen here. The best time to visit this reserve is between the months November to March. The nearest sirport is Calicut International Airport 140 kms away. Mysore railway station is 99 kms and Kozhikode is 105 kms away.
What to do
Take an elephant safari through the sanctuary, declared as a Project Elephant site.
Neolithic art dating back to 3000 years adorn the walls located atop the 1000m Ambukuthimala hills. Access to caves by a 1 km trek, the mural arts of the caves has won global attention.
One can reach here by public transport by reaching Sultan Battery and then take a bus going to Ambalavayal. Alight at Edakkal and take the tickets from the counter which requires a rikshaw ride for 400m and then jeeride of 2 kms.
What to do
Sip a hot coffee at the country's first cave restaurant.
Tholapetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Visitors are restricted to the Outer Tourist zone here, 20 kms east of Mananthavady the sanctuary has a wide variety of animals. The best time to visit is the months November to March
The visiting hours are 6am to 8am and 3pm to 5.30pm.
The Thirunelly temple
dedicated to Lord Vishnu attracts a lot of devotees from near and far. The temple is close to the mountain spring Papanashini and a ritual bath in the crystal clear waters is believed to wash away one's wordly sins.
The memorial of Veera Pazhassi Raja
The Lion of Kerala was organised in guerilla warfare against the British east Indian Company, is situated in Mananthavady. A small structure houses a collection of memorabilia belonging to the Raja.
The Meenmutty waterfall
is a spectacular waterfall in Wayanad. The unique feature is that water drops from a height of 1000ft over three stages presenting a triple decker effect. Meenmutty waterfalls is situated in and is 12 kms east of meppadi. A trekker's paradise, it has the distinction of being the 2nd largest waterfall in Kerala.
The Chethalayam falls
is one of wayanad's lesser known falls. Though it tends to dry up during summer, it is a lovely place to visit and trekking ethusiasts will have a enjoyable time climbing up the rocks to the waterfall. Thsi breathtaking beautiful Chethalayam falls are located 12kms from Sultan Bathery on the Pulpalli Main road.
Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to this hill station. It gets the second highest degree of rainfall in the Kerala. Lakkidi is one of the highest locations in Wayanad. It is situated 700m above sea level, atop Thamarassery ghat pass. Vythiri is the nearest town just 5 kms away.
which literally means birds in neither region is a natural rock cave situated at the northern end of the Brahmagiri hills. It is home to a wide variety of rare birds, animals and distinctive species of plants. Since it can be accessed only after a long trek through the deep jungle special permission has to be obtained from the Forest department to visit or camp at the place.
is the highest point in Wayanad. On one side there are soaring ridges and grasslands and on the otherside are the dense tropical forested. Though climbing it is a task one is rewarded worth a breath taking view of Wayanad and on a clear day one can see the distant coastline. The permission for trekking can be applied in advance at the Forest Range Office near Meppadi. The application is free but there are guide fees. The trek should be started by 6am in the morning.