Wayanad District, in the north-east of Kerala , India , was formed on November 1 , 1980 as the 12th district, carved out of Kozhikode and Kannur districts.The name Wayanad derived from ‘Wayalnadu’ means land of paddy fields. The picturesque plateau, having the largest concentration of tribal population in the state, was once known as Africa in Kerala. Kalpetta, the only municipal town in the district, is district headquarters.
There are so many interesting places to visit . Let us see some of them.
This location of breathtaking beauty is three kilometres from Ambalavayal which is 25 kilometres from Kalpetta.There are two Edakkal Caves, natural rock cutout formations, formed by a large split in a huge rock roofed over by other large rocks, all fixed in position through natural processes. These caves are famous world-wide for their ancient carvings and pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar head-dresses and swastik forms and symbols. Archaeologists say the place was one of the earliest centres of human habitation. These caves are seen in the Ambukuthy mountains which is located in between Sulthan Battery and Ambalavayal. The caves contain several paintings and pictorial writings of the New Stone Age civilization which speak volumes of the bygone life and civilization.
Chembra peak, which is highest peak in Wayanad is located 14 km west of Kalpetta. Located amidst panoramic surroundings, the peak is at an altitude of 2100 m above sea level. The hills, rocks and valleys which contribute to the very unique character of Wayanad provide a lot for adventure tourism. Trekking to the Chembra peak is a risky mountaineering endeavour. Trekking to the top of this peak takes almost a day. Tourists can also stay one or two days at the top of the peak in temporary camps. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides, sleeping bags, canvases, huts and trekking implements on hire. The scenic beauty of Wayanad, which is visible from the top of Chambra, is very exhilerating.
The temple is also known as the Sahyamala Kshetram. It is believed to be more than 3000 years old. Legend has it that this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu was built by lord Brahma (The Creator) himself – an architectural marvel with 30 granite pieces supporting the shrine and the floor paved with huge square granite blocks.The Thirunelli Temple is set on the deep green Brahmagiri valley close to the Papanasini mountain spring that is believed to have curative effects on the human system. The Thirunelli Temple springs to life during temple festivals such as Chuttuvilakku, Puthari, Sivarthri, Sreekrishnajayanti and Navarathri.
Papanasini, the holy mountain spring believed to have divine cleansing powers to absolve the soul of all its sins, flows nearby. Also in the vicinity is a sacred rock where ritual offerings (known as bali) are made for the ancestors on the New Moon days of the Malayalam months Karkkidakom, Thulam and Kumbham. Besides the rituals during the two-day festival, art forms like Kathakali and Ottanthullal are performed.According to popular legend, the Thirunelli Temple in Wayanad, Kerala, South India was constructed by the creator, Lord Brahma himself and dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu. Referred to as Thekkan Kasi, the Thirunelli Temple in Wayanad, Kerala, South India is a very popular South India pilgrimage center.
15 km south east of Kalpetta, this 300-year-old mosque is the oldest in Wayanad.
SENTINEL ROCK WATERFALLS
This waterfall is at Vellarimala village near Chooralmala in Meppadi panchayat. It is a picnic spot as well as a trekking centre. The sentinel rock, a rock of more than 200 m.in height, is ideal for rock climbing.
MUTHANGA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Muthanga, Which is 16 kms. east of Sulthan Bathery, is located very near to the Karnadaka border. This is an ideal destination to watch herds of wild elephants, the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous with the protected area network of the Nagarhole National Park and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the neighboring State of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamilnadu. This sanctuary spread over 345 sq km is rich with fauna and flora, and comes under Project Elephant. Elephants roam freely here and tigers are sighted frequently. Various species of deer, monkeys, birds etc also live here. A drive along the road to Muthanga and further, offers chances to watch these roaming beasts. Elephant rides are arranged by the Forest Department. Best time to visit is from June to October.
The Kuruva island, 950 acres of ever green forest on the tributaries of east flowing river Kabani, is an ideal picnic spot, far away from the disturbances of city life. The island is uninhabited. Rare species of birds, orchids and herbs are the sovereigns of this supernal kingdom. It is 17 Kms east of Mananthavady and 40 kms. north west of Sulthan Bathery.
Pookot Lake, a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forests and rolling hills is situated 3 km from south of Vythiri town. The weather here is salacious; the scenic beauty, hypnotising and the nature, unspoiled. Pookot Lake, about 13 km from Kalpetta, is the most beautiful tourist spot in the whole of Wayanad. The lake lies in the lap of mountains surrounding it. Boating in the Pookot Lake is a unforgettable experience. Tall trees and dense forests that line along the pathway around the lake provide a visual treat. A freshwater aquarium with a large variety of fish and a green house is an added attraction. Spices and handicraft items are also arranged for sale at Pookot. The lake has an area of 8.5ha. and the maximum water depth is 6.5mtrs.
Pakshipathalam in the Brahmagiri hills at Thirunelli, is a challenging tourist spot for any adventure seeking tourist. To reach Pakshipathalam seventeen kilometres have to be covered through wild forest. The deep rock caves, formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri, are the abode of various birds and wild beasts. Special permission has to be obtained from Forest Department to go to Pakshipathalam. District Tourism Promotion Council arranges vehicle, guides, camping equipments, etc. to the tourists, on hire.
AMBALAVAYAL HERITAGE MUSEUM
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum is 12 km south of Sulthan Bathery, it is one of the best heritage museums in Kerala. The exhibits here include rare 2nd century artifacts such as clay sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, stone weapons and other curios.
Chethalayam is Located 12 km from Sulthan Bathery on the Pulpalli Main Road, are the breathtakingly beautiful Chethalayam Waterfalls. One can get a glimpse of this lovely waterfall, one has to trek a distance of around 4 km. from Chethalayam. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is another tourist spot not to be missed. Here you can see elephants, spotted deer, guar, sambhar and sloth bear. About 15 km from Sultan’s Bathery, the Wildlife Sanctuary covers over 344 sq. km. and forms part of the area of Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur Sanctuary in Karnataka.
PAZHASSI RAJA TOMB
Pazhassi Tourist Resort at Mananthavady is a good picnic centre in north Wayanad. There is a good aquarium here. Coin-operated toys for children and boating facilities for tourists are available here. Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala, who organised guerilla type warfare against British East India Company, was cremated here in 1805.
Banasura Dam is 15 km north west of Kalpetta, Banasura Dam is the largest earth dam in India. A vast expanse of crystal clear water bounded by blue hills on all sides, except one. Its an ideal picnic spot. Located in the midst of lovely, mist-clad hills with a wildlife sanctuary and park full of flowering trees, the beauty of this spot is captivating. The topography here is such that many islands will be formed in the upstream of the dam when the dam is full. These islands with the background of the Banasura hill will provide a hypnotising sight to tourists.
The waterfalls at Soochippara near Meppadi is really a treasure of nature, yet to be discovered. The stretches of waterfalls ranging at places from 100 to 300 feet height is a treat to the eyes. The pool below, provides for water rafting, swimming, bathing,etc. The tree top huts at Soochippara give an unique view of the valleys of the Western Ghats and the glimmering shallow waters of the surrounding springs.
This is where the headquarters of the Wayanad District are located. A stronghold of the Jains in the past, the famous Ananthanathaswamy Jain Temple is situated at Puliyarmala near Kalpetta.
Relatively smaller than Sentinal Rock Waterfall and rather less frequented, Kanthanpara and its surroundings are nonetheless very pleasant. An easy hike away from the main road, it is perfect for picnic.
One of the highest locations in Wayanad, Lakkidi also commands a picturesque scenery. It is about 58 kms. north east of Kozhikode and five kms. south of Vythiri. Lakkidi, the gate way of Wayanad, lies atop Thamarassery, a ghat pass at an elevation of 700 m. above mean sea level.The lofty mountain peaks, the gurging stream, luxuriant vegetation and the bird’s eye view of the deep valley on the south, with its winding roads, are breath taking. The 12 kms.long journey from Adivaram to Lakkidi through ghat road with nine hairpin bends amidst thick forests, is a fascinating experience.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Wayanad district in Kerala has a pleasant climate for most parts of the year. The maximum and minimum temperatures are generally 35º C and 18º C respectively. Wayanad can be visited round the year except during the monsoon season, June to September.