Tourist Places Wayanad - Kerala
Wayanad, the 12th district in Kerala, offer an exquisite style of nature, combining hills, wildlife, rice paddies and extremely elegant waterfalls. Until 1980 it was a part of Kannur and Kozhikode after which it was declared as an independent district. The name Wayanad signifies "Vayal Nadu", the land of paddies. It was not a tourist destination some years before, likely because people were not aware of its natural beauty. The district is the least populated in the state, majority of being tribals, and the 3rd largest in area among the 14 other districts in Kerala. Almost half of the area is uninhabited and unexplored which makes Wayanad for some, a silent escape to the nature from the noisy and polluted cities. It is a feast for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Wayanad is a major source of revenue for the state coming from cultivation of cash crops such as tea, coffee, cardamom, pepper and so on which are exported to various countries.
Edakkal caves are natural caves on Ambukuthi mala at Edakkal, 12 kms from Sulthan Bathery and 33 kms from Kalpetta. These caves are more than 7000 years old, and there are ancient petroglyphs [prehistoric rock carvings] carved on the walls. Some of these are more than 7000 years old. Climbing up the Edakkal caves you will reach the brow [upper portion] of the cave which is 1200 m above sea level. From there one can have a spectacular view of Wayanad and the Western Ghats. Climbing these caves is not for everybody since it is really steep and the way up is slippery. You can stop by and watch these ancient petroglyphs on the walls while on the way up, through the caves.
Meenmutty is the 2nd largest waterfalls in Kerala and is one of the central attraction of Wayanad. The 300 m high waterfalls is gorgeous and comprises of 3 tiers. People need to trek 2kms to reach the falls, but is worth the effort as the energy will be bursting through you in excitement when you reach there and witness these giant falls, an awe- inspiring marvel of nature. Camping near the falls is a great idea but only with proper permission from the Forest Department, you are allowed to do so, since a lot of wild animals might pass through and that could be an immediate threat. It is not recommended to visit Meenmutty falls during the monsoon season [June- September] as the water level will get high and is risky, as many have lost their lives, during the monsoon flow. Meenmutty is 30 kms from Kalpetta, likely 1 hour drive. There are Government buses too available from Kalpetta town.
It is also known as Sentinel Waterfalls. It is located at Vellarimala hills 25 kms away from Kalpetta. People usually play in the natural pool formed beneath this waterfalls and, also taking snaps walking around. Rock climbing lovers will find it perfect for the same. Visitors are not allowed to carry any plastics into falls, for which there is a security check at the entrance.
Chembra is a mountain peak and the highest of its kind in Wayanad standing 2100 m’s above sea level. It offers scenic views on both sides and some of the best scrambling along the way up. There is a heart shaped lake halfway through Chembra peak, which is so perfect that it looks like a work of art expertly drawn on a piece of land by the our mother nature. At the top of the Chembra peak, we get a jaw dropping view of the mountain ranges and part of Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Trekking and camping up at Chembra peak is simply an awesome experience, but due to some recent ecological issues visitors are not allowed to camp at night. For trekking it is necessary to seek permission from the forest authority and an entrance fee is charged per head for the same. A guide is available on request.
Boating at Pookot Lake
In the midst of lush green mountains is this natural lake Pookot. There are boating facilities, spice shops and a children’s park which makes it a quiet outing spot for families as well as newlywed couples. It is 14 kms from Kalpetta and is open from 09.00 am- 06.00 pm.
This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is also called as Amalaka temple and Siddha temple. Chera king Kulasekharan built the Thirunelli Temple, and history says this temple dates back to 8th century ad. Among the most ancient temples in Kerela, Thirunelli temple is often regarded as the “Kashi of the south”. There is a stream near to the temple named Papanasini making its way down from the Brahmagiri Mountains. This stream is believed to have divine power to dissolve sins of all mortals just like the Ganges of Kashi. On one side there is a cave temple Gunnika dedicated to lord shiva. The whole Thirunelli temple is surrounded from all the 4 sides by dense forests providing a peaceful and spiritual ambience. It is situated 61 kms from Kalpetta.
Banasura Sagar Dam
The largest earth dam in India is 21kms from Kalpetta in the Western Ghats. Speed boating and pedal boating is available here. Trekking is also available at the Banasura hill, from where the view is exhilarating and refreshing.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
The second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala is Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. It shelters many animal species like the great Indian Bison, deer, tigers, civet cats, panthers, elephants and plant species like rosewood, maruthi, karimaruthi etc. Jeep safari along the sanctuary is conducted by the Forest Department of Kerala at specific timings: 7am- 9am and 3pm-5pm. Prior booking for the jeep safari is not available, and also limited number of jeeps are permitted inside. A forest guide will accompany each jeep which is mandatory. During the jeep safari you can spot the wild animals in their natural habitat and also take snapshots or videos of them. The forest guide could give an intricate detail about the forest area and the beings in and around it.
Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
The Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary share the same line of thick forests as the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Jeep safari is available here too by the Forest Department of Kerala, at the same timings. Visitors can expect to see Elephants, Indian Bison, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Tiger and Bear.
Also known as Cheengeri Mala, it is called “Phantom Rock” as there is a skull shaped rock which is the central attraction, resembles the head of a phantom. It is 26 kms from Kalpetta town. It is 2100 m high and one among the topmost peaks in Wayanad. Trekking is a great idea but there is no guides available to accompany you.
Kuruvadweep is a 950 hectare island situated on the banks of famous Kabani river. It holds in its ecosystem some of the rare species of flora and fauna. The most interesting activity here other than trekking is Bamboo Rafting, which is not to be missed. People are not allowed to dump waste around this island in order to not disturb the natural environment. The island is open for visitors only during the months October- May every year.
An 8 km trek is the only way to reach Pakshipathalam. Rare species of birds can be seen here, and hence the name Pakshipathalam [pakshi in Malayalam means birds]. World famous Ornithologists make their way here to spot and study these birds. The site is 1740 m’s above sea level. Hiking and exploring the Pakshipathalam caves is an exciting recreational activity for visitors. Permission from the forest officers are mandatory before trekking. Trek guides are available on request.
Pozhuthana is full of adventures for the visitors. With hiking, cycling, and bamboo rafting activities, Pozhuthana is for sure a splendid adventure spot for the youth, couples and families as well. A one day trip starting early morning, covering all these activities together, is the most recommended way to enjoy Pozhuthana. Hiking into the forests, cycling around the oldest tea gardens of Pozhuthana and rafting across the Vythiri River is an amazing and memorable experience that you will cherish your lifetime. It is 20 kms from Kalpetta, and bus services are available time to time.
Summer [March - May] Summer at Wayanad starts by March of the year, ending by May. During summer Wayanad is considerably warmer but accompanied by cool breeze which makes it comfortable and pleasant for the visitors.
Monsoon [June - November] From June to September, the South West Monsoon reaches Wayanad, and from October to November, the North West monsoon. Strong rainfalls and drizzles make it hard to travel around, nevertheless Wayanad looks at her best when it rains as if she has worn her best outfit.
Winter [December - February] winter is cooler and the temperature may get down to 10?c. For the same reason tourists choose this time of the year to visit Wayanad as it is cool, calm and literally speaking, "breathtakingly beautiful". As a reminder, do not forget to take your sweaters, because nights are sometimes bone chilling.
How to reach Wayanad
By Road - Wayanad can be accessed by road from Kozhikode [94kms], Kannur [112 kms], Ooty [175 kms] and Mysore [140 kms].
By Air - Kozhikode [Calicut] International Airport is the nearest airport from Wayanad, likely 94 kms away. Get down at the airport and grab a taxi. It will take about 2h 30m to reach Wayanad.
By Rail - There are no rail routes to Wayanad. The nearest railway stations are Kozhikode, Kannur, and Mysore. From there grab a taxi, or hop on a Government bus to Wayanad from any of these cities available 24/7.
Looking for a less crowded and naturistic place to plan your vacation? There comes Wayanad which will definitely suit the plan. Considering the whole area, it is so sparsely populated and therefore there are a whole lot of places which is far away from any kind of disturbances or pollution, providing its visitors a serene and calm ambience to experience the tranquility of Mother Nature in the woods of Wayanad. Take your camera when you make your way to Wayanad, because you are going to need it the whole time you spend at this majestic piece of land, to capture the moments that you will never risk to miss. Hill stations, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Deep forest treks, cycling along the mountains, Bamboo rafting, tea plantations, and so on, Wayanad will captivate you by its enchanting beauty.