Wayanad is a green paradise that is situated among the mountains of Western Ghat at an altitude varying from 700 to 2100 meters above the sea level. The term 'Wayanad' is derived from 'Vayal' meaning 'Paddy' and 'Naad' meaning 'Land'- 'Land of Paddy fields'. Wayanad lies at a distance of about 76-km from Kozhikode in Kerala.
Wayanad has plenty of holiday resorts, ayurvedic rejuvenation centers and cottages. Wayanad is well connected by roads from Kozhikode, Kannur, Ooty and Mysore. The nearest airport is Karipur International Airport. The nearest railway station is Kozhikode which is about 63 kms.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
The discerning tourist can have an insight into the tribal culture evocative of earlier centuries. Trekking is also undertaken by travelers. Wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers would be awed by the wildlife sanctuaries of Wayanad.
The Wayanad wildlife sanctuary at Muthanga was established in 1973. The sanctuary is an integral part of the 'Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve', established for conserving the biological heritage of the region. The sanctuary is about 344 sq.km in extent. One part is at Tholpetty near Manathavady, which is contiguous with Nagarhole of Karnataka. The other is Muthanga Bathery Kurichiat range, which is nearer to Sulthan Bathery bordering Mudumalai forests of Tamilnadu and Bandipur of Karnataka.
Muthanga has numerous watering holes and houses a large population of pachyderms. It has been declared as a 'Project Elephant' site. Jungle cats, panthers, civet cat, monkeys, wild dogs, deer, spotted bears, bison, gaurs, cheetah, wild bears are seen here. The reserve is also a home to a small population of tigers.
Wayanad is often called 'the land of spices'. Coffee, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, arecanut, tea, rubber, vanilla and other crops are grown here. Trees such as rosewood, Artocarpus, Erthrina, and several species of caussia are still preserved in the Wayanad region. These trees give shade to the coffee plants. The silver oak which is much suited to the cold climate grows quickly in this area and it gives support to pepper. Eucalyptus also grows in plenty in Wayanad hills. Tea is grown on commercial basis as an industry in large estates in Wayanad. There are also teak plantations in major reserve forests.
The soil and climate of Wayanad is suitable for horticulture, which is also cultivated on commercial basis. Vegetables and orchards are also being raised. Amidst the fertile flora, this region hosts several rare herbs and medicinal plants.
Sulthan Bathery: Locally known as Sulthan's Battery, this place lies approximately 25 kms from Kalpetta. Historically this place was associated with Hyder Ali and Tippu Sulthan. Sulthan Bathery is known for its Jain temples which have interesting stone carvings.
Chembra Peak: This is the highest peak in Wayanad, ideal for trekking. would be an unforgettable experience. Camping in the peak top could be exhilarating.
Kanthanpura waterfalls or Kanthapura waterfalls: This beautiful waterfall is about 30 mts in height.
Sentinel Rock Waterfalls: Locally known as Soochippara, this place is a popular leisure destination for tourists. This is a three-step waterfall more than 200 mts in height. Enchanting scenery surrounds the waterfalls.
Banasura Sagar Project: Situated in Padinjarathara, the largest dam in India and the second largest in Asia is being built here. The Banasura Peak is ideal place for trekking. A unique feature of this place is the series of islands that were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas.
Chethalayam Falls: This is one of Wayanad's smaller waterfalls. The surrounding of this falls offer a number of vantage points for bird watching. It is also popular with trekking enthusiasts.
Edakkal caves: These caves are located about 12 kms from Sulthan Bathery. There are found at a height of 1000 mts on Ambukuthi Mala near Ambalavaval. Prehistoric evidences in the form of pictorial writings on the walls of these natural caves are worth a visit. Etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the attention of archeologists and historians throughout the world. The earliest petroglyph found in this cave dates back 3000 years.
Muniyaras excavations: Found at the foot of the Ambukuthi hills, these excavations have unearthed a distinctive series of ancient burial vaults known as Muniyaras. The remnants of Stone Age tools and pottery found in these excavations have been displayed at the Wayanad Heritage Museum.
Mananthavady: This place lies 32 kms from Kalpetta and has a historic church which is of tourist interest. Designed in Kerala style with gabled roofs, there are some interesting tombstones in the church grounds.
Pazhassi tomb: Pazhassi Raja, popularly known as 'Lion of Kerala' is a scion of the Kottayam Royal family revolted against the Britishers and remained successful for a remarkably long period of time before finally the English overtook him. This tomb lays in his memory.
Wayanad heritage museum: Located about 27 kms from Kalpetta, in the town of Ambalavayal, this museum stores interesting artifacts that throw light on history, culture and heritage of Wayanad. Sculptures dating to 14th to 16th centuries, tribal artifacts, hunting and fishing weapons, farming implements and ancient era terracotta's, stone weapons and local art are displayed in this museum.
Phantom Rock: This rock resembles a skull shape and is locally known as Cheengeri Mala.
Vythiri: This is a beautiful spot 2600 ft above sea level. This is located between Calicut and Kalpetta.
Lakkidi: Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxurious forests add magic to this winding hill station which is the gateway to Wayanad. It is situated 700 mts above the sea level.
Pookot Lake: This is a perennial fresh water lake that is surrounded by wooded hills and evergreen forests. This is one of the best known tourist destinations in Kerala. This lake is situated just 3 kms south of Vythiri.
Chain Tree: This Ficus tree which is very large is bound by a prominent chain and it is approximately 15 kms from Kalpetta.
Pakshipathalam: Situated 1740 mts above sea level, and 10 kms from Thirunelly, this is a bird sanctuary for rare species of birds which can be sighted from the watch tower. The deep caves found here are home to a wide variety of birds, animals and distinctive species of plants.
Boys Town: An herbal garden about 15 kms from Mananthavady, it has a sericulture unit, perma culture unit and nature care centre situated here.
Kuruva Island: This is a place for tourist who seeks calm and peace. Situated about 17 kms from Mananthavady, this 950 acres of uninhabited evergreen forest on the tributaries of the river Kabani is an ideal picnic spot far away from the city life.
Temples at Wayanad
Thirunelly Temple: The temple is surrounded by Kambamala, Karimala and Varadiga. The shrine in the temple is shielded with 30 granite columns and the ground is paved with huge square piece of granite.
The Glass Temple of Kottamunda: This temple is located on the slope of Vellarimala and is dedicated to Parswanatha God of the Jain faith. The mirrors found on the temple walls reflect images of the icons in the temple's sanctum sanctorum.
Thrissilery Shiva Temple: This temple is an outstanding example of perfect architectural proportions. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It also has a shrine of Jala Durga believed to be installed by the legendary Parasurama.