Comprising an area of 2,132 sq. kilometres, Wayanad has a powerful history. Historians are of the view that organised human life existed in these parts, at least ten centuries before Christ. Countless evidences about New Stone Age civilisation can be seen on the hills of Wayanad. The two caves of Ampukuthimala located between Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of the bygone era and civilisation. Recorded history of this district is available from the 18th century. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe. In later days, Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Ali becames the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his sway. In the days of Tipu, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handed over the entire Malabar region to the British, after the Sreerangapattanam truce, he made with them. This was followed by fierce and internecine encounters between the British and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajah of Kottayam. When the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad, he organised the war-like Kurichiya tribals into a sort of people’s militia and engaged the British in several guerrilla type encounters. In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who killed himself somewhere in the interior of the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new turn in the Home of this area. The British authorities opened up the plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, from Kozhikode and Thalassery. These roads were extended to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Through the roads poured in settlers from all parts of Kerala and the virgin forest lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. In order to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, north Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on November 1, 1980 as the 12 district of Kerala.
Nearest railway station: Kozhikode, via Kozhikode-Vythiri-Gudallur Hwy, about 97 km
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, via Kozhikode – Nilambur – Gudalur Rd, about 107 km
Area: 2,131 km²
Vehicle registration: Kerala
Population: 816,558 (2011)
Colleges and Universities: Government Engineering College, Wayanad, Pazhassi Raja College
Banasura Sagar Dam
Another tourist attraction of Kalpetta is Banasura Sagar dam. It is the largest earth dam in India and the second largest of its kind in Asia. The dam is made up of massive stacks of stones and boulders.
Legend and ambience
Situated about 15 km from Kalpetta, the dam holds a large expanse of water and its picturesque beauty is enhanced by the chain of mountains seen on the backdrop. It is constructed in the Banasura Lake and the nearby mountains are known as Banasura Hills. Legends say that the Asura king of Banasura, (the son of King Mahabali, who is believed to visit Kerala during every Onam festival) undertook a severe penance on the top of these hills and thus it was named after him. The scenic mountains beckon adventure tourists and the dam site is an ideal starting point for trekking.
During monsoon, visitors may also be able to see small islands in the dam’s reservoir. They are formed while the flooded reservoir submerges the surrounding areas too. The vast expanse of the crystal clear water of the dam dotted with small islands is a photographer’s delight.
Banasura Sagar Dam consisting of a dam and a canal began operating as part of the Indian Banasura Sagar Project. It aims at supporting the Kakkayam Hydro electric power project and also contributes to the irrigation and drinking water requirements of the people during summer, if there is water shortage.
Hike up the rugged terrains of the Chembra Peak located 2,100 metres above sea level on the southern part of Wayanad. Chembra is the tallest peak in Wayanad and is an ideal area for trekking. There is a heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak, which is believed to have never dried up, is a major tourist attraction here. With permission from the Forest Department, one-day treks and two-day wildlife treks are possible. You can have group treks of up to ten people or hike on your own, accompanied by a guide.
Chembra Peak Malayalam is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m (6,900 ft) above sea level. Chembra is located near the town of Meppady and is 8 km (5 mi) south of Kalpetta. It is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists.
Lake en route to the top of Chembra Peak
Permission from the forest office in Meppady is required for trekking up to Chembra Peak. A heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction. The lake is believed to have never dried up. You can find the lake halfway to the peak, after getting to the lake need to trek through about a km or two of dense trees. A 5 km (3 mi) journey from Meppadi town through tea estates to Erumakkolli.
Nearest railway station: Kozhikode, about 79 km
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, about 92 km
What kind of people were our ancestors? What kind of lives did they lead? Often, the paths leading to the answers to these questions are as fascinating as the answers themselves. If you would like to walk a little way along one such wonderful path of discovery, one good place to visit would be the Edakkal caves in the Ambukuthi Hills in North Kerala, considered to be one of the earliest centres of human habitation. Inside the cave you will find ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar headdresses, the swastik form, symbols and cave drawings of human figures, wheels, bows, knives, trees and so on.
Similar cave drawings, considered to be 7000 years old, are found only in Stiriya in the European Alps and a few rocky places in Africa. The caves, which are found around 10 km from Sultan Bathery, are two natural rock formations believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock.
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India’s Western Ghats. They lie 1,200 metres above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, beside an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of the Malabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India.
Nearest railway station: Kozhikode, about 97 km from Sultan Bathery
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport about 23 km from Kozhikode
Kuruva Dweep or Kuruva Island is a protected river delta, comprising a cluster of islands over the middle of Kabini River in Wayanad. Spread over 950 acres of land, Kuruva Island is densely populated with rich flora and fauna. The geographical peculiarity of this island makes this place evergreen with a serene ambience.
Dwelling deep into this island, you can sight many attractive things like bridges made up of bamboo trees and other rare species of trees. The uninhabited island is home to rare species of birds, orchids, herbal plants etc. Coming so much closer to the nature, you might be feeling Kuruva Island as a nature’s gift to Wayanad.
The island is surrounded by streams and you can have a boat ride or rafting through this stream enjoying the enchanting beauty of the island. The boats and rafts are provided by the Kerala Tourism Department and it will take few hours to cover each and every island. Tourists from different parts of the world enjoy the rafting here. The rafts are made up of bamboos providing you a thrilling and exciting journey through the streams.
The other thing you can do in this fabulous island is to have a calm and lazy nature walk. Partying and picnic are restricted here as the authorities are maintaining eco-tourism in Kuruva Island. Just enjoy the beauty without spoiling the pristine nature. You can also plan for a trekking in Kuruva Island.
Entry to this island is restricted during rainy seasons (from June to September). The island is opened during the months from October to May and there is a nominal entry fee to the island. The time schedule is from morning 9 to evening 5.
The island is situated 15 km away from Mananthavady, 58 kilometres from Sultanbathery and 40 kms from Kalpetta. There are frequent buses from Manathavady to Kuruva Island.
Muthanga WildLife Sanctuary
Established in 1973, Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The management lays emphasis on scientific conservation with due consideration for the general lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around the forest region.The Sanctuary has a large population of pachyderms and has been declared a Project Elephant site.
Elephants roam freely here and tigers are sighted occasionally. Various species of deer, monkeys, birds etc also live here. The Reserve is also home to a small population of tigers, a profusion of birds, butterflies and insects. The trees and plants in the sanctuary are typical of the south Indian moist deciduous forests and west coast semi evergreen forests. A drive along the road to Muthanga and further, offers chances to watch these roaming animals. Elephant rides are arranged by the Forest Department.
Established in 1973, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the Northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the Southeast. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. The sanctuary is very rich in flora and fauna. The management lays emphasis on scientific conservation with due consideration for the general lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around the forest region.
Situated at an altitude of 1740m and accessible only by trekking, Pakshipathalam is home to several species of birds and is an ornithologist’s paradise. It is located in the Brahmagiri Hills near Thirunelly. There is a cave here, which according to legend, was used by rishis (saints) for meditation in ancient times, has become a major attraction for tourists.
It is a challenging tourist spot for any adventure-seeking tourist. 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. The place is bet knows for the presence of `Edible Nest Swift light’ as its nest is made of solidified saliva and is used to make bird’s nest soup.
Here virgin forests, streams and steep hills together offer challenging avenues for trekking.
North Wayanad, near Tirunelli temple.
Distance Chart: Mananthavady: 36km/ Kalpetta: 71km/ Sulthan Bathery: 78km
Soochipara Falls also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala, Wayanad, surrounded by Deciduous, Evergreen and Montane forests. Locally referred to as Soochipara, the 15-20 minute drive from Meppadi to Sentinel Rock Waterfalls offers scenic views of some of the best tea estates in Wayanad. The Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is 200 metres (656 feet) and offers a cliff face that is ideal for rock climbing. The water from Soochipara Falls later joins Chulika River or popularly known as Chaliyar River after Velarimala Hills near Cherambadi (Tamil Nadu) in Kerala.
Once people reach the parking area, they have to pass through a security check at the entrance where they make sure you don’t carry any plastic. It takes 10-15 minutes walk to the water falls and water flow is less during summer, which makes it easy to reach the rocks where water falls.
Sentinel Rock falls in Wayanad district, popularly known as Soochipara waterfall has got the plunge and the spray to cool the ambience. Located near Kalpetta in Wayanad, this spectacular waterfall attracts visitors from near and far. The video has for you is the majestic Soochipara waterfall at the peak of its bountiful flow.
The beautiful freshwater lake in Wayanad, Pookode Lake lays 15 kilometre away from Kalpetta. Nestled between evergreen forest and Western Ghats, the lake is spread over 13 acre and is 40 m deep. This is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in Wayanad.
While reaching at this gorgeous lake, you will be experiencing a calm and peaceful environment around. The lake is surrounded by forest and you will see green and green all around, making this place an ideal location for photographers and nature lovers. One of the main tributary of Kabini River, the Panamaram rivulet originates from here.
The perennial freshwater lake has the shape of an Indian map. You can sight blue lotus and numerous fresh water fishes. Blue water lilies also can be seen scattered here and there in the water. The sight of wild animals and birds in the surrounding forest of the lake is another attraction of this destination. Plenty of monkeys are also seen here. Pethia Pookodensis is a species of cyprind fish, which is said to be found here only.
There are boating facilities for the tourist in the Pookode Lake. Pedal boats are available. Boating in the lake, viewing the stunning beauty of the lake is a unique experience. You can also make a visit to the nearby freshwater aquarium, children’s park and shopping centre exclusively for handiwork and spices. The shopping centres are owned by District Tourism Promotion Council. You can get plenty of things made up of bamboo and coconut husk at this shopping centre.
A visit to this lake at the time of dawn or dusk is always recommended. The lake is maintained by the South Wayanad forest division. There are frequent bus services to this place. The timing is from 9 am to 5 pm.
Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children
For Boat pedaling – Rs 30 for two persons and Rs 50 for 5 persons.
Meenmutty Falls is located 29 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad District in the state of Kerala, India. It is a three-tiered waterfall with a height of 300 metres. Meenmutty is a combination of Malayalam words Meen (fish) and Mutty (blocked). Meenmutty Falls can be reached thorough a 2 km hike though the jungle from the Wayanad-Ooty road. Meenmutty waterfalls are dangerous during rainy seasons due to high inflow and many people have drowned since 1991.
An interesting 2 km jungle trek will lead to the largest and most spectacular waterfall in Wayanad – Meenmutty Waterfalls. A unique feature of Meenmutty waterfalls is that the water drops from nearly 1000 ft over three stages, presenting a triple-decker effect. The falls is located on the Ooty main road in Wayanad.