Wayanad literally means 'Land of Paddy Fields'. It is unspoilt expanse of virgin rainforests in the Western Ghats that is bordered by the Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur National Park andMudumalai. The misty environs of Wayanad offer a wide range of trekking opportunities, plantation visits and wildlife tours. It is clean, pristine, enchanting and hypnotizing that is filled with history and culture. This green paradise is nestled among the mountains of western ghat and is located at a distance of 76 km from the nearest seashore of Kozhikode. It is a must visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The wildlife sanctuary of Wayanad was established in 1973 that has an area of 344 sq km. It forms a vast landmass for the wild life to move about in their most natural abode. Wayanad is a land of spices that produces crops such as coffee; black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, arecanut, tea, rubber, vanilla etc The black pepper from its hill station is world famous for its premier quality and aroma. There are many indigenous tribals in this area that include Paniyas, Kurumas, Adiyars, Kurichyas, Ooralis and Kattunaikkans etc. It has ancient history as per the evidences such as relics and edicts found in various parts suggested that this place has enjoyed an important prehistoric era. Some eminent historians concur that organized human life existed in these parts, at least ten centuries before Christ. The misty environs of Wayanad offers wide range of activities.
Banasura Sagar Dam: It is one of the largest earth dams in India, and the second largest in Asia. The dam impounds the Karamanathodu tributary of the Kabini River. It is located 15 kms northwest of Kalpetta in Wayanad Kerala. In the dam's reservoir there is a set of islands that were formed when the flooded reservoir submerged the surrounding areas. These islands with the Banasura hills in the background offer a spectacular view. The dam holds large expanse of water, bounded except on one side, surrounded by magnificent hills and verdant landscape that has heavenly charm. Banasura Sagar Dam is an ideal starting point for hikes into the surrounding scenic mountain ranges for trekking enthusiasts. This dam with its vast expanse of fresh, crystal clear waters along with other surrounding attractions is animportant tourist destination.
Pookotte lake: This lake is located 3 kms south of Vythiri. It has an area of 8.5 ha and depth is 6.5 mtrs. It is the largest natural fresh water lake in Kerala, surrounded by evergreen, forest and rolling hills. A fresh water aquarium with a large variety of fish is an added attraction. You may experience the salacious weather, scenic beauty along with hypnotizing and unspoiled nature. The hill ranges of Vythiri taluk, through which the road from Kozhikode ascends the Wayanad plateau over the mind-boggling bends and ridges. This place is an ideal picnic spot for locals and tourists. It has peaceful surroundings. Pookot lake tourist resort in Vythiri is the most sought after tourist spot of Wayanad. You may visit aquarium and green house and enjoy boating facilities. There are exotic spices and handicrafts for sale at Pookot.
Sultan Bathery: It is a small town in Wayanad that derives its name from the famous ruler Tipu Sultan of Mysore. He built a fort in the 18th century at this place. It was also known as Sultan's Battery, as Tipu had used this place to store ammunition. Although the fort does not exist any more, but this place is worth visiting for the famous Jain temple. It was previously known as Ganapathivattom.
Begur Wildlife Sanctuary: It is located 20 km from Wayanad at Mananthavady in Western Ghats. The lush greenery of this National Park is popular among tourists. The trees of this region have high medicinal values. There are many species of wild animals inhabit this region. You may see elephants, deer, wild boars and many species of smaller animals, reptiles and birds from December to May.
Chembra Peak: It is the highest peak in Wayanad that stands at a height of around 2100 meters above sea level at a distance of 14 km from Kalpetta. This peak is the part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. The elevation makes it an ideal spot for trekking and mountain climbing. You need permission from the forest office in Meppady for trekking up to the Chembra peak. You may also see a heart shaped lake on the route to the top of the peak. It is believed that the lake has never dried up, even during the hottest of summers. This peak is one of the most favored trekking destinations that are flocked with many trekking aficionados round the year. You may enjoy breathtaking view from the top of the peak. It takes one day to reach the top of the hill; it is recommended to spend a day or two in camps.
Sentinel Rock Waterfalls: This waterfall is at Vellarimala village near Chooralmala in Meppadi panchayat. It is a picnic spot as well as a trekking center. The sentinel rock, a rock of more than 200 m in height, is ideal forrock climbing.
Kanthanpara Waterfalls: It is relatively smaller than Sentinal Rock Waterfall and rather less frequented, Kanthanpara and its surroundings are very pleasant and non touristy. It is located at an easy hike away from the main road.
Soochippara Waterfalls: This waterfall near Meppadi is a treasure of nature that is yet to be discovered. The stretches of waterfalls ranging at places from 100 to 300 feet height amidst greenery are treat to the eyes. The pool below the falls with cool crystal clear water offers water rafting and swimming. The treetop huts at Soochippara located within the dense forest give unique view of the valleys of the Western Ghats and the glimmering shallow waters of the surrounding springs.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary: It is most famous for ‘project elephant' site, where herds of elephants are seen roaming freely, frolicking in the mud and the water near the water holes. The trees and plants in the sanctuary are typical of the south Indian moist deciduous forests and west coast semi-evergreen forests. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000 sq.km), including all of the sanctuary, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a world heritage site. It is an ideal location for soft adventure and the study of nature. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from June to October.
Pazhassi Raja Tomb: It is a monumental tomb carrying great history and legend. Mighty warrior king Pazhassi Raja, considered the ‘Lion of Kerala', was the first to ignite guerilla warfare techniques against the British. This magnificent tomb was constructed in memory of the valiant ruler who died in 1805.
Pakshipathalam: It is located in the Brahmagiri hills at Thirunelli that is a challenging tourist spot for adventure tourists. You need to cover 17 km through wild forest to reach Pakshipathalam. These are deep rock caves formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri that houses variety of birds and wild beasts. You are required to obtain special permission from Forest Department to visit Pakshipathalam. District Tourism Promotion Council arranges vehicle, guides and camping equipments etc.
Edakkal Caves: These are located at a distance of 25 km from Kalpetta and 3 km from Ambalavayal. These are famous for their exceptional rock art depicting human and animal figure carvings by Neolithic and later civilizations. These caves were created by a fissure due to the changing climate. The split in the rock is about 22 ft. in width and 90 ft. in length. The abyss and gap in the rocks extends to over 30 ft and appears as a cave to the observer. The caves can be reached through trekking trails within the forested area starting at Edakkal. It is recommended to visit the caves in the morning.
Meenmutty Falls: It is located 29 km from Kalpetta that is a three-tiered waterfall with a height of 300 meters. There are three important falls named as Meenmutty Falls, Soochipara Falls and Kanthampuram Falls. The visit to these spectacular falls is highly recommended.
Lakkidi: It is located about 58 kms north east of Kozhikode and five kms south of Vythiri. It is the gateway of Wayanad that lies atop Thamarassery, at an elevation of 700 meters above sea level. It is one of the highest locations in Wayanad that commands picturesque scenery. There are lofty mountain peaks, the gurging stream, luxuriant vegetation and the bird's eye view of the deep valley on the south along with winding roads. You may enjoy a fascinating experience of 12 kms long journey from Adivaram to Lakkidi through Ghat road with nine hairpin bends amidst thick forests.
CENTRES OF WORSHIP
Ananthanatha Swamy Temple: It is located 6 km from Kalpetta near Sultan Bathery. This temple is popularly referred as Jain Temple. It is dedicated to Jain saint Ananthanatha.
Valliyoorkavu Temple: This temple is located 24 km. away from Kalpetta, 31 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 5 km away from Mananthavady. It is dedicated to Mother Goddess that manifests in three principal forms of Vana Durga, Bhadrakali and Jala Durga. This is an important place of worship for the tribals of Wayanad. The annual 15-day festival is held in March/April.
Sita Lava-Kusha Temple: It is located 50 km away from Kalpetta, 25 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 41 km away from Mananthavady. This is the only known temple dedicated to Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Rama. There are local legends connect this region with many important episodes from the Ramayana. As the favored shrine of the Pazhassi Raja, this temple has traditionally permitted entry to devotees from all faiths.
Thrissilery Shiva Temple: It is located 50 km away from Kalpetta, 25 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 41 km away from Mananthavady. This stunning temple has perfect architectural proportions that are inextricably linked with the Vishnu temple at Thirunelly. It is believed that the performance of ancestral rites at Thirunelly ramain unfinished unless followed by offerings at this temple. There is also a shrine devoted to Jala Durga within the premises that is believed to have been installed by the legendary Parasurama. There are myths connected with the temple tank that has never dried till date.
Thirunelli Temple: It is located 64 km away from Kalpetta, 71 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 29 km away from Mananthavady that is nestled amidst mountains and forests. This ancient riverside temple is a fine specimen of classical Kerala Temple Architecture. The temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu by lord Brahma in the form of Chaturbhuja. It is often referred to Dakshina Kasi (Kasi of South). This temple draws pilgrims from all over primarily for ancestral rites. A short walk from this temple is the site for mountain spring known as Papanasini. A ritual dip to this spring is believed to wash away sins. There are two popular festivals held at this temple in April and August/September.
Pallikkunnu Church: It was established in 1905 at the initiative of aFrench Missionary Fr. Jeffrine that is dedicated to the Lourdes Matha. It is located 19 km away from Kalpetta, 38 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 23 km away from Mananthavady. This church practices rituals similar to Hindu temple that is the most interesting aspect of this church. There is annual two weeks "Perunnal" festival held in February that draws large number of devotees.
Sulthan Bathery Jain Temple: It is located 24 km away from kalpetta, 12 km away from Sulthan Bathery and 41 km away from Mananthavady. It is believed to have been built in the 13th century; it served as a Hindu shrine, an important center for commercial activity and eventually as a battery (ammunition store) for Tipu Sulthan's marching armies. This Temple is one of the most important amongst a series of ruins spread across Kerala that testify to a period of a strong Jain presence in this region. There are other significant Jain temples in Wayanad at Punchavayal and Puthenangadi.
HOW TO REACH WAYANAD?
By Air: Kozhikode is the nearest airport that is located at a distance of about 25 km from the center of the city. It is well connected by air to Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Goa, Madurai and Chennai.
By Rail: The Kozhikode railway station is located south of the Manachira Square. The city is well connected by train to important places like Mangalore, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Coimbatore, Goa and Mumbai.
By Road: Kozhikode is well linked with various destinations in Kerala and other parts of the country. National Highway No 17 links Kozhikode with the rest of the cities in Kerala and neighboring states.