A bio-diverse region spread across 2,132 square kilometers on the lofty Western Ghats, Wayanad is one of the few districts in Kerala that has been able to retain its pristine nature. Hidden away in the hills of this land are some of the oldest tribes, as yet untouched by civilization. And the very first prehistoric engravings in Kerala discovered in the foothills of Edakkal and around Ambukuthimala bear testimony to a pre-historic culture dating back to the Mesolithic Age. Strikingly scenic, it is known for its sub-tropical savannahs, picturesque hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions. A holistic confluence of wilderness, history and culture, Wayanad is located on the southern tip of the magnificent Deccan plateau.
Rail: Nearest railway station: Kozhikode Major towns in the district and distance from the nearest railway station: Kalpetta: 72 km from Kozhikode, Mananthavady: 80 km from Thalassery & 106 km from Kozhikode, Sulthan Bathery: 97 km from Kozhikode, Vythiri: 60 km from Kozhikode.
Road: Well connected by roads from Kozhikode, Kannur, Ooty (175 km from Kalpetta) and Mysore (140 km from Kalpetta).
MUST SEE:Pookote Lake: Set in a beautiful valley and surrounded by evergreen forests and wooded hills, Pookote is one of Wayanad’s top visitor draws. This natural lake near Lakkidi is just a short distance off the National Highway 212.
It has been developed as a recreational centre having boating facilities, children’s park, shop for souvenirs and spices, and a fresh water aquarium. Replete with a café and restaurant, this is a good setting for day outings with family.
Chain Tree: This large Ficus tree, bound by a prominent chain is the source of a dramatic local legend. As the tale goes, an Adivasi youth named Karinthandan was instrumental in guiding a British Engineer through the difficult mountain terrain into Wayanad. Eager to take credit for the discovery, the engineer conveniently killed his guide, whose soul according to the legend constantly haunted subsequent travellers. It is further believed that a priest chained the troublesome spirit onto this tree.
Chembra Peak: At 2100 metres, the spectacular Chembra Peak located towards the southern part of Wayanad is the tallest summit in the region. Climbing this peak is a challenging mountaineering endeavour and would take a full day.
The surrounding areas offer exceptional photo opportunities. Camping on the peak is a unforgettable experience.
Meenmutty Falls: A interesting 2 km jungle trek off the main Ooty Road, Meenmutty is the largest and most spectacular waterfall in Wayanad. A unique feature is that water drops about 300 metres over three stages
Banasura Sagar Dam: Considered to be the largest earth dam in India, the Banasura project precincts are an ideal starting point for treks to the Banasura Peak. An interesting feature is a set of islands that were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas.
Sultan Bathery Jain Temple: This temple is one of the most important amongst a series of Jain ruins spread across the state of Kerala, testify to a period of a strong Jain presence in this region. Believed to have been built in the 13th century, it served as a Hindu shrine, an important for centre for commercial activity and eventually as a battery (ammunition store) for Tipu Sultan’s marching armies.
Edakkal caves: An interesting trek up the Ambukuthi Hill near Ambalavayal town takes you to the fascinating neolithic cave site of Edakkal. Etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of archaeologists and historians worldwide.
With at least three distinct sets of petroglyphs, the earliest thought to date back over 5000 years, it is assumed that the Edakkal caves had been inhabited at various stages in history.
An interesting attraction close by is a telescope installed by the DTPC a few feet from the caves that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding country
Karapuzha Dam: This large irrigation based dam site is set amidst picturesque surroundings. It is a great place for picnics.
Phantom Rock: Located close to Ambalavayal town, Phantom Rock; named so because of it’s skull head shape, is locally called Cheengeri Mala. The immediate surroundings offer excellent photo opportunities.
Kuruva Island: The Kuruva Island with 950 acres of evergreen forest lies on one of the tributaries of the Kabini. The island is home to various species of rare birds, orchids and herbs.
Wayanad Heritage Museum: Located in the town of Ambalavayal, this museum is home to an interesting collection of artifacts that shed light on the history, culture and heritage of the Wayanad region. These include headgear, weapons pottery, and objects associated with tribal life. A series of pictorial rock edicts referred to as Hero Stones, memorialise a bygone age of valiant warriors.
Adjoining the museum is a small theatre where you can watch a multimedia presentation on Wayanad.
Pazhassi Raja’s Tomb: Pazhassi Raja, a scion of the Kottayam royal family was one of the earliest to strike the banner of revolt against British overlordship in this part of India.
Taking refuge in the Wayanad hills, he resorted to classic techniques of guerrilla warfare against superior British forces. He remained successful for a remarkably long period until finally the English brought in heavy reinforcements from Madras
This Lion of Kerala was downed in a ferocious encounter that took place at Mavilanthode in the last days of 1805. Pazhassi’s tomb marks the point where he was cremated.
Sentinal Rock Falls: Locally known as Soochipara, this is a very popular leisure destination. While younger visitors love to romp in the pool formed at the foot of the fall, the more restrained can have equally good fun just taking in the scenery.
Kanthanpara Falls: Relatively smaller than Sentinal Rock, and rather less frequented, Kanthanpara and it’s surroundings are nonetheless very pleasant. An easy hike away from the main road, it’s perfect for picnics.