This natural splendor of green plateau nestled between the heart of the majestic Western Ghats is a land worth holidaying in. The name Wayanad has it source in the plush paddy fields and agriculture with it being derived from “Vayal Nadu” in the native tongue.
Geographically, Wayanad lies to the north- east of Kerala at a height of 700 meters and 2100 meters above the mean sea level and flanked by the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on two sides.
It is highly rich in the production of cash crops like pepper, cardamom, coffee, tea, spices and other condiments. Hence be prepared to be blown away by the scent of these aromatic spices on your shop stopovers.
Wayanad, being seated in one of the most strategic locations of Kerala with rich natural wealth has a grand historical past to boast of. The caves known as Ampukuthimala which are situated between towns of Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal have pictorial engravings and writings that speak of an illustrious past. Recorded history that began since the 18th century has it that this land was under the Rajas of the Veda tribe initially before the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam Royal Dynasty took to ruling.
Hyder Ali invaded and subdued Wayanad in the subsequent eras. The rule of Tipu saw Wayanad flourish and being restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. Eventually though, Tipu handed over the entire Malabar region to the British, after the Sreerangapattanam truce, he made with them. This incited heavy clashes and 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. The records of these encounters and strategies are still available for the modern eyes in various museums in the district of Wayanad and Kozhikode.
The present day form of this district took shape in November 1, 1980 as the 12 district of Kerala.
The nearest airport is at Kozhikode, Calicut and is at a distance of around 100 kilometres from Wayanad. One can also access this place from the Cochin International Airport, which is at a distance of around 300 kilometres from this place.
The nearest railway station is at Calicut and is at a distance of around 110 kilometres from this place. Wayanad is well connected by a good network of railways and a number of trains frequent this place.
Wayanad is well connected to other cities Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai by road.
Route from Bangalore: Bangalore -> Bidadi -> Ramanagaram -> Channapatna -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Srirangapatna -> Mysore -> Nanjangud -> Gundlupet -> Sultan Battery -> Kalpetta. Total distance ~ 280 kms.
Alternate routes from Bangalore: Bangalore -> Bidadi -> Ramanagara -> Channapatna -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Srirangapatna -> Mysore -> Heggadadevanakote -> Kabini -> Bavali -> Kattikulam -> Manandavadi (Roads condition is really bad in this route)
Bangalore -> Bidadi -> Ramanagaram -> Channapatna -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Srirangapatna -> Hunsur -> Nagerhole -> Kutta -> Thoalpetty -> Kattikulam -> Manandavadi (Roads condition is good in this route)
Bus – Plenty of local bus services are available for transportation between the townships. But if you want to go to some tourist places you have to rely on a taxi.
Autorickshaw – Auto Rickshaws are cheaper compared to taxis and can be used to reach the interior places from the townships.
Taxi – Local taxis are also available at cheap rates (In Wayanad, the term Taxi is mostly in reference with Jeep).
Car – You can hire a car from most of the townships if you want to travel effortlessly.
Walk – Many places of attractions are nearby the towns so you could walk between them.
Distance Towards Wayanad by Road
From Trivandrum – Cochin(280) – Calicut(90) – Wayanad.
From Bangalore(260) – Mysore(120) – Wayanad.
From Mangalore(270) – Kasargode – Cannanore – Tellicherry – Wayanad.
From Coimbatore – Ooty(110) – Gudalur – Wayanad.
From pandalam to wayanad- 410 Km
Wayanad district is a vast expanse of greenery and mountains, where the major attractions lie centred around three main towns: Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta.
Mananthavady is a small picturesque town located in the banks of Mananthavady river. This is the third biggest town in Wayanad after Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta. This area was once ruled by Pazhassi Raja and is also the headquarters of Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha.
The major attractions in Manathavady are the Pazhassi Kudeeram, Valliyoorkavu, Mananthavady Thirunelli Temple, Mananthavady Park, Brahmasthana Temple & Mata Amrtanandamayi Math, Latin Church, Kuruvadweep ( Kuruva Dweep ) and the Tholpetty Wild life Sanctuary.
Pazhassi Raja Tomb:
Pazhassi Raja the heir of Kottayam royal family was gun downed by the British in a ferocious encounter in Mavilanthode. Pazhassi Raja, , was one among the pioneers in revolt against the East India Company.
He carried out guerrilla type warfare attacks against British and carried out a long tenure of revolution against British during the end of 1805. The tomb marks the point where the Raja was cremated. The monument and the underground museum were conceived and designed by Eugene Pandala.
Kuruvadweep (Kuruva Island) is a 950-acre (3.8 km2) protected river delta on the Kabini River in the Wayanad district,Kerala, India. This island of dense and evergreen forest is uninhabited and hence a home to rare kinds of flora and fauna: uncommon species of birds, orchids and herbs.
About 32 km from Mananthavady, and about 66 km from Kalpetta, pakshipathalam is situated at an altitude of 1740m above sea level.
Wayanad, the northern hill district of Kerala, is covered with dense, moist deciduous forests. Elephants, tigers, leopards, jungle cats, civets, bison, peacocks, various other bird species can be seen here. In the sylvan solitude of this land, perched at a 1740 m above sea level is Pakshipathalam, a picturesque sleepy little place.
The name Pakshipathalam refers to the richness of birdlife here. Here virgin forests, rivulets and steep hills together offer challenging avenues for trekking. A cave which rishis (saints) are believed to have used for meditation in ancient times, is a major attraction.
An erstwhile strategic location in the Malabar region, Sulthan Bathery is now the largest town in the Wayanad district. The region is seething with historical abundance in addition to the thriving abundant jungle, streams, mountains, rivers and so on. Agriculture is the livelihood of the majority of the people here.
The place is well connected with various places with the NH 212 Kozhikode – Mysore National Highway. There is also another road that branches off from Sulthan Bathery and leads to Gudallur in Tamil Nadu.
Situated 10 km away from the town. These are clefts in rock caused by the splitting away of rock from the main body. Several petro glyphs were discovered here in the year 1890. The carvings resemble human and animal figures. The focal point of this location is its hike up into the caves.
There are many artefact shops alongside the pathways leading to the caves. Its best to refrain from buying these as there are cheaper options available en route Wayanad. Edakkal caves are closed on Mondays .
Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary:
Muthanga forest is a portion of the enormous forest shared by three states of India. It’s known as Nagarhole National Park and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in neighbouring states of Karnataka and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu.
This sanctuary is stretches out over 345 sq km with a plethora of flora and fauna. It is known for its “Project Elephant” wherein elephants roam here freely. Tigers too are a frequent sight to be seen. The trees and plants in the sanctuary are typical of the moist deciduous forests of the west coast.
Jeep safari is available outside the entrance of this sanctuary and its price can be shared with other holiday goers looking for a ride into the forest as well.
The best time to spot different animals is early morning as soon as the sanctuary is open to the travelers. It becomes a little difficult to spot the animals as we go further into the day as their routines probably might not coming down to the waterholes.
The Jain temple or the Bathery Temple is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century under the architectural influence of the then ruling Vijayanagar Dynasty. A distinctive feature of this temple that projects it out in history is its initial use as shrine followed by its use as a centre of commercial trade and eventually serving as the ammunition store or battery of Tipu Sulthan’s army. Hence the town’s name.
Kalpetta, is the headquarters of Wayanad district. It is a small town lying on the Kozhikode- Mysore National Highway. It is about 72 km from Kozhikode. The town surrounded by coffee plantations and mountains is a tourist hub as well as a major trading centre in the district. It is through Kalpetta the spices, coffee and tea produced in the mountains of Wayanad are traded out to various other regions of India.
Soochippara Waterfalls :
Soochippara Waterfalls, also known as the Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, is located in the region of Meppadi. The surrounding area of the waterfall serves as a picnic spot. Activities like swimming, bathing and rafting can be enjoyed here. The tree top huts offer a beautiful view of the Western Ghats and the shining spring water. The swim underneath the waterfalls is worth all the walk that leads up to this natural beauty.
Although the drive to the Kanthanpara raises several doubts about the possibility of a waterfall at the end of the road, the sight that meets the eyes, once all the walk through the undergrowth gets over, is one truly worth beholding.
It gives the feel of a secret cove that was waiting to be discovered. A dip into this waterfall is a must and assured to provide you with a rejuvenating experience.
Chembra Peak is at a height of around 2100 m above sea level. It is the highest peak of the Wayanad region. Various camps are set up on the top of this peak for tourists to rest.
The District Tourism Promotion Council also provides guides, sleeping bags, tents and trekking equipment. Tourists can view Wayanad from this peak. The main attraction of the peak is a lake that never dries up.
Banasura Sagar Dam:
Just 21 km from Kalpetta, the mini hydro project boasts of India’s largest earth dam, Banasura sagar dam. The small islands are those areas that remained when other low-lying parts were submerged by the reservoir. The dam precincts are perfect for treks and hikes to reach the Banasura peak.
On your drive from Kozhikode to Wayanad, via the NH 212, you will reach Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad. Vythiri, is just five km from Lakkidi and is considered to be an important destination in the Kozhikode- Mysore route. It lies about 11km south of Kalpetta.
Located at about 2600ft above sea level, Vythiri offers a true picture of Wayanad. The lush green undulating mountains capped by mist, the gorges and ravines, the beautiful valleys and the streams of this area are just an extension of the nature’s bounty that the interiors of the district offers. The rural ambience of Vythiri is enhanced by the presence of not only the evergreen forests but also by the acres of sprawling tea, coffee and spice plantations. The place was once the retreat for English planters.
There are various luring destinations near Vythiri and they include the Pookot Lake, Kanthanpara waterfalls etc. Another interesting sight near Vythiri is the Chain tree at Lakkidi.