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 Wayanad (Kerala)

Introduction: The unique geographical features of Wayanad, expressed in rugged mist-covered mountains and pastoral valleys, lend this northern district a peculiar charm and a delightful challenge for hikers and nature lovers. Wayanad is one of the 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 civilisation.

History: In ancient times, it was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe and later came under the control of the Pazhassi Rajas of Kottayam's royal dynasty, Tipu sultan of Mysore and the British. This district has the highest concentration of tribals in Kerala. Kalpetta, famous Anathanthaswami Jain temple is situated Puliyarmala near Kalpetta. It is the headquarters of Wayanad district.

Description: This northern district, with it's rugged landscape and pastoral valleys, pose a delightful challenge for hikers and nature lovers. The least populous of Kerala's districts, it is relatively backward and development has not appreciably improved the lives of the tribes (called Adivasis) who comprise a sizeable section of the population. Wayanad is known for its picturesque mist clad hill stations, sprawling spice plantations, luxuriant forests and rich cultural traditions. The hill ranges of Vythiri taluk (taluk is a sub division of a district), through which the road from Kozhikode ascends the Wayanad plateau over the mind boggling bends and ridges, are the highest locations of Wayanad district. The leading tourist centres of South India like Ooty, Mysore, Coorg, Kozhikode and Kannur are around this region. Wayanad's climate and geography make it ideal for the cultivation of coffee, tea, pepper and rubber. Before the British arrived, it was under the reign of Tipu Sultan.

Wayanad Quick facts

  • Wayanad Geography and Climate

    Geography: Wayanad district stands on the southern top of the Deccan plateau and its chief glory is the majestic Western Ghats with lofty ridges interspersed with dense forest, tangled jungles and deep valleys, the terrain is rugged. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent environmental crisis.

    Climate: During the hot weather the temperature goes up to a maximum of 35 °C and during the cold weather the temperature goes down to 10 °C. The more perceived temperature variation in the last 5-6 years is in the range of 18-28 degree Celsius. The average rainfall is 2,500 mm per year.

  • Best time to visit Wayanad

    Wayanad experiences tropical monsoons and rather hot summer. Thus the best time to visit Wayanad is between the months of August and May.

  • Wayanad Orientation

    The sanctuary, covering an area of 345 sq km, consists of two separate pockets Muthanga in the east of the district on the border with the Bandipur and Mudamalai, and Tholpetty in the north on the border with Nagarhole. Three major towns in Wayanad district make good bases for exploring the sanctuary are Kalapetta in the south, Sultanbatheri (also known as Sultan Battery)in the east and Mananthavadi in the north west.

  • Wayanad Near Getaways

    Lakkidi, the gateway to Wayanad, is situated 700 m above mean sea level, at the crest of the Thamarasseri Ghat pass.

    Lofty peaks, gurgling streams and luxuriant forests add magic to the journey up the winding roads to this hill station. It is situated 55 km east of Kozhikode / 5 km south of vythiri.

  • Wayanad Distance(s)

    • Kozhikode, Kannur, Ooty: 175 km
    • Mysore: 140 km
    • South of Kochi, Palakkad: 356 km
    • Thrissur: 289 km
    • Alleppey: 147 km
    • Kollam:63 km

    Distance from Wayanad to
    Click on link For a list of distances from Wayanad to various cities .

  • How to reach Wayanad by Road

    Kalpetta is linked by road to other towns in Kerala and there are frequent buses to Kozhikode. Though there are hotels in Kalpetta, the jungles do not have any accommodation facilities except Government guest houses, meant for it's officials, but rooms are available for a day or two. Facilities are very basic and do not expect any fancy frills.

  • How to reach Wayanad by Rail

    Reach Kozhikode Calicut or Mysore by rail from major cities in India then by road to Wayanad.

  • How to reach Wayanad by Air

    The nearest airport is Calicut, 109 km from Kalpetta, district headquarters.

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    Wayanad Festivals and culture

  • Wayanad Festivals

    Valliyoorkavu Festival: Located high in the Wayanad Hills at Valliyoorkkavu, 3 km from Mananthavady town, the temple is dedicated to goddess Bhagavathy. The idol of the temple is believed to be self- manifested and the annual festival is held in March.

    Thirunelli Festival: Thirunelli Festival is a two-day festival celebrated on Vishu day and its eve, in the Malayalam month of Medam (April) is the annual festival of Sree Thirunelli Devaswom at Thirunelli in Wayanad.

  • Wayanad Culture

    The local people here speak Malayalam, which is also the official language of Kerala, whereas the second language is Tamil. T-Shirts, Woolen cloths are ideal dress codes to wear in Wayanad.

  • Wayanad Religious Places

    Ananthanatha Swami Temple: The temple is at Puliyarmala A beautiful Jain temple, devoted to Ananthanatha Swami, one of the saints of the Jaina faith, is located six kilometres from Kalpetta.

    The Glass temple at Koottamunda: Located on the slope of Vellarimala, this temple dedicated to Parswanatha Swami, the Third Thirthankara of the Jain faith, is an exquisitely beautiful family temple.

    The icons of Paraswanatha Swami and Padmavathi Devi: This is the set in the sanctum of this temple have thousand reflections in beautiful patterns on the mirrors placed on the inner side of the temple walls. It is 20 km from Kalpetta.

    Maha Ganapathi Temple: The temple is at Sulthan Bathery. This temple is believed to have been built eight centuries ago. In the past, it was under the control of the Kottayam royal dynasty. Before the conquest by Tipu Sulthan, Sulthan Bathery was known as Ganapathivattam. The temple is devoted to Ganapathi.

    Ponkili Temple: This is an ancient temple associated with the myth of Sita Devi. It is located on the Karnataka border.

    Santhinatha Temple: The temple is at Venniyode This is another Jain temple devoted to Saint Santhinatha Swami and is situated 20 km away from Kalpetta.

    The Chandranatha Swami Temple: The temple is at Puthanangadi, Vrishabhadeva Swami Temple at Mananthavady and Parawanatha Swami temple at Palkunnu are the other important Jain temples in the district.

    Sita Devi Temple: The temple is at Pulpally. This is centuries old temple, dedicated to Sita Devi. The icons of Leva and Kusa are also installed here.

    Thirunelli Temple: The temple is located in a valley beneath a hill called Brahmagiri in the reserve forest. This temple is often referred to as the 'Kasi of the South'. The temple is dedicated by Brahma to Vishnu in the form of Chaturbhuja. A little away from this temple is the mountain spring called Papanasini, which literally means destroyer of all sins.

    Paallikkunnu Church: It is situated 12 km north of Kalpetta Kallianathum.

    St. Peter's Church: It is at Meenangadi. This is an important church of Jacobite Syrian Christians.

    Pallickal Mosque: It is situated 10 km southwest of Mananthavady.

  • Wayanad Monuments

    Edakkal caves: Edakkal caves in the Ambukuthi Hills in north Kerala, considered to be one of the earliest centres of human habitation. Inside the cave one will find ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar head dresses, 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. Kozhikode railway station is about 97 km from Sultan Bathery. Karipur international airport is about 23 km from Kozhikode.

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    Wayanad Entertainment and Night Life

  • Wayanad Adventure

    Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary: Muthanga, which is 16 km east of Sulthan Bathery, is located very near to the Karnataka border. Wild forests covering an area of 345 sq km from the Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary which is the biggest abode of wild animals in Malabar. Elephant, spotted deer, bison, tiger, cheetah, wild bear, etc. are found in this sanctuary. The Forest Department has facilities for providing elephant rides to tourists here. Lakkidi One of the highest locations in Wayanad, Lakkidi also commands picturesque scenery. It is about 58 km north east of Kozhikode and 5 km south of Vythiri. Lakkidi, the gateway of Wayanad, lies atop.

    Thamarassery: The ghats pass at an elevation of 700 m. above mean sea level. The lofty mountain peaks, the gurging stream, luxuriant vegetation and the bird's eye view of the deep valley on the south, with its winding roads, are breath taking. The 12 km long journey from Adivaram to Lakkidi through ghats road with nine hairpin bends amidst thick forests, is a fascinating experience.

  • Kidding around Wayanad

    The Picturesque Banasura Project: It is the largest earthern dam in India and the second largest in Asia. Located in the midst of lovely, mist-clad hills with a wildlife sanctuary and park full of flowering trees, this spot of enchantment has no parallel elsewhere.

    With its placid crystal clear waters Banasura is a wonderful picnic spot. Banasura Project is located at Padinjarathara, about 25 km northeast of Kalpetta. Kozhikode about 72 km away from Kalpetta and Karipur international airport is about 23 km from Kozhikode town.

    Pazhassi Tourist Resort: Pazhassi Tourist Resort at Mananthavady is a good picnic centre in north Wayanad. There is a good aquarium here. Coin -operated toys for children and boating facilities for tourists are available here. Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala, who organized guerilla type warfare against British East India Company, was cremated here in 1805. These carvings speak of a highly civilized people of pre-historic are and inspires the archaeologists and historians to rewrite the history of Wayanad and Kerala as a whole.

  • Wayanad Shopping

    As Waynad is highly vegetated place and also a forest area with hill stations, waterfalls we can shop for mostly rare things which we cannot get at other places of the country like Ivory and coconut shell craft, Aranmula mirrors, Chinese ceremics Other Charms of Shopping : Embroidered mats, Wayanad coffee, Spices.

  • Famous To Eat at Wayanad

    Wayanad is fond of rice and it is their staple food. Rasam, Sambhar, Moru kootan and Poricha kootu are some most delicious dishes to take along with rice. The common food here is known to be the typical south Indian foods. There are varieties of vegetarian foods and non vegetarian foods served in the city. Like as in many cities of south India.

  • Wayanad Museum and Hill Stations

    Ambalavayal Heritage Museum: The Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, the archaeological museum in Wayanad, has Kerala's one of largest collections of the remnants of an era dating back to the 2nd century A.D. The exhibits here are evidences of an advanced civilisation that existed in the mountains of Wayanad. The articles on display are a fascination for the historian, the archaeologist and the ordinary man alike. At the museum one can see articles as varied as clay sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, stone weapons and other curios. It is situated 12 km south of Sulthan Bathery which is about 98 km from Kozhikode city. There are frequent bus services between Sulthan Bathery and Kozhikode. Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode is about 120 km from Sulthan Bathery. It is open from 10 am to 5 pm.

    Heritage Museum, Ambalavayal: This Museum lies at a distance of 12 km from Sultan Bathery and displays items related to tribal communities. Prominent among these items are clay sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, stone weapons, musical instruments, bangles, ear ornaments and hunting traps. The items have been collected from all over Wayanad region. The Museum is open between 9 am to 6 pm.

  • Gardens and Parks at Wayanad

    Herbal garden, nature care centre, sericulture unit, perma-culture centre etc., established by the Wayanad Social Service Society and Jean Park (the Indo-Danish project for promoting herbal gardening) are situated here. It is situated 15 km north of Mananthavady.

  • Lake at Wayanad

    Karlad Lake : The lake spreads in an area of 7 acres and is a place where you can be with yourself, more so because it is not a huge tourist hotspot. The lake with all its beauty and facilities of boating and angling is still to gain its share of popularity. It is around 8 km from Vythiri.

    Pookote Lake: It is a freshwater lake surrounded by evergreen forests and hills. The lake is crowded during holidays and it is difficult to find isolation. Still if that is what you want then tread the walkaway around the lake and you will experience much tranquility.

    The other water falls near the Wayanad are Kanthanpara Waterfall It is situated 6 km east of Meppadi. Meenmutty waterfall It is situated 12 km east of Meppadi. Chethalayam waterfall It is situated 12 km from Sulthan Bathery. Sentinel rock waterfall It is situated 12 km southeast of Meppadi.

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    Wayanad Tips

  • Wayanad Travel Tips

    • International Tourists are required to carry their original passport and visa on their vacation to Kerala. However, it is advisable to make many copies of these and other important documents and keep them separate from the originals.
    • Also do carry some documents with you at all times. All the nationalized banks are open for transaction from 10.00 to 14.00 hrs on all days except Sundays. Many of the private banks provide transaction services between 8 am to 8 pm.
    • Photography is restricted in many temples, museum and wildlife sanctuaries. Do obtain permissions or special tickets for using the camera where necessary.
    • As it is a forest area it is must to carry some insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses and hat. Traffic moves on the left in India.
    • Kerala is the first state in India to achieve 100% literacy and one can expect local people to speak and understand English very well. Kerala is the first state in India to achieve 100% literacy and one can expect local people to speak and understand English very well.
    • We recommend carrying some toilet paper and hand sanitizer while on road.

  • Wayanad Tourist Offices

    District Tourism Promotion Council,
    Collectorate Office, Civil Station,
    North Kalpetta, Wayanad.
    Phone: (91) 04936-202134.

  • Must do at Wayanad

    Enjoy Jeep Safaris - Tourists can explore the flora and fauna of the sanctuary on board a jeep. This is an excellent option (and the only one) to remain safe as well as increase the chances of animal sighting. However prior permission is required to be taken from the Forest Department for this purpose. You also need to take along a guide provided by the Forest Department compulsorily. It is to be noted here that the elephants of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary are more violent than their brethrens in other sanctuaries of Kerala. Hence, proper precaution needs to be undertaken during your jeep safari.

    Enjoy Bird Watching - Bird watching is thoroughly enjoyable experience in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary given the number of species found here. Again, proper care and precaution need to be taken while undertaking a bird watching trip.

    Don't miss Tea and Cardamom Plantations, Picturesque Locations.

  • Not to do at Wayanad

    As it is a forest area should not tease or disturb animals at the time of safari. And while in the location of tea or cardamom plantation do not pluck the leaves or any flowers these are under restrictions.

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