Known as the ‘Land of the paddy fields’ and situated in the northeastern part of the state, Wayanad is undoubtedly the greenest district in Kerala. Occupying a total area of around 2126 sq. km, this little dreamland is safely cradled by Mother Nature in the lanky mountains of the Western Ghats. This idyllic destination shies away from the nearest seashore of Kozhikode which is about 76 km away. Close proximity to leading tourist centers of South India like Ooty, Bangalore, Mysore, Kannur, and Coorg provides this paradise with tremendous tourism potential.
Nature has blessed this panoramic location with blue mountains, thick green forests, mist-covered valleys, breathtaking hill ranges, sprawling meadows, exotic wildlife, adventurous jungle trails, and many, many mysterious treasures that are just waiting to be explored This unique terrain offers perfect setting for aborigine tribes that dwell under the luxuriant cover of the forest replete with thick flora, wild fauna, and tree houses.
Ancient ruins, rocky terrains, rushing rivers, and dense forests intersperse to create numerous outback trails, mysterious mountain caves, and trekking routes that provide opportunities for exciting adventure experiences. A super storehouse of all the choicest gifts of nature, this heaven has vast areas that are just waiting to be explored!
Wayanad by Road
Wayanad is linked by an excellent road network to the other towns of Kerala and also the nearby states. Superfast buses ply from Wayanad all the way to Thiruvananthapuram.
Wayanad by Rail
All the major cities of India are connected by rail to the nearest town of Kozhikode/Calicut which is further linked by road to Wayanad.
Wayanad by Air
The nearest airport is the Calicut Airport which is about 100 km from Kalpetta, the district headquarters.
Wayanad has a large tribal population of about fifty strong tribes. Among these, the main tribes are Adiyar, Kurichyar, Kurumar, Kattunaikar and Paniyar. They have a fascinating lifestyle and these primitive forest inhabitants have mastered the art of living in accordance with the laws of nature. Some tribes have even mastered the modern techniques of advanced farming. Their native methods of holistic and herbal healing have gained increasing attention in the recent past. These Adivasis have an ancestral flair for traditional arts and crafts. Their music, dances, ornament designs, and handiworks are inspired by nature.
Places of tourist interest in Wayanad, Kerala.
Sultan Bathery Jain Temple
This Jain temple said to be built in the 13th century is one of the most significant amongst the chain of Jain ruins spread across Kerala. Though the imposing fort no longer remains, the temple has withstood the tests of time and stands majestically as the living testimony to a bygone era of strong Jain presence in this region. This historic place first served as a place of worship for Jains, then as a Hindu shrine, later as a commercial center, and finally as a battery (ammunition) store for Tipu Sultan and his army. It is worth a visit for its interesting stone carvings and the picturesque scenery en route.
Distance: Kalpetta: 24 km: Sultan Bathery: 12 kms.
The Edakkal caves are a set of three Neolithic caves that are considered to be one of the earliest settlements of man. They are situated near the Ambalavayal town and a short trek on the Ambukthi mountain range takes you to this fascinating cave site of Edakkal. The cave walls are deeply etched with ancient scripts and symbols, figures, and forms that have drawn the worldwide attention of archeologists and historians. These depictions said to be over 5000 years old are evidence of the civilization that existed in the pre-historic age.
An added attraction is the telescope installed by the DTPC near the cave site that offers a brilliant view of the surrounding.
Distance: Kalpetta: 28 kms; Sulthan Bathery: 12 kms.
Wayanad Heritage Museum
One of the best-maintained museums of the state’s Malabar region, the Wayanad Heritage Museum is situated in the town of Ambalavayal. The museum houses a myriad of interesting artifacts, that throw light upon the rich heritage, history, and culture of Wayanad. On display here are tribal objects such as hunting and fishing weapons, jewelry, farming equipment, headgear, and the like. The museum also boasts of a fine collection of 14th– 16th-century sculptures, ancient terracotta pottery, primitive tools, and local art and craft. The flamboyant life of brave kings and valiant warriors can be envisioned through a series of picture rock carvings called Hero Stones. Right next to the Museum is a theatre where you can view an audio-visual presentation on Wayanad.
Uravu is an NGO that works with people, governments, and businesses and helps in income generation for the unemployed rural. They impart skill training in the cultivation of bamboo, setting up small-scale industries, bamboo processing, and marketing, thus promoting eco-tourism. Uravu has a bamboo nursery coupled with a bamboo crafts design and production center.
Uravu offers a wide range of decorative and useful products made out of quality bamboo which can be bought at their sales outlets in Thrikkaipetta and another at Pookote Lake.
Kalpetta: 12 km; Sultan Bathery: 23 km.
Situated in Lakkidi, the gateway of Wayanad, this large fig tree is the source of a dramatic myth. According to local legend, the massive chain around it has been used to tame the troubled spirit of an aborigine youth named Karinthandan who was killed in connection with the discovery of the hairpin road from Calicut to Wayanad by a British Engineer.
Distance: Kalpetta: 16 km; Sultan Bathery: 41 km.
Surrounded by hills, valleys, and orange gardens, the French Missionary Fr. Jeffrine constructed a church in the small village of Pallikunnu. Established in 1905, the Pallikunnu church is dedicated to Mother Mary of Lourdes and has many practices and ceremonies that are similar to Hindu rites and rituals. The Perunnal feast held every February attracts hoards of believers from Kerala and outside too.
Distance: Kalpetta: 19 km; Sultan Bathery: 38 km.
Built approximately 300 years ago in classical Kerala style, the Korome Mosque is famous for its elegant wooden carvings. Built by a respectable Nair citizen, the church is the epitome of communal integration. The Muslim festival of Uroos held every year, attracts people from all religions.
Distance: Kalpetta: 47 kms; Sultan Bathery: 52 km.
This is a little hamlet that houses a colony of Tamil Brahmins in the typical row-house architectural style. Their forefathers are believed to have come from the Thanjavur district in Tamilnadu and served as cooks in the royal households of the Kottayam rulers. Following the Brahmin tradition, this Agraharam also has a temple.
Distance: Kalpetta: 28 km; Sultan Bathery: 23 km.
Pazhassi Raja’s Tomb
Pazhassi Raja, popularly called ‘the Lion of Kerala’ was a stalwart of the Kottayam royal family who refused to be subjugated by the British. Using the hilly terrain of Wayanad as the perfect cover, he organized the local tribal warriors into an army and fought against the strong British forces through well-practiced methods of guerilla warfare. He continued to revolt for many years but the bitterness of betrayal as well as the added strength of a reinforced British army conquered the brave king. Refusing to be caught alive, the valiant Pazhassi swallowed his diamond ring and brought one of the greatest one-sided rebellions to an abrupt closedown. The hero received a 21-gun salute and was cremated at Mavilanthode towards the end of 1805. The round tomb was built on the spot where he was cremated. A display of his articles can be viewed in the underground museum.
Distance Kalpetta: 35 km; Sultan Bathery: 42 km.
Situated on the banks of a beautiful river about 3 km from Mananthavadi is the Valliyoor temple. Here, the Goddess is the manifestation of three different divine forms namely Vana Durga, Bhadrakali, and Jala Durga. The most important place of worship for the tribal communities in Wayanad, the temple is famous for the tribal dances. The vast green meadows and the Kabani river add to the serene atmosphere of this holy place and provides the perfect setting for the Valliyoorkavu festival which is held annually in the month of March/April.
Distance: Kalpetta: 24 km; Sultan Bathery: 31 km.
The primary deity of this temple situated in Puipalli is Sita Devi, which is a rare feature. The secondary idol is that of Lava and kusha, the sons of Lord Rama and Sita. Folklore associates this region with Sita’s period of exile from the Ramayana. It is believed that Sita’s tears have taken this sacred place to new heights of purity. Being the most favourite shrine of the gallant king Pazhassi Raja, this temple attracts believers from all faiths.
Distance: Kalpetta: 50 km; Sultan Bathery: 25 km.
Thrissilery Shiva Temple
The elegant Thrissilery Shiva Temple with its perfect architectural proportions is closely related to the Vishnu temple of Thirunelli. Devotees believe that the conducting of ancestral rites at Thirunelli remains incomplete unless followed by offerings at this temple. The mythological founder of Kerala, Parashurama, is believed to have installed a Jala Durga shrine at the temple. There are many myths linked to the temple tank here, which never ever goes dry!
Distance: Kalpetta: 50 km; Sultan Bathery: 25 km.
Set in the deep green Brahmagiri valley by the side of a gushing river, the Thirunelli temple draws pilgrims from all over, primarily for ancestral rites. A classic example of ancient temple architecture, many large slabs of perfectly carved and sculpted granite support the holy shrine. Legendary tales say that the temple was dedicated by the Creator, Lord Brahma to Lord Vishnu in the Chaturbhuja form. The two main festivals are celebrated in the month of April and August-September.
Distance: Kalpetta: 64 kms; Sultan Bathery: 71 km.
A short distance away from the Thirunelli temple is the clear mountain spring known as Papanasini. This refreshing spring is said to have cleansing powers and a ritual dip in it is believed to wash away all worldly sins.
Distance: Kalpetta: 64 km; Sultan Bathery: 71 km.
Located conveniently close to busy cities like Bangalore, Calicut, and Cochin, Wayanad provides the perfect escape for a weekend holiday. Fresh and fragrant, charming and challenging, this paradise offers a heady combination of tranquility and activity, relaxation and stimulation.
This freshwater lake located right in the middle of lofty peaks and luxuriant greenery is one of the best-known tourist hangouts in Kerala. Pookote Lake near the winding Lakkidi hill station is a little away from NH 212. This picturesque destination offers wholesome entertainment in the form of boating, fishing, and sight seeing along with a children’s park, and a fresh water aquarium. Complimented by a restaurant and café, this spot wins hands down as the best setting for a perfect day out!
Distance: Kalpetta: 15 km; Sultan Bathery: 40 km.
Sentinal Rock Falls
Framed by enchanting scenery that is occasionally dotted with deer, a 2 km. a scenic walk through the forest reveals the Sentinel Rock Falls. Also known as the Soochipara Falls, this majestic waterfall is very popular for its layered drop against the dark woods. While the youth play in the current free pool at the foot of the fall, the not-so-adventurous can have equally good fun by absorbing the captivating beauty of the place.
Distance: Kalpetta: 23 km; Sultan Bathery: 43 km.
Serenading rhythmically from a height of about 30 meters, the enchanting Kathanpara Falls is comparatively smaller than Sentinal Rock Falls. It is less frequently visited and is therefore ideal for those nature admirers who prefer solitude. Easily accessible from the main road, the spot is ideal for quiet picnics.
Distance: Kalpetta: 22 km; Sultan Bathery: 23 km.
True to its name, the Sunrise Valley provides a stunning view of the rising sun that sheds its first shining rays on the panorama of mountains, woods, and valleys. An equally beautiful sunset mutely reveals the Chaliyar River meandering through the depths of the valley against the backdrop of a golden sky.
Distance: Kalpetta: 22 km; Sultan Bathery: 20 km.
Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS)
The Regional Agricultural Research Station functioning in Ambalavayal town is affiliated to the Kerala Agricultural University. This station caters to the research needs of the agricultural section of the high ranges by conducting research on spices, tropical and sub-tropical fruits, cold-season vegetables and hill paddy. The RARS houses a nursery with an enviable collection of rare roses and ornamental plants. Good quality seeds and saplings can be purchased at the Sales Counter.
Distance: Kalpetta: 25 km; Sultan Bathery: 10 km.
Locally called Cheengeri Mala, this skull-shaped rock has an eerie resemblance to the face of the legendary children’s hero, Phantom. Located close to Ambalavayal town, the spot makes a definite addition to those priceless travel photos.
Distance: Kalpetta: 26 kms; Sultan Bathery: 12 kms.
The Karapuzha Dam is a large irrigation-based dam. It is the picture-perfect picnic spot with cool waters and scenic beauty all around.
Distance: Kalpetta: 40 kms; Sultan Bathery: 58 kms.
This recreational park designed in memory of Pazhassiraja near the Mananthavadi River comprises of a children’s play area and boating options.
Distance: Kalpetta: 33 km; Sultan Bathery: 40 km.
Kuruva Island is a vast, uninhabited island situated on the banks of the river Kabani and its tributaries. Occupying a large land area of 950 acres, its lush, green forest canopy is ideally the hideout for many uncommon species of birds. Herbs and orchids are the other monarchs of this otherwise isolated island. It is the perfect tranquil getaway from the turbulences of city life.
Distance: Kalpetta: 40 km; Sultan Bathery: 58 km.
The Karlad Lake is a 7-acre blue spread, with a charming green grove surrounding it. This pristine lake with facilities for boating as well as angling is yet to earn its share of popularity.
Distance: Kalpetta: 16 km; Sultan Bathery: 41 km.
The mesmerizing silhouette of the 2100 meter tall Chembra Peak is enough to cause tiny tremors of excitement in the beholder. Undisputedly the tallest Mountain summit in the region, this mammoth peak has trekking aficionados flocking to it all through the year. Though scaling the peak is a challenging experience and takes about a day, the hypnotic view of Wayanad guaranteed from the top is enough to encourage the trekkers. Camping along the peak in the midst of nature is a marvelous experience. The mystic lake atop the hill provides the perfect stop-over. The summit offers a kaleidoscopic view of Wayanad and is a favorite spot for photographers.
Distance: Kalpetta: 17 kms; Sultan Bathery:42kms
Neelimala View Point
With the mist playing hide and seek, the Neelimala View Point unfolds the rocky spur of the Western Ghats on the left and the beautiful tall grass valley on the left. The top of the hill offers an unforgettable view of the milky Meenmutty waterfalls. The trek uphill is a challenge for the legs but the stunning scenery en route as well as the immaculate vision from the viewpoint is well worth the effort.
Distance: Kalpetta:27kms; Sultan Bathery:26kms.
A shimmering sight, the snow-white Meenmutty Falls at a height of 300 metres is the second-largest waterfall in Kerala. Cascading down in three layers of sheer magic, this waterfall certainly is a spectacular scene. A captivating 2 km jungle trek off the main Ooty Road is combined with the resounding rumble of the Falls. Each tier of the Meenmutty waterfalls requires a different trek though ideally, the Falls has to be seen from atop the Neelimala to fathom its real beauty!
Distance: Kalpetta: 29kms; Sultan Bathery: 28kms
A fairly tough 4 km trek or an easier off-road drive into the woodlands reveals the inconspicuous Chethalayam Falls. The sometimes red but violent water of this small, powerful waterfall drops almost noiselessly into the deep rocky gorge. The locales offer a number of vantage points for bird-watching.
Distance: Kalpetta: 37 km; Sulthan Bathery: 12 km.
Located deep within the virgin forests at an altitude of over 1700 metres, Pakshipatalam as the name suggests has a dense population of birds. Here, large boulders and rocks, some more than two stories tall have aided in the formation of deep caves that house a wide variety of birds, animals, and distinctive species of plants. Nestled in the Brahmagiri hills, 7 km northeast of Thirunelli, this idyllic hill station can be reached only by a long trek through the wilderness.
Distance: Kalpetta: 71 kms; Sulthan Bathery: 78 km.
Banasura Sagar Dam
Constructed in the year 1979 across Karamanthodu, a tributary of river Kabibi, The Bansurasagar Dam is considered to be the second-largest earth dam in Asia and the largest in India. It is an ideal starting point for trekking expeditions into the majestic Bansura hills. The dam’s reservoir has clusters of small, green islands that were formed when water submerged the areas around it. A speed boat ride when the dam is full is a truly refreshing and unforgettable experience.
Distance: Kalpetta: 24 kms.
Far great than any other place in Kerala, Wayanad, having more than one-fourth of its land area under thick forest cover, is the abode of two major wildlife reserves namely Muthanga and Tholepetty. Both the sanctuaries offer shelter to the most astonishing variety of flora and fauna including rare and unique species. Being an integral part of the Deccan plateau and the glorious Western Ghats, the sanctuaries offer the perfect haven for some of the most endangered creatures of the ecosystem. For animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, these destinations certainly offer wholesome sensory stimulation.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – Muthanga
Spread over an area of 345 km, the main attractions of the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary are the freely roaming elephants and tigers. Established in 1973, this sanctuary is part of the protected area network of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamilnadu. The vegetation here is typical of the moist deciduous forests of South India. This rainforest reserve is rich in biodiversity and is thickly vegetated with teak trees. Bamboo-lined trails together with tall grass plants around the swamps take one through a journey back in time. This region also has numerous herbal and medicinal plants among the other varieties of flora.
The perfect location to watch herds of wild pachyderms idling away near the many watering pits, Muthanga has also been declared a Project Elephant site.
The animal communities of the sanctuary also include panthers, wild dogs, jungle cats, Gaur, species of deer like Sambar and Barking Deer, Hanuman Langur, Slender Loris, and a small population of tigers. Varieties of snakes, reptiles, birds, butterflies, and insects enhance the rustic environment of the reserve.
Distance: Kalpetta: 42 km; Sultan Bathery: 17 km.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – Tholpetty
Flanked by towering mountain ranges all around, the Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is situated along the northern part of the district. This serene wildlife retreat is similar to the Muthanga sanctuary.
The period from November all the way up to May would be the best season to visit both sanctuaries.
Distance: Kalpetta: 59kms.