Places to Visit in Wayanad
Protected by the Western Ghats, serving as a huge barrier shielding
Kerala from the rest of peninsular India, the district has been
an endearing spot of attraction for visitors from time immemorial.
Relics and edicts found in various parts of Wayanad speak of a
rich prehistoric era. Passing though an era of Jain dominance,
we come to the modern age which was largely influenced by many
historic figures like Tipu Sultan and the Pazhassi Raja. The colonization
of the region by British paved the way for organized agriculture
which in turn led to large scale migration in to the district.
These series of events have left their legacy on the heritage
of Wayanad. Come and retrace this fascinating trail.
The tribes of Wayanad
Wayanad has the largest tribal population in Kerala. They belong to different
sections including Adiyan, Kurichyas, Paniyas, Kurumas and Kattunaikas.
Many of the tribes are traditionally forest dwellers, and as such
have been living in tune with the laws of nature.
The rich indigenous stream of holistic herbal medicine of these
tribal communities has been grabbing increased attention of the
medical world in recent years. The tribal world is also rich with
legacy of arts and crafts which includes music, dances, ornamentation
The hills, rocks and valleys largely contribute to the unique
terrain of Wayanad provide for exceptional adventure experiences.
Mountains and forests intersperse to create numerous trekking
trails and opportunities for other adventure sports. With vast
areas still unexplored, Wayanad is truly an Adventures cape waiting
to be discovered!
Wild Life Trail
Wayanad is an inevitable part of Nilagiri biosphere reserve forest,
with 26% forest cover, far greater than any other district in
Kerala, Wayanad is home to two major wildlife reserves: Muthanga
and Tholpetty. Taken together, these two sanctuaries are home
to an incredible range of flora and fauna, including several endangered
species. As part of the Western Ghats, they constitute an important
swathe of the last surviving tracts of unique ecosystem. For wildlife
enthusiasts and nature lovers Wayanads wildlife sanctuaries
are must visit destinations.
Neelimala View Point
Neelimala is an excellent venue for trekking with lots of stimulating
trails. The summit of this hill affords a great view of the cascading
Meenmutty falls and the beautifully valley in its foreground.
Kalpetta: 27kms. Sulthan Bathery: 26kms. Mananthavadi: 62kms.
An interesting 2km jungle trek, off the main Ooty Road, Meenmutty
is the largest and most spectacular waterfall in Wayanad. A unique
feature is that water drops down about 300 metres over three stages.
Kalpetta: 29kms. Sulthan Bathery: 28kms. Mananthavadi: 64kms.
Located deep within the forest in the Brahmagiri Hills at an altitude
of more then 1700 mtrs, Pakshipathalam is a formation of large
boulders, some as tall as two storey buildings! The deep caves
found here are home to a wide variety of birds, animals and distinctive
species of plants. The journey involves and arduous 7 km. trek
through thick forest commencing at Thirunelli. (special permission
required from DFO-North Wayanad at Mananthavadi).
Kalpetta: 71kms. Sulthan Bathery: 78kms. Mananthavadi: 36kms
Sulthan Bathery Jain Temple
This temple is one of the most important amongst a series of Jain
ruins spread across the state of Kerala that 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
centre for commercial activity and eventually as a battery (ammunition
store) fore Tipu Sultans marching armies.
Kalpetta: 24kms. Sulthan Bathery: 12kms. Mananthavadi: 41kms
An interesting trek up the Ambukuthi Hill near Ambalavayal town
takes you to the fascinating Neolithic caves site of Edakkal.
Etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious
attention of archaeologists and historians world wide with at
least three distinct sets of petroglyphs, the earliest thought
to date back over 5000years, it is assumed that the Edakkal Caves
had been inhabited at various stage in history.
An interesting attraction close by the DTPC a few feet from the
caves that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding country.
Kalpetta: 28kms. Sulthan Bathery: 12kms. Mananthavadi: 45kms
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, memorialize
a bygone age of valiant warriors. Adjoining the museum is a small
theatre where you can watch a multimedia presentation on Wayanad.
Kalpetta: 25kms. Sulthan Bathery: 10kms. Mananthavadi: 42kms.
Excavations at various points around the foot of the Ambukuthi
Hill have unearthed a distinctive series of ancient burial vaults
commonly called Muniyaras. Remnants of Stone Age tools and pottery
found within these cellars are now displayed at the Wayanad Heritage
Kalpetta: 27kms. Sulthan Bathery: 11kms. Mananthavadi: 44kms
Uravu is an NGO that works in the area of indigenous sciences
and technology. They run a successful bamboo crafts design and
production centre along with a bamboo nursery. Uravu has a whole
range of functional and decorative products created out of this
wonderful material found so abundantly in Wayanad. You can view
and shop for products created at their sales outlets, one at Thrikkaipetta
and another at Pookkote lake
Kalpetta: 12kms. Sulthan Bathery: 23kms. Mananthavadi: 45kms.
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.
Kalpetta: 16kms. Sulthan Bathery: 41kms. Mananthavadi: 51kms.
Dedicated to the Lourdes Matha, Pallikkunnu Church was established
in 1905 at the initiative of a French missionary Fr. Jeffrine.
An interesting aspect of this church is that it has several rituals
and practices similar to those prevalent in Hindu temples. The
annual 2 week perunnal festival in early February draws large
throngs of devotees from other parts of Kerala, as well as outside.
Kalpetta: 19kms. Sulthan Bathery: 38kms. Mananthavadi: 23kms.
This nearly 300 year old mosque is built in traditional Kerala
style with extensive wood carvings. Originally built by local
Nair gentry, Korome Mosque to this day is seen as a sterling example
of communal amity. The annual Uroos festivities draw participants
from all religion.
Kalpetta: 47km. Sulthan Bathery: 52kms. Mananthavadi: 23kms.
This temple dedicated to the Mother Goddess, manifest in the 3
principal forms of Vana Durga, Bhadrakali and Jala Durga is an
important place of worship for various tribal communities in Wayanad.
Every year a 15 day festival is held in March.
Kalpetta: 24kms. Sulthan Bathery: 31kms. Mananthavadi: 5kms.
Pazhassi Rajas Tomb
Pazhassi Raja the Lion of Kerala, a scion of the Kottayam royal family was one of
the earliest to strike the banner of revolt against British over
lordship in this part of India. Taking refuge in the Wayanad Hills,
he resorted to classic techniques of guerrilla warfare against
superior British force. He remained successful for a remarkably
long period until finally the English brought in heavy reinforcements
from Madras and Bombay.
This Lion Kerala was downed in a ferocious encounter that took
place at Mavilamthode in the last days of 1805. Pazhassis
tomb marks the point where he was cremated.
Kalpetta: 35kms. Sulthan Bathery: 42kms. Mananthavadi: 0kms.
This is the only Known temple dedicated to Lava and Kusha, the
sons of Lord Rama Local legends connect this region with many
important episodes from the Ramayana. As the favoured shrine of
the Pazhassi Raja, this temple has traditionally permitted entry
to devotees from all faiths.
Kalpetta: 50kms. Sulthan Bathery: 25kms. Mananthavadi: 41kms.
Thrisslery Shiva Temple
This stunning temple of rather perfect architectural proportions
is inextricably linked with the Vishnu temple at Thirunelli. It
is believed that the performance of ancestral rites at Thirunelli
remain unfinished unless followed by offering at this temple.
Within the premises there is also a shrine devoted to Jala Durga,
believed to have been installed by no less a person than the legendary
warrior parasurama. There are many myths connected with the temple
tank here, which curiously enough never dries up!
Kalpetta: 50kms. Sulthan Bathery: 25kms. Mananthavadi: 41kms.
Set in a beautiful valley and surrounded by evergreen forests
and wooded hills, pookote is one of Wayanads 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, childrens 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
Kalpetta: 15kms. Sulthan Bathery: 40kms. Mananthavadi: 50kms.
As the name indicates, Sunrise Valley is a great place to watch
the rising and setting sun set amidst dramatic mountain scenery.
The place also offers a panoramic view of the valley beneath with
the River Chaliyar meandering along gracefully.
Kalpetta: 22kms. Sulthan Bathery: 20kms. Mananthavadi: 57kms.
The Regional Agricultural Research station located in Ambalavayal
town is part the Kerala Agricultural University. This station
conducts research on spices, tropical fruits, vegetables and hill
paddy. RARS also has a nursery with a large collection of rare
roses and ornamental plants. Visitors can purchase seeds and saplings
the sales counter.
Kalpetta: 25kms. Sulthan Bathery: 10kms. Mananthavadi: 42kms.
Located close to Ambalavayal town, Phantom Rock; named so because
of its skull head shape, is locally called Cheengeri Mala.
The immediate surroundings offer excellent photo opportunities
Kalpetta: 26kms. Sulthan Bathery: 12kms. Mananthavadi: 43kms
This large irrigation based dam site is set amidst picturesque
surroundings. It is a great place for picnics.
Kalpetta: 40kms. Sulthan Bathery: 58kms. Mananthavadi: 17kms
A recreational project, Pazhassi park comprises of a childrens
play area and boating facilities on the Mananthavady river
Kalpetta: 33kms. Sulthan Bathery: 40kms. Mananthavadi: 02kms.
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.
Kalpetta: 40kms. Sulthan Bathery: 58kms. Mananthavadi: 17kms.
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 endeavor and
would take a full day. The surrounding areas offer exceptional
photo opportunities. Camping on the peak is a unforgettable experience.
(Contact DTPC to hire camping gear)
Kalpetta: 17kms. Sulthan Bathery: 42kms. Mananthavadi : 52kms
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.
Kalpetta: 24kms. Sulthan Bathery: 47kms. Mananthavadi: 34Kms.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary-Muthanga
Spread over a vast area; Muthanga is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere
Region. Located 18kms east of Sulthan Bathery, it is a rain forest
reserve connected to two other major sanctuaries. Bandipur National
Park in Karnataka and Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
The vegetation is predominantly moist deciduous forest with smaller
stretches of Swamps, teak forests, bamboo and tall grass. With
such profuse and varied flora, this region hosts several rare
herbs and medicinal plants.
With numerous watering holes, Muthanga has a large population
of pachyderms; it is a Project Elephant site. Other animal species
include Leopards, Gaur, Sambar, Cheetal, Barking Deer, Hanuman
Langur and Slender Loris.
The reserve is also home to a small population of Tigers. In addition,
there is also a bewildering variety of birds, butterflies and
Kalpetta: 42kms. Sulthan Bathery: 17kms. Mananthavadi: 59kms.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Warden, Sultan
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary-Tholpetty
Tholpetty reserve is situated along the northern ridge of the
district bordering Coorg in Karnataka. In terms of flora and fauna,
Tholpetty is much similar to Muthanga. The best season to visit
both the sanctuaries is from November to May.
Kalpetta: 59kms. Sulthan Bathery: 66kms. Mananthavadi: 24kms.
FOR INFORMATION ON VISITING THE WILDLIFE PARKS IN AND AROUND
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Tholpetty
Asst. Wildlife Warden Tholpetty (Who can be contacted through
the Divisional Forests) Officer-North, Tel+91(0)4935240233)
Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Field Director, project Tiger, Mysore
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
FOR CURRENT BOOKINGS:
Range Officer, Mudumalai
FOR ADVANCE BOOKINGS
The Range Officer, Ooty
Nestled amidst mountains and forests, the ancient riverside temple
of Thirunelli is a fine specimen of Classical Kerala temple architecture.
Legend has it that this temple was dedicated by the creator, Lord
Brahma to propitiate the preserver, Lord Vishnu. The idol is in
the form of Chathurbhuja. Often referred to as Dakshina Kasi (the
Kasi of the south),this temple draws pilgrims from all over, primarily
for ancestral rites.
The two main festivals here are in April and August\September.
Kalpetta: 64kms. Sulthan Bathery: 71kms. Mananthavadi: 29kms.
A short walk from Thirunelli temple is the clear mountain spring
known as papanasini. A ritual dip here is believed to wash one
away of all worldly sins.
Kalpetta: 38 kms. Sulthan Bathery: 71km. Mananthavadi: 29kms.
Jain Temples (Ruined)
Apart from the Sultan Bathery temple, there are other significant
Jain remnants in Wayanad. The temples, at Punchavayal and Puthenangadi
are the best Known of these. With their beautifully carved pillars
now partly ruined, and the area rather derelict, these sites exude
a peculiar aura of mystery.
Kalpetta: 20kms. Sulthan Bathery: 18kms. Mananthavadi: 21kms.
Sentinel Rock Falls
Locally Known as Soochipara, this is 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.
Kalpetta: 22kms. Sulthan Bathery: 43kms. Mananthavadi: 40kms.
Relatively smaller than Sentinel Rock, and rather less frequented,
Kanthanpara and its surroundings are nonetheless very pleasant.
An easy hike away from the main road, its perfect for picnics.
Kalpetta: 22kms. Sulthan Bathery: 23kms. Mananthavadi: 57kms