Wayanad Holidays, National Parks, Travel
Wayanad in Kerala is a northern district of the state with distinct features. It is 70 km north east of Calicut and 140 km south west of Mysore. You can reach Wayanad even from Ooty and Coorg.
The seven mountains surround the hill district of Wayanad. Actually it is the southern edge of Deccan plateau.
Misty hills, valleys, forests, wildlife, waterfalls, plantations and Stone Age sites are the attractions of Wayanad holidays. The district is home to the largest tribal population in state.
The varied landscapes include tea and coffee plantations, steep slopes that rise through dense forest and mountains with grassland. The height varies from 700m to 2100m from the sea level. Wayanad is cooler than the plains.
Your travel to Wayanad itself is an adventure. A beautiful winding road from the plains of Calicut climbs a series of nine hairpin bends to Wayanad. The road goes through the unspoiled forests.
The road arrives at the lip of the great plateau there are wide views back towards the plains. If the fog permits you can see the sea in the long distance.
Regions and Places of Wayanad, Kerala
Vythiri and Kalpetta
A view from Vythiri
Kalpetta-The headquarters of Wayanad
Vythiri is the first settlement you note when travelling from Calicut to Wayanad through Calicut-Mysore highway. You can see shops and houses that serve the back county plantation villages spread over the hills.
Hidden from the road, several high-end hotels pleasantly situated in the surrounding jungle.
Budget travellers will have to do with one of the less enticing places in the district's headquarters, Kalpetta. Kalpetta is 11 km down the highway from Vythiri.
Kalpetta has little to recommend except its central position and transport connections.
The state bus stand is in the centre of town. There are frequent bus services to Calicut and Mananthavady. Auto-rickshaws and jeeps are available for local destinations.
Kerala Tourism's office is in Kalpetta North, one km from the bus stand. You can also find local DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council) information desk in the same building.
Helpful staff can assist with hiring forest guides and jeeps for those going to the wildlife sanctuary independently.
South Wayanad, Kerala
The lush green belt of rainforest, coffee plantations and tea estates forming the southern limits of Wayanad. This area is overshadowed by the Chembra peak, at 2100m the highest point in Wayanad.
Chempra peak-A view from the trek route
Majestic Indian tusker at Muthanga reserve
There are many guesthouse and homestays here. They can arrange guides to lead you to the top of the hill. Transport to Muthanga reserve of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary can also be arranged. Sightings of wild elephants and Indian bison are guaranteed. The sanctuary is also known as Wayanad National Park even though it is not a national park.
Closer to the main highway, the famous Edakkal Caves make another enjoyable day-trip.
Kanthanpara waterfalls, a beauty spot. It is a popular local picnic spot 22 km southeast of Kalpetta.
For those with stamina for the steep trek, the nearby Meenmutty falls are a wilder and inspiring alternative.
West Wayanad: Banasura
Banasura Lake in the backdrop of Banasura mountain
Tourism has only recently found its first foothold in the wild west of Wayanad. The area of soaring, green-topped mountains and shola forest centred around the man-made lake of Banasura.
Dotted with tiny islets, the reservoir took shape in the late 1970s after the construction of India's largest earth dam. The dam is on Karmanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini River.
Banasura Mountain is the second-highest summit in Wayanad after Chembra. The peak is at height of 2073m. Trekking can be arranged from the hotels on the lakeshore.
North Wayanad, Kerala
The teak forest takes over completely as you climb towards the northern limits of Wayanad. You can see grass covered peaks of Brahmagiri mountain range.
Mananthavady is the main transport hub for the north Wayanad. It's famous in Kerala as the place where the rebel leader Pazhassi Raja met his end in 1805.
Indian bison at Tholpetty reserve
Kuruvadweep-the river island of Wayanad
Tholpetty reserve of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the main attraction in this area. The reserve shelter large herds of elephant. One of the best parks in Kerala for sightings elephants. You may also spot Indian bison, boar, sambar, spotted deer, macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
Some fine hill walking options are here in this area, particularly through the ridges enfolding the Thirunelly Temple. The temple is a famous pilgrimage site set in the middle of breathtaking scenery.
Thirunelly is one of Wayanad's most celebrated temples. Pilgrims bathe in the nearby Papanashini stream, 400 m west of the main shrine. The bathe in the stream is believed to absolve pilgrim of their worldly sins.
Kuruva dweep (Kuruva Island) is a 950 acre group of islets on Kabini river. You have to cross low depth streams of water to reach the land. Since it is a flowing stream, you must bath in it and later dry off in the mild sun.
Wayanad, Kerala has some of the loveliest places to stay in the State.
Accommodation options in Wayanad fall into two categories. The first one is beautiful resorts and plantations stays in far-flung locations in the surrounding hills. The other one is hotels, motels and lodges dotted along the main street in town.