When I first visited Kerala, I was not sure what to expect. I wasn’t expecting much, but to my surprise, the beauty of Wayanad was breath-taking. Wayanad is filled with many explored, unexplored, lesser explored destinations.
To begin with, it is nestled amidst the Western Ghats, in the northern part of Kerala. Wayanad – the name comes from the words ‘Vayal Nadu’ – land of paddy fields. While traveling through the heart of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, there were towering trees lining both sides of the road, and amidst these trees and paddy fields rose rocks of all sizes and shapes. Most of the district is a protected zone with an abundance of flora and fauna around.
The first thing to remember is that Wayanad is not a lone town but a complete district. This means that places of interest are scattered and many kilometers apart. Moreover, most of the places require a considerable amount of walking or climbing from the main road. Also, most of the places of interest close down around 4–4:30 PM. So start early in the morning. Don’t try to cover too many places in a single day, as it will become tiring.
Things to see:
- Chembra Peak – One of the most interesting attractions in Wayanad, Chembra Peak is one of the highest mountain peaks in the district of Wayanad, about 2,100 metres above the main sea level. Trekking and Mountain Climbing are popular activities here. The peak takes a day to climb.
- Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary:
It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in the state, and is spread across a vast area—along the borders of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka–from South to North Wayanad. Muthanga and Tholpetty are the accessible points to this sanctuary. There are various mountain peaks inside this wildlife sanctuary. Around a third of the entire sanctuary is covered with trees like eucalyptus, silver oak, rosewood and teak, and is inhabited by a variety of animal species. Prior permission is required from the forest authorities for visiting this sanctuary. The sanctuary is best visited between June and October, i.e., during the monsoon season.
- Edakkal Caves –The caves are located around 25 km from Kalpetta and about 3 km from Ambalavayal. Edakkal Caves has a crevice of around 96 feet in length, 30 feet in depth and 22 feet in width. There is a fissure at this site that was created due to splitting of a rock. This fissure and rock walls feature carvings of animal and human figures of the pre-historic period. Trekking is possible through Ambukuthi Hills to travel to these caves. The trekking route is covered with coffee plantations and takes around 45 minutes to climb up the hills. These caves also comprise three different sets of petroglyphs, which are more than 7,000 years old. It is the sole place where tourists can see Stone Age carvings in South India, with few of them belonging to the Mesolithic and Neolithic Age. These sites are best visited in the morning.
- Kuruva Islands – These are a group of three islands located in the middle of one of the tributaries of the east-flowing river Kabani. Rich in flora and fauna, this island has an array of species of birds. It is a must-see destination for nature lovers and a popular picnic spot. The island surrounded by streams and river can be accessed using rafts or fiber boats run by Kerala Tourism Department.
There is an abundance of places to stay in and around the area, with homestays every 5–10 km. Vythiri Resort is a jungle resort with luxury tree house in wayanad wild life forest and is a good option. It can be booked here- http://bit.ly/1LK7jW6 . Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery, Mananthavady are the major towns and offer a wide range of accommodation, including high-end accommodation and luxury resorts. A budget room in these towns will cost you 500–800 INR per night.
How to Reach
One can reach via Bangalore or Mysore quite easily. There are a lot of flights which will take you to Bangalore or Mysore, and then take NH 212 to reach Wayanad.