Wayanad [also spelled as Wynad, Wayanadu, Wyanad, Vayanad, Vayandu, Vynad etc.] is one of the districts in Kerala that have been able to retain its pristine nature.Wayanad is a land of spices -Almost every crops such as coffee, black-pepper, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, arecanut, tea, rubber, vanilla etc are grown here. Black pepper produced from this hill station is famous in the world of spices because of its unique quality and aroma.
This district of Kerala offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, an insight into tribal culture evocative of earlier centuries, trekking and other adventure activities, and a variety of remote monuments. The hills, rocks and valleys which give shape to the very unique terrain of Wayanad provide for exceptional adventure experiences. For wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, Wayanad's wildlife sanctuaries are must visit destinations. Established in the year 1973, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is about 344 sq km in extent. The Sanctuary exists as two bits.Tholpetty, near Mananthavady is contiguous with Nagarhole of Karnataka. The Muthanga -Bathery-Kurichiat ranges are nearer to Sulthan bathery, bordering Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu and Bandipur of Karnataka. Rich in biodiversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological and cultural heritage of the region.
HILL STATIONS IN WAYANAD
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m (6,900 ft) above sea level. Chembra is located near the town of Meppady and is 8 km (5 mi) south of Kalpetta. It is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu andVellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists.
Hike up the rugged terrains of the Chembra Peak located 2,100 metres above sea level on the southern part of Wayanad. Chembra is the tallest peak in Wayanad and is an ideal area for trekking. There is a heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak, which is believed to have never dried up, is a major tourist attraction here. With permission from the Forest Department, one-day treks and two-day wildlife treks are possible. You can have group treks of up to ten people or hike on your own, accompanied by a guide.
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km from Kalpetta in theWayanad district of Kerala in India's Western Ghats. They lie 1,200 metres above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, beside an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of theMalabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India
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.
Lakkidi is the gateway of Wayanad district of Kerala state, south India. Lakkidi is one of the highest locations in Wayanad. It is situated 700 m above mean sea level, atop Thamarassery ghat pass. Vythiri is the nearest town, just 5 km from Lakkidi. Chain tree, Pookot Lake, Sight seeing point on ghat road and number of tourist resorts are within 5 km from Lakkidi. It is about 58 km northeast of Kozhikode district
The lofty mountain peaks, the gurgling stream, luxuriant vegetation and the bird's eye view of the deep valley on the south, with its winding roads, are breathtaking. Three km from Lakkidi is the Pookot Lake, the natural fresh water lake, spread across 15 acres, one of the rare reservoirs of water in Wayanad. Surrounded on all sides by meadows and hills, it has become a favorite picnic spot. Lakkidi has a heavy rainfall with averaging 600–650 cm annually.
WAYANAD WATER FALLS
Soochipara Falls also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala,Wayanad, surrounded by Deciduous, Evergreen andMontane forests. Locally referred to as Soochipara("Soochi" meaning "Needle" and "Para" meaning "Rock"), the 15-20 minute drive from Meppadi to Sentinel Rock Waterfalls offers scenic views of some of the best tea estates in Wayanad. The Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is 200 metres (656 feet) and offers a cliff face that is ideal for rock climbing. The water from Soochipara Falls later joins Chulika River or popularly known as Chaliyar River after Velarimala Hills near Cherambadi (Tamil Nadu) in Kerala.
Once people reach the parking area, they have to pass through a security check at the entrance where they make sure you don't carry any plastic. It takes 10-15 minutes walk to the water falls and water flow is less during summer, which makes it easy to reach the rocks where water falls.
Kanthanpara waterfall (also Kanthenpara) is a unique picnic spot where you could spend quality time with your family or friends. There are two waterfalls surrounded by plantations and the forest. The narrow road to this cascade is through tea gardens and coffee plantations. Among other crops that enrich the fertile slopes, it is easy to notice banana plants and betel trees.
The hills beyond the waterfall stream are covered by dense forest. So fresh cool air is always there. Invigorating indeed!andscape of hills and dales near Meppadi is the waterfall precinct of Wayanad.It is home to some of the best Kerala waterfalls. Ever roaring Meeenmutti and perennial Soochippara falls are well known while several small unknown waterfalls spark silver over distant valleys.
WAYANAD WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1973, Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary is contiguous to the protected area network of Nagarhole and Bandipur of Karnataka on the northeast and Mudumalai of Tamil Nadu on the southeast. Rich in bio-diversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The management lays emphasis on scientific conservation with due consideration for the general lifestyle of the tribals and others who live in and around the forest region.The Sanctuary has a large population of pachyderms and has been declared a Project Elephant site.
Elephants roam freely here and tigers are sighted occasionally. Various species of deer, monkeys, birds etc also live here. The Reserve is also home to a small population of tigers, a profusion of birds, butterflies and insects. The trees and plants in the sanctuary are typical of the south Indian moist deciduous forests and west coast semi evergreen forests. A drive along the road to Muthanga and further, offers chances to watch these roaming animals. Elephant rides are arranged by the Forest Department.
Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary or Wayanad Wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad, Kerala, has a wide variety of animals. Visitors are restricted to the outer tourist zone. The sanctuary is located 20 km east of Mananthavady, 13 km from Thirunelly on the Kodagu Road.Wayanad is known as one of the most beautiful retreats of Kerala. It always had a great share of the visitors arriving South India. Wayanad with its natural scenic beauty, rich natural resources, the hills, rocks and valley, unique terrain, climate etc provide a lot for catering to the demands of increasing tourists. Wayanad provides scope for ecotourism tourism (wildlife tourism), Recreational tourism, Adventure tourism, Heritage tourism, Historic tourism, Pilgrim tourism, Monsoon tourism etc.
Ecotourism in Muthanga and Tholpetty is much helpful in creating deep conservation awareness in the minds of visitors. It is much educative and recreational too. It is a main source of livelihood income for local tribes including tourist guides.
Begur Wildlife Sanctuary
The district of Wayanad lies on an elevated picturesque mountainous plateau in the Western Ghats. Historians are of the opinion that organised human life existed in these parts of Kerala at least ten centuries before Christ. In this virgin land, which has not seen much human habitation later, is Begur. The forests here are amongst the most beautiful locales of Kerala. The region has a wealth of diverse species of plants and animals and is of great interest to nature lovers. The Begur Wildlife Sanctuary is situated about 20 km east of Manathavady in Wayanad.
The sanctuary is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers as one can spot bear, bison, civet cat, elephants, jungle cat, monkeys, panther, spotted deer, wild boar, wild dog, etc. Due to scarcity of water in the neighbouring sanctuaries like Bandipur, Nagarhole and Mudamalai, Begur wildlife sanctuary attracts large number of animals and birds during December-May.