If you are planning to take a break from the busy work schedule and take solace in the hills for a day or two, then Wayanad is the best destination. Wayanad, which is situated 2,300 to 6,800ft above sea level, has a pleasant cool climate compared to the sultry plains of Kerala. Moreover, the natural beauty of this mountainous region is breathtaking.
There are many scenic spots in Wayanad that could be visited during a one-day trip. The 14-km drive from the valley to the Lakkidi view point is dotted with nine hairpin curves.
Wayanad charm beckons
After entering the gateway to Wayanad, you will reach the lap of ‘changala’ (chain) tree. The Britishers took the spices, which were meant to be shipped from the Beypore harbour, through the Kuttiyadi ghat road, and later the Thamarassery ghat route, which was a shorter one, was introduced to the English by Karinthandan, the head of the Paniya tribe in the during 1700-1750. History has it that Karinthandan was later shot dead by the British itself.
It is said that Karinthandan’s spirit used to trouble the wayfarers and the spirit was later tied to a tree using chain. Some believe that the chain also grew along with the growing tree. The enchanting Pookode Lake is just 4km away from the ‘changala’ tree, where reality and myth are entwined.
This natural freshwater lake is close to 2,526ft above sea level. The lake, which is spread over 13 acres, has all the makings of an ideal spot for boating. One could also walk through the walkway that envelops the lake and savour the beauty of the natural settings. As the lake is on the forest fringes, monkeys roam around at will and guard against them snatching food from you. Boating on a pedal boat, fish of all hues in the aquarium, and the fish spa will provide a unique experience to the visitors. Children can have a gala time at the park and grown-ups can go on a horse ride or bike ride around the serene lake. Pookode also boasts of a handicraft outlet that is stuffed with Wayanadan artefacts. The entry to the shop is from 9am to 5pm.
This picturesque island is 40km away from Kalpetta, the administrative headquarters of Wayanad. The cluster of isles, known as the Kuruva Island, in the middle of the Kabini River, is an attraction for the travellers. It is a grouping of nearly 150 isles spread across 950 acres and has a rich repository of unique flora and fauna. The main attractions here are a long walk through the tranquil greenery and boating on bamboo rafts. As the island would be out of bounds for tourists during rainy season, it is better to make a quick enquiry before chalking out travel plans to the Kuruva Island. One could get the requisite details from the South Wayanad Divisional Forest Office by giving a ring to 0493-6203428. Travellers can visit the island from 9am.
The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, one of Wayanad’s popular tourist destinations, is on the Sultan Battery-Mysuru route. Many wild animals such as elephants, deer, bison and tigers could be spotted at the sought-after wildlife sanctuary. The Nagarahole National Park, which is spread across Wayanad in Kerala, Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Bandipur in Karnataka, covers an area of 2,500 sq km.
Many wild animals could be spotted en route Mysuru and one could also enjoy the pulse of wilderness by travelling in a special jeep of the state forest department. The tourists can stay in resorts or tree houses in Muthanga. For more details contact Wildlife Warden of Muthanga at 0493-6271010.
If you can travel for close to 20km from Kalpetta, you can reach the Banasura Sagar dam. The distance between Banasura dam and Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is nearly 80km. And that’s the reason why one should have a fair idea of the topography of Wayanad if you don’t want to miss the alluring destinations of this mountainous region.
The Banasura Hill is the second tallest hill in Wayanad at 6,732ft. The main hills of the region are Kattu Hill, Banasura Hill and Sayippu Hill. Trekking through these hills is one of the sought-after activities of people visiting Banasura.
It is worth noting that the Banasura Dam is the largest earthen dam in India. People visiting Banasura dam won’t feel like leaving as they would immensely enjoy the long stroll and the horse ride, and they could also spend some quality time at the park.
Undoubtedly, Chembra is the highest hill in Wayanad district and if you are a trekking fanatic, a visit to this exciting place will blow your mind away. The vast tea estates, energy-sapping steep ascents, mesmerizing meadows, rolling hills and the Love Lake at the top make Chembra special. If you want to get the best experience out of trekking, you have to spend a day at Chembra. The best time to visit Chembra is from August to May, when there are no rains, and only those who reach before 2pm would be able to go for trekking, which would start from 7am. For more details contact: South Wayanad DFO at +914936-203428, 282001.
If you want to take a peep into the Neolithic age, then step into the age-old Edakkal caves in Wayanad. The experts have found many stone carvings and inscriptions which supposedly belong to the Neolithic age, and inscriptions are the oldest that were unearthed in Kerala. The cave was formed after a huge rock fell on a crevice, which is 98ft long and 22ft broad, in the Ambukuthi hill. The cave is situated on top of the Ambukuthi hill, which is 3,900ft above sea level. It is believed that the stone inscriptions date back to 4000BC. It is also believed that people used to stay in the cave at different points of history. It is noteworthy that this region had a trade corridor that connected Mysore with the Malabar coast. The Edakkal caves are 10km away from Sultan Battery and 25km from Kalpetta.
Wayanad is replete with numerous must-see destinations for the tourists. If you are planning a two or three-day trip, then you will able to visit only one-third of the beautiful spots in Wayanad. So, chalk out your travel plan to Wayanad accordingly and make sure you visit all the spellbinding locations in this mountainous paradise.