Wayanad - The Nature’s Abode:- Among the prettiest areas of Kerala, Wayanad has a large number of options for its visitors. This popular town, nourished with enchanting waterfalls, historical caves, comfortable resorts and home stays, is famous for its spice plantations and wildlife.
Wayanad, part of a forest reserve, is located on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. With hilly ranges, the entire region is completely green and wildlife including Tholpetty in the North, Muthanga in the east bordering with Tamil Nadu, Kalpetta in the south, Mananthvadi in the north-west and Sultan Bathery (Sultan Battery) in the east.
A great place to spot wild elephants, cool breeze, beautiful scenery, Wayanad is guaranteed to please your travel senses. Overall, a perfect weekend idea from cities of South India.
- Best Time To Visit Wayanad
The best time to visit Wayanad is October- May, although the temperature in Wayanad remains nearly constant throughout the year. The weather is extremely good during this period of time.
- Summers (March-May) : Summers in Wayanad are nothing like scorching summers of India. The temperature ranges between 20 and 36-degree celsius. The evergreen forests surrounding Wayanad keeps the temperature of the place calm and pleasantly maintained.
- Monsoon (June-October) : The temperature varies from 15 to 25 degrees celsius. As the rain shower may hamper the visit in the wildlife sanctuary of Wayanad, monsoon is not considered as the best season to visit.
- Winter (October- February) : This period of time is considered as the peak season to visit Wayanad. The temperature in winters remains between 10 and 25 degrees celsius. The weather is always accompanied by the cool breeze and a bit of chill in the ambience.
- How To Reach Wayanad
Kozhikode has the nearest airport and railhead 90 kms away. Good roadways also allow for a long drive or a bus trip from Kozhikode or a any other South Indian city. Numerous taxis take off the travel anxiety.
- How To Reach Wayanad By Flight
Nearest airport to Wayanad is Calicut International airport (Kozhikode airport) located at a distance of 93 km from Wayanad. You can either hire a direct tax or a local bus to Wayanad, from here on.
Nearest Airport: Calicut - 61 kms from Wayanad
- How to Reach Wayanad by Road
Wayanad is well connected with the nearby cities of South India such as Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Kozhikode. You can catch a public bus, hire your own cab or self-drive to Wayanad.
- How to Reach Wayanad by Train
Nearest railway station to Wayanad is Nilambur railway station in Kerala if you are traveling from the upper region of the country. It is situated at a distance of 90 km from Wayanad. You can hire a can or catch a direct bus to Wayanad, to cover the rest of the journey.
- Commuting Within Wayanad
Autos and taxis are the best way to travel. The hotels and resorts also arrange for car rentals complete with guide and maps.
- Top Places To Visit In Wayanad
1) Banasura Dam
Lying in the lap of the Banasura hills in the Wayanad district is the picturesque Banasura Sagar dam. Banasura Dam is the largest earthen dam in the country and the second-largest in Asia.
Adventures like speed boating are readily available, and a trek up to the Banasura Peak is filled with streams, diverse flora, fauna, lush tropical green and majestic waterfalls. An earthen dam, also known as an embankment dam is created by placing mounds of clay, sand, rock or soil. The view of Banasura Lake from the top of the hill is mesmerizing.
Built along the river of Karamanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini river, this tourist hot spot is well maintained as a part of the Indian Banasura Sagar Project. The hills are named after ‘Banasura’, son of the famous ruler, King Mahabali.
An ideal picnic spot, Banasura Dam is one the most beautiful places not just in Kerela, but the entire country.
Boating and trekking are what this Dam is known for; there are not many places in India offering the adrenaline filled speed boating experience. Horse Racing and Camel Rides are also available if you book the service in advance.
With exotic panoramic views, Banasura offers wanderlusts enchanting trekking options. A trek to Meenmutty Falls would take all your worries away. This three tiered, three hundred feet high waterfall is a two-kilometre trek, but one needs to be extremely cautious during monsoons because the climb is treacherous and has left casualties before. The trek to the Banasura hill peak is another mesmerizing journey, with the view of the surrounding areas a visual treat to the eyes.
Suchipara Falls which is an ideal location for rock climbing, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves and Chembara Peak are a few other spots you may explore. A lot of famous temples like Shri Ayyappa Mandir, Shri Nath Mandir and the Nirur Shiva Mandir are very close to the dam.
The tickets are not readily available and one you may need to line up in queues for your tickets and facilities.
- Banasura Hill Resort
Banasura Hill Resort is the only ‘earthen’ resort and the largest of its kind in the country. It is a major hit among travelers visiting Banasura Hills. They have a variety of accommodation options with Earth rooms and log huts being the most sought after options. They have a spa, a restaurant with an expansive view of the landscape and also offer numerous adventure activities. Prices range from INR 9000 to INR 20000 per night depending on the type of accommodation you choose.
- Best Time To Visit Banasura Dam
The best time to visit the place is during the months of November to May when the weather is optimum and the treks are not treacherous.
- How To Reach Banasura Dam
Kalpetta (22 km), Mananthavady (21 km) and Sultan Bathery (43 km) are the nearest towns. Buses and Taxis are available at regular intervals.
The nearest airport and railway station are at Kozhikode, almost ninety-five kilometres away. Your hotel may also arrange your travel on request.
- Where to Stay
High to mid budget resorts are available in and around the resort with price ranging from INR 2000 to INR 10000 per night. Since Banasura dam is also considered a starting point for the trek, most of the hotels offer packages including adventure sports and trekking options.
Banasura Hill Resort is the most famous resort in the area offering huts, suites and villas along with the adventure sports.
Green Grace Wayanad Homes, Seagut Banasura Resorts, Lake View Cottage and Bethel Homestay are few other budget options.
- Open Time: 09:00 - 17:00
2) Pookot Lake
Lying just 3 km south of Vythiri is a natural fresh water lake unspoiled by human habitation and activities. The Pookode lake tourist resort is famous for its aquarium and green house. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride in its calm waters. Kayaking in the lake is another sought after activity.
- Open Time: All days of the week: 12:00 AM - 10:00 PM
3) Chembra Peak
The tallest peak in the Wayanad district of Kerala, Chembra Peak is a beautiful delight and perfect for trekking. Standing tall at an altitude of 2100 meters it is the highest peak in the Wayanad Hills and provides one of the best views of the adjoining Nilgiri Hills and Vellarimala Hills.
The Western Ghats of Kerala are famed for their heavenly beauty, their peace and calm and there natural wealth. An abode by the clouds, the Ghats are known to have many famous peaks in its collection but none more than Chembra Peak in the Wayanad Hills at Mepaddy. The peak is famous among trekkers for providing an awesome one day trekking experience with relatively low cost on energy and pocket.
On one’s way to the peak, they are confronted with another gift of nature in the form of a heart-shaped Lake which is believed to have never dried up and is a major tourist attraction here.
- Best Time To Visit Chembra Peak
The best time to visit Chembra Peak is from October till February as the weather at this time is bordering at cool without much need for more than one layer of covering. The Ghats are at their most beautiful around this time, plus the trekking path is dried up, making the trail convenient and safe. Monsoon period should be avoided as the path to the peak can get very slippery making reaching the top, as well as the descent, difficult.
- How To Reach Chembra Peak
Air: Karipur International Airport is the nearest airport which is 92 km away and well connected by State transport buss and cabs.
Rail: Nearest railheads is at Kozhikode which is 79 km from Chembra Peak Base Camp. Again State Buses and cabs are the best way to reach Chembra Peak Base camp.
Road: Get down at Kalpetta if coming from Bangalore or Kozhikode, from there take a bus or taxi till the Forrest Office which is the base of the trek.
- Where To Stay
Kalpetta located at a convenient distance of 8 km is the best option for accommodation. It is the district headquarters and a major tourist center itself with accommodation options for all budget sizes.
- Sightseeing In Chembra Peak
As you trek your way up to the Chembra Peak, do not miss the Heart Shaped Lake or Cupid Lake, which is an absolutely amazing sight to behold.
- Activities in Chembra Peak
Chembra Peak is mainly known its trekking experience.
- Shopping In Chembra Peak
There is not much to shop around Chembra Peak though Kelapatta town can be explored for some traditional spices.
- Chembra Peak’s Cuisine
Try out the Kerala Parotta, Manchow soup and Ceylon Parotta at Cinnamon Restaurant in Kalpetta just 10 km from Chembra Peak.
- Best Restaurants Nearby
Chembra peak is a perfect extension to your Bangalore or Wayanad trip. Head to Kalpetta after these, and maybe spend a day here and follow it with a trek to the Chembra Peak.
Carry adequate supplies of water, packed lunch, extra clothing in case of emergency. Insist on getting a guide at the forest office.
- Open Time: Day time
4) Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
- How To Reach Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
By Air - The sanctuary can be reached easily via KTDC buses or private taxis and buses after landing at the Karipur International Airport at Kozhikode which lies around 125 kms from the sanctuary.
By Rail - The nearest railway station from the sanctuary is Kozhikode, located 100kms away and is well connected to all parts of the country.
By Road - Numerous express and deluxe bus service connects the sanctuary to the different towns and cities of Kerala and other nearby state. Some of the major distances from Wayanad from other towns are Calicut, 98 kms away, Kasargod, located 216 kms away and Cochin located 286 kms away.
5) Soochipara Falls
Soochipara Falls aka Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala, Wayanad. It is known locally as Soochipara, where soochi means needle and para means rock. The drive from Meppadi to Sentinel Rock Waterfalls provides visitors with scenic views of some of the best tea estates in Wayanad. The Sentinel Rock Waterfall is 200 metres high that also offer a cliff face, ideal for rock climbing. The water falling from Soochipara later joins Chulika River aka Chaliyar River after hills from Kerela and Tamil Nadu.
Once followers reach the parking area, they have to pass through a security barricade at the entrance where it is made sure that one does not carry any plastic. One needs to take a ten minutes walk towards the water falls where water flows less during summers which makes it easy to reach the rocks at the spot as compared to monsoons.
6) Edakkal Caves
Famous for its exquisite rock and wall carvings, this pre-historic Edakkal Caves measures 96 ft long and 22 ft wide. You need to trek for one and half hour to hit the cave entrance, and another 45 minutes to reach the mouth of the cave.
The Edakkal caves are of historical and archaeological significance, it has carvings that date back to the Neolithic era, the late Stone Age. The carvings are estimated to be as old as 5000 BC to 1000 BC.
- Structure Of Edakkal caves
Edikkal literally means 'a stone in between' and aptly describes its formation. A smaller rock has wedged in between 2 bigger ones to form a natural cave. In the truest sense of the word, it is not a cave but a natural fissure in the rock which has a heavy boulder on top.
The cave thus has 2 levels. The first level of the cave can be explored through a small opening. Just opposite this is a passage that leads to another opening, this time in the roof. Here you come to the second level which is much bigger in size. On the way up to the caves, there is a small chapel carved with stories from the Bible and a small stall selling coffee and snacks. To explore the caves visitors have to pass uneven boulders, an iron ladder and rock walls covered with fungi.
The walls are covered with carvings of animal and human figures, some of which are hazy but are clear for the most part.
- How To Reach Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves are located in the Wayanad district. From Kalpetta take the Pinangode road on the Kozhikode-Mysore-Kollegal highway and then turn right onto the Kolagappara-Ambalavayal road. From here first take a left, a right and then the first left. The nearest railway station to edakkal caves is Nilambur Road Railway Station which is 38 km away from Edakkal Caves.
- Open Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM