Wayanad, the 12th district in Kerala, offer an exquisite style of nature, combining hills, wildlife, rice paddies and extremely elegant waterfalls. Until 1980 it was a part of Kannur and Kozhikode after which it was declared as an independent district. The name Wayanad signifies “Vayal Nadu”, the land of paddies. It was not a tourist destination some years before, likely because people were not aware of its natural beauty. The district is the least populated in the state, majority of being tribals, and the 3rd largest in area among the 14 other districts in Kerala. Almost half of the area is uninhabited and unexplored which makes Wayanad for some, a silent escape to the nature from the noisy and polluted cities. It is a feast for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Wayanad is a major source of revenue for the state coming from cultivation of cash crops such as tea, coffee, cardamom, pepper and so on which are exported to various countries.
Edakkal caves are natural caves on Ambukuthi mala at Edakkal, 12 kms from Sulthan Bathery and 33 kms from Kalpetta. These caves are more than 7000 years old, and there are ancient petroglyphs [prehistoric rock carvings] carved on the walls. Some of these are more than 7000 years old. Climbing up the Edakkal caves you will reach the brow [upper portion] of the cave which is 1200 m above sea level. From there one can have a spectacular view of Wayanad and the Western Ghats. Climbing these caves is not for everybody since it is really steep and the way up is slippery. You can stop by and watch these ancient petroglyphs on the walls while on the way up, through the caves.
Meenmutty is the 2nd largest waterfalls in Kerala and is one of the central attraction of Wayanad. The 300 m high waterfalls is gorgeous and comprises of 3 tiers. People need to trek 2kms to reach the falls, but is worth the effort as the energy will be bursting through you in excitement when you reach there and witness these giant falls, an awe- inspiring marvel of nature. Camping near the falls is a great idea but only with proper permission from the Forest Department, you are allowed to do so, since a lot of wild animals might pass through and that could be an immediate threat. It is not recommended to visit Meenmutty falls during the monsoon season [June- September] as the water level will get high and is risky, as many have lost their lives, during the monsoon flow. Meenmutty is 30 kms from Kalpetta, likely 1 hour drive. There are Government buses too available from Kalpetta town.
It is also known as Sentinel Waterfalls. It is located at Vellarimala hills 25 kms away from Kalpetta. People usually play in the natural pool formed beneath this waterfalls and, also taking snaps walking around. Rock climbing lovers will find it perfect for the same. Visitors are not allowed to carry any plastics into falls, for which there is a security check at the entrance.
Chembra is a mountain peak and the highest of its kind in Wayanad standing 2100 m’s above sea level. It offers scenic views on both sides and some of the best scrambling along the way up. There is a heart shaped lake halfway through Chembra peak, which is so perfect that it looks like a work of art expertly drawn on a piece of land by the our mother nature. At the top of the Chembra peak, we get a jaw dropping view of the mountain ranges and part of Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Trekking and camping up at Chembra peak is simply an awesome experience, but due to some recent ecological issues visitors are not allowed to camp at night. For trekking it is necessary to seek permission from the forest authority and an entrance fee is charged per head for the same. A guide is available on request.
In the midst of lush green mountains is this natural lake Pookot. There are boating facilities, spice shops and a children’s park which makes it a quiet outing spot for families as well as newlywed couples. It is 14 kms from Kalpetta and is open from 09.00 am- 06.00 pm.
Summer [March - May] Summer at Wayanad starts by March of the year, ending by May. During summer Wayanad is considerably warmer but accompanied by cool breeze which makes it comfortable and pleasant for the visitors.
Monsoon [June - November] From June to September, the South West Monsoon reaches Wayanad, and from October to November, the North West monsoon. Strong rainfalls and drizzles make it hard to travel around, nevertheless Wayanad looks at her best when it rains as if she has worn her best outfit.
Winter [December - February] winter is cooler and the temperature may get down to 10?c. For the same reason tourists choose this time of the year to visit Wayanad as it is cool, calm and literally speaking, "breathtakingly beautiful". As a reminder, do not forget to take your sweaters, because nights are sometimes bone chilling.
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