Wayanad: Comprising an area of 2,132 sq. kilometres, Wayanad has a powerful history. Historians are of the view that organised human life existed in these parts, at least ten centuries before Christ. Countless evidences about New Stone Age civilisation can be seen on the hills of Wayanad. The two caves of Ampukuthimala located between Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of the bygone era and civilisation. Recorded history of this district is available from the 18th century. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe. In later days, Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Ali becames the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his sway. In the days of Tipu, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handed over the entire Malabar region to the British, after the Sreerangapattanam truce, he made with them. This was followed by fierce and internecine encounters between the British and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajah of Kottayam. When the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad, he organised the war-like Kurichiya tribals into a sort of people's militia and engaged the British in several guerrilla type encounters. In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who killed himself somewhere in the interior of the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new turn in the Home of this area. The British authorities opened up the plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, from Kozhikode and Thalassery. These roads were extended to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Through the roads poured in settlers from all parts of Kerala and the virgin forest lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. In order to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, north Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on November 1, 1980 as the 12 district of Kerala.
Places of Interest:
The hills, rocks and valleys which contribute to the very unique character of Wayanad provide a lot for adventure tourism. Trekking to the Chembra peak is a risky mountaineering endeavour. Chembra peak, the highest hill in Wayanad, is near Meppady town. Trekking to the top of this peak takes almost a day. Tourists can also stay one or two days at the top of the peak in temporary camps. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides, sleeping bags, canvases, huts and trekking implements on hire. The scenic beauty of Wayanad, which is visible from the top of Chambra, is very exhilerating.
This location of breathtaking beauty is three kilometres from Ambalavayal which is 25 kilometres from Kalpetta. The Edakkal cave in the Ambukuthy mountain, is not a cave in the real sense. As stated in the India Antiquary (Vol.XXX, page - 410) and quoted in the District Gazette, Kozhikode, it is only'a cleft about 96ft. long and 22ft wide in the rock'. It is a fissure made by a corner of rock splitting off from the main body due to some natural causes. The depth of both the cleft and the fissure is 30 ft. What makes it a cave to the ordinary observer is the fact that in the other portion of the large cleft, an enormous rock, weighing several tonnes, has fallen forming a roof over a large part of it. The rock wall contains some interesting carvings, which represent human and animal figures and objects of human use and symbols. These carvings speak of a highly civilized people of pre-historic age and inspires the archaeologists and historians to rewrite the history of Wayanad and Kerala as a whole.
The Kuruva island, 950 acres of ever green forest on the tributaries of east flowing river Kabani, is an ideal picnic spot, far away from the disturbances of city life. The island is uninhabited. Rare species of birds, orchids and herbs are the sovereigns of this supernal kingdom. It is 17 Kms. east of Mananthavady and 40 kms. north west of Sulthan Bathery.
One of the highest locations in Wayanad, Lakkidi also commands a picturesque scenery. It is about 58 kms. north east of Kozhikode and five kms. south of Vythiri. Lakkidi, the gate way of Wayanad, lies atop Thamarassery, a ghat pass at an elevation of 700 m. above mean sea level.The lofty mountain peaks, the gurging stream, luxuriant vegetation and the bird's eye view of the deep valley on the south, with its winding roads, are breath taking. The 12 kms.long journey from Adivaram to Lakkidi through ghat road with nine hairpin bends amidst thick forests, is a fascinating experience.
Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary:
Muthanga, Which is 16 kms. east of Sulthan Bathery, is located very near to the Karnadaka border. Wild forests covering an area of 345 sq.kms form the Muthanga wild life sanctuary; the biggest abode of wild animals in Malabar. Elephant, spotted deer, bison, tiger, cheeta, wild bear, etc. are found in this sanctuary. The forest Department has facilities for providing elephant rides to tourists, here.
Pakshipathalam in the Brahmagiri hills at Thirunelli, is a challenging tourist spot for any adventure seeking tourist. To reach Pakshipathalam seventeen kilometres have to be covered through wild forest. The deep rock caves, formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri, are the abode of various birds and wild beasts. Special permission has to be obtained from Forest Department to go to Pakshipathalam. District Tourism Promotion Council arranges vehicle, guides, camping equipments, etc. to the tourists, on hire.
Pazhassi Raja Tomb:
Pazhassi Tourist Resort at Mananthavady is a good picnic centre in north Wayanad. There is a good aquarium here. Coin-operated toys for children and boating facilities for tourists are available here. Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of Kerala, who organised guerilla type warfare against British East India Company, was cremated here in 1805.
It is a natural fresh water lake, brimmed with ever green mountains. The weather here is salacious; the scenic beauty, hypnotising and the nature, unspoiled. Pookot lake tourist resort in Vythiri is the most sought after tourist spot of Wayanad. There is an aquarium and a green house here. Boating facilities are also available. Spices and handicraft items are also arranged for sale at Pookot. The lake has an area of 8.5ha. and the maximum water depth is 6.5mtrs. This lake is three kms.south of Vythiri.
Sentinel Rock Waterfalls:
This waterfall is at Vellarimala village near Chooralmala in Meppadi panchayat. It is a picnic spot as well as a trekking centre. The sentinel rock, a rock of more than 200 m.in height, is ideal for rock climbing.
Relatively smaller than Sentinal Rock Waterfall and rather less frequented, Kanthanpara and its surroundings are nonetheless very pleasant. An easy hike away from the main road, it is perfect for picnic
The waterfalls at Soochippara near Meppadi is really a treasure of nature, yet to be discovered. The stretches of waterfalls ranging at places from 100 to 300 feet height is a treat to the eyes. The pool below, provides for water rafting, swimming, bathing,etc. The tree top huts at Soochippara give an unique view of the valleys of the Western Ghats and the glimmering shallow waters of the surrounding springs.
Banasura sagar Dam:
This is the largest earth dam in India. The topography here is such that many islands will be formed in the upstream of the dam when the dam is full. These islands with the background of the Banasura hill will provide a hypnotising sight to tourists.