Photo credit: Srikaanth Sekar - flickr
Offering a slice of heaven on Earth, Wayanad is located in one of the top tourist destinations in the country. With breathtaking scenery, serene climate, exotic jungles, and flourishing flora and fauna, this place presents nature’s finest characteristics. Also called the land of paddy, the region is a scenic sight with vast stretches of the crop. Through Wayanad tour packages, you get the best of this delightful land.
1) Banasura Sagar Dam, Kalpetta
Photo credit: Riju K - flickr
Being the largest earthen dam in India, the Banasura Sagar reservoir is a mud structure that stretches for more than a kilometer. This place can be reached from Kalpetta. It is named after Banasura - the son of king Mahabali. Legend has it that he undertook penance in the hills here.
[Experience boating in the Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest Earth dam in the world]
The highlight of this place is the spectacular lush scenery and you can enjoy a picnic in these salubrious surroundings. Tiny islands that are havens of biodiversity exist within the dam. Adding to the beauty of the location is the magnificent Banasura Hill which is located within the dam.
You can indulge in water sport activities when here. It is an exciting and exhilarating experience zipping on these motorboats from one island to another. The Banasura Hill offers many trekking trails for enthusiasts. It is a sought after activity as trekking on this hill is a surreal experience.
There is also a nature park on one of the hills where tree swings have been erected. Other facilities available here are boating such as pedal and speed boating. The naturalistic sightseeing attractions are worth every minute of your time when on Wayanad packages tours.
2) Pookode Lake, Kalpetta
Photo credit: Akhil Mekkatt - flickr
This region is one the major tourist attractions when on Wayanad tours. Seldom does one see a freshwater lake as scenic as the Pookode Lake. Nestled in verdant greenery, this exotic water-body is surrounding by mountains, hills, and forests.
Located at an altitude exceeding 2000m above sea level, it is a perennial fresh water body and can be reached from the Vythiri town. The lake is formed by the Panamaram rivulet. With an expanse covering more than eight hectares, this is a large stretch of serene water.
[Enjoy boating in the waters of the Pookode Lake]
One interesting trivia about the Pookode Lake is its shape which resembles India’s map. In here are many types of fish, the Pethia Poododenis variety that is only found in this lake. Boating in this place gives you an opportunity to witness innumerable lotus plants floating about. You can also see beautiful blue water lily flowers dotting the waters and numerous species of birds around.
Delight in the sight of wildlife activity that can be seen on the fringes. One can also go on trekking and camping expeditions in the surrounding forests. There are shopping centers and comfortable resorts in the vicinity.
3) Chembra Peak, Kalpetta
Photo credit: Chandru - flickr
This mountain is the highest in Wayanad and is located in the Western Ghats. It has an average elevation exceeding 6900 ft above sea level. Offered in many Wayanad tour packages, you can reach the Chembra Peak from the Meppady or Kalpetta towns. There is a lake that is shaped like a heart on the way to the peak.
It expands up to the peak and has never been dry during the history of its existence here. To reach the Chembra Peak you have to trek from Meppady and through dense forests. It is a 5 km trek and provides you amazing visual treats.
[Witness the natural heart shaped lake on a trek to the Chembra Peak]
The highlight activity at the Chembra peak is trekking. There are several trekking trails from the peak that meander through forested areas. For a complete trekking experience on at the Chembra Peak, it takes up to a day. This mountain is an ideal vantage point to enjoy the surreal beauty of Wayanad. Delight in the panoramic views of the landscape beyond and can see the thick cover of jungles expanding into the horizon. Also an amazing experience is witnessing the active bird life in this region.
Tourists can spend a day camping here. Forest officials usually do not recommend an overnight stay here given the wildlife in the forests nearby.
4) Meenmutty Falls, Kalpetta
Photo credit: Hari Sundaram - flickr
The Meenmutty Falls is considered to be one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Wayanad. It is the biggest cascade in the district and has an upward fall that inhibits fishes from swimming further. This is what gives the cascade the name Meenmutty, which means ‘the place where fish are denied a chance to swim further’
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Being a three tiered waterfall, it covers a huge area. To reach the site you have to trek for 3 km through difficult terrain. The trek is an engaging one given the flora and fauna you see along the way. You need to tread carefully in some sections of the route given that the paths get narrow and slippery. Therefore it is recommended that only physically fit people visit this cascade.
[Trek through the forest and be rewarded with views of the Meenmutty Waterfalls]
Once you reach the waterfall, you are rewarded with breath-taking scenery and lush surroundings. When you are here, visit the ancient caves in the vicinity. These caves have carvings that date back to the Neolithic age. If you are coming along with a forest official, they will be able to explain the significance of these carvings.
5) Neelimala View Point, Vaduvanchal
A treasured destination is one that possesses nature’s finest attributes in unbounded measure. The Neelimala View Point classifies as one such place. Nestled in verdant hills, you reach this view point to get panoramic views that are unparalleled in scenic value. Though the ascent to the top is challenging, it is worth the effort.
[Enjoy the scenery of Wayanad as you explore tea plantations and mountain peaks]
The best time to visit this place is just after the rains. During this time the whole region reverberates with naturalistic vitality. The jungle becomes denser, the grass is greener and birds are chirpier. All of this makes for an exciting time at the view point.
The path leading to the view point is exciting given that the landscape is dotted by plantations. You are inundated with the pleasant odors of coffee, areca nut, and ginger along the way. The embracing vast stretches of fields full of purple flowers are a sight to behold. From Neelimala View Point, you get spellbinding views of the Meenmutty Falls. This waterfall descends from an altitude exceeding 300m and is quite a sight.
6) Phantom Rock
Photo credit: Vinayaraj - wikicommons
Locally called Cheengeri Mala, the Phantom Rock is a unique structure. Architected by nature’s forces such as wind, thunder, lighting and rain, it has a distinct shape of a phantom. The top part appears like a skull.
[Take and adventure tour in Wayanad and trek to the Phantom Rock]
You can reach the Phantom rock from the Ambalavayal town, located around 25km from Kalpetta. The regions surrounding this place of interest are full of trekking trails. Abounding in scenery, there is a lot to explore and see in these surrounding regions. You can also enjoy a day’s picnic here. Amidst this green canvas, the rock makes a great sight.
Locals connote a religious connection to the rock and many offer their prayers here. For some the formation symbolizes the creation and representation of a higher force. A visit to the Phantom Rock gives you an opportunity to explore scenic backgrounds that accompany it.
7) Bamboo Forests, Muthanga
Photo Credit : Kamaljith K V
Bamboo is found abundantly in Muthanga and several other places in Wayanad. The Muthanga Bamboo Forest is a well-known tourist spot and a place where several bamboos are exported. The plant is said to have many benefits and considered a good alternative to wood. Also, it has been scientifically proven that bamboo cultivation accentuates soil fertility.
Surrounding the farm there are several souvenir stores that you can visit when on Wayanad tour packages. It is here that you can buy some bamboo handicraft items.
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8) Soochipara Falls, Kalpetta
Photo credit: Srinivasagopalan Narasimhan - flickr
The Soochipara Falls is one among the magnificent ones in Wayanad. It is located in Kalpetta that is famous for its coffee cultivation. The surrounding region is dotted with lush estates. Visiting this cascade provides you an opportunity to visit the many coffee farms here as well.
[Take a short hike through the forest and explore the Soochipara Falls]
A three-tiered cascade, it is amongst the many in this region. Also called Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, the highlight of it is the ponds as the descending water creates many small ponds. These small water bodies are not very deep and ideal for swimming.
Even people who can’t swim can gently wade through the water up to a certain point. Apart from swimming, tourists can also dive into the ponds from the elevated rocks on the sides. Given that there is no lifeguard available here visitors are requested to exercise discretion when playing in the water.
The Soochipara Falls is a treasured region given the impressive biodiversity in the surrounding places. The nearby regions have impressive nature trails. Trekking through these trails provides you an opportunity to see the resident bird life. Taking an ornithologist along is an opportunity to learn more about these birds. There are innumerable species of birds here. Some of them are the rare varieties and found only in this region.
9) Edakkal Caves, Ambukutty Mala
A visit to the Edakkal Caves is a fascinating one as it is here that you get a glimpse of the prehistoric activity that existed in Wayanad. Located in the Ambukuthi Hills, historians and scientists believe that these caves were one of the earliest regions of human habitation.
Inside you find inscriptions made on stones and scripts carved on the walls. The Scripts are chiefly pictographic and complex and conveyed messages using illustrations. The components of scripts are an assortment of symbols including swastika forms. You can see the constant use of wheels, knives, and trees in these depictions.
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The cave inscriptions of the Edakkal Caves are a rare kind in the country. This poses a question as to whether the earliest human civilization and habitation started from this region. Located ten kilometres from Sulthan Bathery, the caves are an intriguing tourist spot in Wayanad tour packages. The place is visited by international historians, linguists, and human habitation experts. These inscriptions have been studied in detail and their meaning has been published in various scientific journals.
10) Thirunelli Temple, Thirunelli
Photo credit: Reji - flickr
Visited by thousands of devotees, the Thirunelli Temple is a place of religion and faith. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is known for its unique set of ritual. Located in the Brahmagiri Hills, the place of worship is nestled amidst a green backdrop. It is perched on an altitude of 900m above sea level and is 30kms from Manathavady.
The Thiruneli Temple is an ancient shrine and the exact year of its establishment is still unknown. Thiruneli was an ancient town which was a famous pilgrimage centre during the 9th and 10th centuries. It has been determined that this place was once covered on all sides by dense forests. Excavations at this village revealed existence of a pilgrim center in this region thousands of years ago.
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One of the highlights of the temple is its unique location. Given that it is situated in the hills, the trek to the top of the hill is exciting. The surrounding regions are famous for medicinal plants. The Papanasini and Panchatheertham are important sightseeing attractions. The former is a stream that flows through virgin surroundings abounding with medicinal herbs. Taking a dip in this stream is considered an act to wash away your sins. Panchatheertham is the pond in the vicinity of the temple and considered holy.
11) Chain Tree, Vythiri
This is yet another fascinating place to visit on Wayanad tour packages. Located next to the Vythiri town, Chain Tree is essentially a large tree that belongs to the Fiscus Benjamina species. The highlight of this fiscus tree is its unique chained disposition.
Given this, it is also a source of local myth and legend. According to folklore, a local tour guide accompanied a British engineer when visiting this region. He guided him through the perilous terrain of the mountainous Wayanad region. After the successful trip, the engineer wanted to take credit for the brave expedition. So he murdered the local guide. It is believed that a local priest chained the restless spirit of the local guide to the tree.
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The roads leading to this eccentric tourist destination are excellent. The Chain Tree makes for a captivating destination that is steeped in myth, intrigue, mystery, and rumors. It is for people who like to believe in such interpretations as bounded spirits. Many consider this site to be haunted. International ghost hunters visit this place and spend many nights determining if there is existence of spirits in this region.
The Chain Tree is also a naturalistic tourist spot. The surrounding regions abound with greenery. You can visit this place to enjoy a day’s outing.
12) Jain Temple, Sulthan Bathery
Photo credit: Joseph Lazer - flickr
Although the Jain Temple is an important pilgrimage center for Jains, it is visited by people of all faiths. The temple is a fine exposition of Jain architecture. Located near to Sulthan Bathery, the place of worship is alternatively called as the Ananthanatha Swami Shrine. A salubrious spiritual spot, it is an amazing experience to visit the temple set amidst naturalistic delights.
[Explore the detailed architecture of the ruined Jain Temple in Wayanad]
The temple was built to commemorate the spiritual activities and achievements of Ananthanatha Swami, who was a Jain saint. It is also known as Tipu’s Fort given that Tipu Sultan used the temple to store his ammunition. During his reign the place of worship was used as a fort as well as an arsenal. It is quite a contradiction to note that now this place is a spiritual center.
Believed to be constructed in the thirteenth century, the Jain temple has an unmatched ambience. The peace and tranquility is palpable. The excellent architecture evokes feelings of joy. The inside of the temple is even cooler, quieter, and intriguing. The inner portions of the temple are excellently architected as well.
13) Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Photo credit: freebird - flickr
Tholpetty is an ecologically vibrant region and should be part of any Wayanad packages incorporating jungle visits. This is amongst those unique wildlife sanctuaries with amazing biodiversity. The experience you get here is unforgettable considering the distinctness of this forest. Be it the thick green cover that pervades or its unique resident bird life, you are in for an enchanting wilderness experience. The free-spiritedness is a highlight attraction and you can see wildlife activity frequently. Over here one can spot tigers, leopards, deer, guars, and elephants.
[Get up close to nature in a wildlife safari at Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary]
Being an ecological tourist center, the Tholpetty forest is also home to thousands of butterfly species. You can go on guided tours to see these beautiful winged creatures. There are hundreds of species of birds in this forest too. Ensure you take a guided tour with an ornithologist to natural habitats of birds. Learning the peculiar and unique ways and means of these birds is an informative experience.
As part of Wayanad tour packages, you can also go on eco tourism tours through this forest. Such a tour increases your awareness of the ecological importance of such forests. It helps you understand the importance of initiatives taken towards the conservation of such exotic forests. Visiting the Tholpetty forest is a soul-stirring experience if you are a nature lover and wildlife enthusiast.
14) Muthanga Wildlife Santuary
Photo credit: Ashwin Kamath - flickr
You visit the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary to see elephants out in the open. This wildlife sanctuary has an impressive and healthy population of elephants. It is part of a chain of forests covering the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Connected to this forest are the Nagarhole and Bandipur reserves. Similar to the Tholpetty forest, the Muthanga forest is known for its rich biodiversity. Visitors on Wayanad tour packages come here on eco-tourism initiatives.
[Spot a diversity of animals in a wildlife safari at Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary]
The conservation efforts in this forest are driven by scientific research and implementation. The wildlife sanctuary is also home to many tribal groups. The fringes have villages that depend on the forest for their daily lives. There is also due consideration given to people living in the jungle.
On a jeep safari, you can see species of birds, monkeys, deer, elephants and birds here. Given that this is a contiguous forest, you could occasionally see tigers visiting this region from the Bandipur and Nagarhole reserves.
15) Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary, Tholpetty
Perched at an altitude of more than 1700 meters above sea level, Pakshipathalam is the place to see vibrant bird activity. It is located around 30 kms from Manathavady and is an abode to hundreds of species of birds. You can even find rare species of birds found nowhere else here. The steep hills and abounding greenery of this region makes it a top tourist destination to enjoy the riches of nature. Given this unique disposition of this region, it is also considered a trekker’s paradise.
There are also caves in these hills. Visit these caves and spend quality time around a bonfire. You may need to take permission from local authorities to indulge in bonfire activities. This bird sanctuary is a highly protected one. Special care has been taken to preserve its natural habitat so as to not disturb bird habitation.
[Trek the Western Ghats at Pakshipathalam and appreciate the amazing views]
The Pakshipathalam bird sanctuary is for nature and bird lovers who also like trekking. You must be prepared to trek through the wilderness and into the natural habitats of birds to see them at close range. A typical trekking trail is about seven kilometers long and it could take up to several hours to finish a bird watching expedition. Pakshipathalam is a distinct tourist attraction when on Wayanad tours considering that it is a sprawling bird park.
16) Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Photo credit: Srikaanth Sekar - flickr
Over here you can spot the majestic and formidable Indian bison. Also on the list of wild animals to see are elephants, tigers, and leopards. The sanctuary is home to numerous bird species and some of them are distinct ones. For instance, the peafowl is one such bird found ubiquitously in the forest.
This sanctuary is yet another nature’s backyard bestowed with the finest attributes of nature. Currently, it is a highly protected and preserved and also part of the Nilgiris biosphere. Scientific conservation methods are incorporated in preserving the natural sanctity of this forest.
[Witness the flora and fauna on our Tiger Trail tour of the Western Ghats]
You visit this forest to also see the cultural uniqueness of the many tribes living in this region. This district has the largest population of such tribal groups. Some of the tribes living in and around this forest are the Kurumas, Paniyas, and Kurichyas.
The forest is spread over an area of 200 sq km. Nestled in the finest settings of the Western Ghats, historians indicate the presence of human activity during the Stone Age in this region. There are relics and edicts to represent this fact.