Wayanad, a lesser known tourist destination in Kerala, but I would call it a lesser known heaven. This gorgeous set of hills are located to the North of Kerala state at a height of 2300 feet above the sea level. Coming to know about its rich wildlife, glistening waterfalls and splendid mountain tops, I decided to make a visit. I visited during the January month and the weather was cool and the pleasant atmosphere soothes all your senses. I happened to visit probably all the top sightseeing spots at Wayanad and here is my list of the best tourist places in Wayanad. If I did miss something out, please comment below.
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A trek to the Chembra Peak is tiring but equally rewarding as well. It is the most famous sightseeing spot in Wayanad which you must not risk to miss if you ever happen to visit Wayanad. The heart-shaped lake you would come across, halfway through your trek is the highlight of Chembra and a delight for travellers. It is recommended you spend some time taking pleasure in the paradisiacal beauty of the Wayanad Hills.
As you continue your trek up the peak and reach the top, you would for sure feel Chembra is worth climbing. The pleasant cool weather, the lush greenery around and the panoramic views of surrounding landscape you get from here is simply out of the world. Due to some ecological reasons, trekking beyond the heart-shaped lake is prohibited for now.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary or popularly known as the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is a favourite haunt for the wildlife enthusiasts visiting Kerala. It belongs to the UNESCO’s Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
An exciting jungle jeep safari through the dense woods of Muthanga is the best way to explore it. You would come across various wild animals such as Elephants, bison, deer, monkeys and a lot more. At times, if luck favours, you might spot the fiery tigers chasing their prey or resting by the woods. The safari timings are 7 am to 10 am in the morning and 2 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon.
Edakkal Caves are naturally formed caves on the Ambikuthy Mala [hill] at Edakkal, 14 km away from Sulthan Bathery town and 28 km from Kalpetta town. Legend has it that the caves were formed by the shot arrows of Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Rama. It has two chambers, lower and upper. In the upper chamber, we could find ancient petroglyphs or carvings belonging to the Neolithic Age, nearly 8000 years ago.
Archaeologists claim the Edakkal Caves housed one of the oldest civilization known to mankind. Climb up the Edakkal Caves 4000 feet above the sea level, and you get a spectacular view of the Wayanad Hills.
Now, this is the largest waterfall in Wayanad and is one of the natural wonders of the world. This 3 tiered waterfalls can be enjoyed from three different viewpoints, offering the views of each deck of waterfalls. You can only reach Meenmutty Falls after a 2 km long trek through dense woods. Though tiring, it is thoroughly satisfying, especially if you are a nature lover and love walking through the wilderness.
As you finish the trek and reach Meenmutty Falls, you would be literally dumb-founded by this wonderful artwork of nature we call Meenmutty. Water racing down the rocks from 1000 feet, set amidst serene and tranquil hills and the jungle ambience, Meenmutty Waterfalls is a delightful sight to witness. No words for it, just go, witness and experience. It is not recommended to visit during the Monsoon, as the water level gets high and it is pretty risky.
Pookode Lake is a famous tourist spot in Wayanad. 14 km away from Kalpetta town and 770 feet above the sea level, nestled amidst the lush green mountains of Western Ghats is this gorgeous freshwater lake. Boating is the favourite activity for travellers here. There is a children’s park as well which makes it a complete family spot.
This is again another scintillating waterfalls at Wayanad. It I located 25 kms away from the Kalpetta town, at the Vellarimala Hills. This three-tiered waterfall is also known as the Sentinel Rock Waterfalls. Littering near the waterfall area is prohibited, and therefore you are not allowed to carry plastics from the entrance point. You will have to go through a security check for the same. After that, a 15 minutes hike through the lush green forest takes you to this beautiful 200-meter waterfalls.
The favourite activity of the travellers is to play in the natural pool formed the gushing waterfalls. Walking around the forest area, you will get to click some good snaps as well.
Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Tholpetty is yet another famous wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad. It comprises of deciduous and semi-evergreen forests. Opt for a Jeep safari through the thick forest of Tholpetty and come across its wild residents in their natural habitat. Elephants, deer, langurs and tigers are frequently spotted during the safari.
So, if you are wildlife enthusiast, head to Muthanga and Tholpetty and it is guaranteed you will be entertained. The Tholpetty and the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary are a part of the UNESCO Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Jeep Safari timings are 7am-10am and 2 pm- 5 pm.
Banasura Sagar Dam
Just 21 km from the Kalpetta town is India’s largest Earth dam, the Banasura Sagar Dam. It is a picture-perfect spot for relaxing as well as adventure activities. You may opt for pedal boating, speed boating, trekking trails and much more.
Spanning over an area of 2400 acres, this picturesque piece of land dots the Kabani River and is popularly known as the Kuruva Dweep or Kuruva Islands. Located 40 km away from the town of Kalpetta, the island is home to some of the rare species of flora and fauna, some indigenous to this very island. Bamboo Rafting along the beautiful streams is the most sought-after activity here at Kuruva Island. Boating and trekking options are also available here.
Entry during the monsoon season is restricted here. Kuruva Island is open to visitors during October- May months. Entry timing is 9 to 5 pm.
The Thirunelli Temple, also known as the Amalaka Temple or the Siddha Temple, is located 61 km away from the Kalpetta town. It is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. As per the legend goes, Lord Brahma performed prayers to Lord Vishnu here.
Dating to the 8thcentury AD, the architecture of the Tirunelli temple is simply brilliant. The significance of this temple is that it is the only temple in the world, where all the rituals related to one’s life can be performed.
There is a stream flowing near to the temple known as Papanasini owing its name to the fact that a dip in its water will dissolve one’s sins just like the Ganges of Kashi. All the rituals are done on the banks of Papanasini. There is a cave temple Gunnika, to the West, adjacent to the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is not just the significance of the temple that draws people here. The whole ambience of the Temple surroundings covered with lush greenery and hills provide a sense of tranquillity all around. It is a must visit spot at Wayanad.
So, that is it, these were my top 10 picks for the best tourist places in Wayanad.
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