Wayanad has two of Indiaâ€™s best wildlife sanctuaries. These sanctuaries are home to rich and unique flora and fauna, some of them on the verge of extinction.
The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
The Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal destination to be close with the nature. The sanctuary, an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, was established in 1973.
The sanctuary is close to the protected area the Nagarhole National Park and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the neighbouring Karnataka and Mudumalai in Tamilnadu. This sanctuary, spread over 345 sq km, is rich with fauna and flora, and falls under Project Elephant.
One can watch herds of wild elephants, various species of deer, Indian Bison, monkeys, birds and sometimes tigers here. The Forest Department arranges elephant watches here. The evergreen forests and rich flora and fauna here itself is a feast for the eyes and a relief for the mind.
Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Tholpetty reserve is situated along the northern ridge of Wayanad bordering Coorg in Karnataka. Tholpetty boasts of the same flora and fauna of Muthanga. One can take exciting treks and jeep safaris into the Wildlife Sanctuary and have a close encounter with elephants, wild gaur, deers, wild squirrel, jungle cat, tigers and numerous birds. There is lake inside the sanctuary and it is the main water source for the animals and birds. The watch-tower near the lake is a vantage point to watch the animals coming to the lake to drink water.
Rich in biodiversity, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which has been established with the specific objective of conserving the biological heritage of the region. The main attraction of Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is the night camping in deep woods.
Pookot Lake: Pookot Lake is a fresh water lake surrounded by lush mountains and captivating natural beauty. One can indulge in activities like boating here. Other attractions include a fresh water aquarium and a park for children.
The Soochippara waterfall is a must-visit attraction in Wayanad. near Meppadi has a magical attraction. With cascades ranging between 100 - 300 ft, the waterfall is a perfect location for water sports enthusiasts as they can indulge in activities like rafting and swimming. Tree houses are another attraction. From the tree top huts one can see the expansive valleys.
Kanthanpara waterfalls: Kanthanpara waterfall is small fall in two stages. The first stage is safe with a pond, especially for kids to play. Since it is not a frequently visited place and its surrounding environment is serene and peaceful. Beautiful tea gardens around the Kanthanpara waterfalls add more charm to the scenic waterfall.
Sunrise Valley: The picturesque Sunrise Valley provides some great trekking opportunities. It's a stunning place to visit at any time of the day.
Karapuzha Dam: Karapuzha Dam is one of the biggest Earth Dams in India. The Karapuzha Dam's reservoir is a nice breeding ground for aquatic birds. The backdrop of the pouring water from the dam against the green mountains is a fine sight to see.
Kuruva Island: Kuruva Island or Kuruvadweep is a 950-acre placid island on the Kabini River. Situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, the island is home to wide varieties of species, rare species of birds, herbs and orchids.
Begur Wildlife Sanctuary (18 Kms); Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary (25 Kms); Thirunelli Temple (25 Kms) and Pakshipathalam (30 Kms) are among those nearest attractions.
Karalad Lake: Karalad Lake is 16 km west of Kalpetta. It is seven-acre lake with nice photo opportunities.
The Banasura Sagar Dam: The Banasura Sagar Dam is Indiaâ€™s biggest earthen dam and the second largest in Asia. It impounds the waters of Karamanathodu, which is a tributary of the Kabini River.
One should also visit the reservoir shaped by the dam, which is dotted with small islands. It offers a fantastic view with the Banasura Hill as the background. One can zoom across the large tracts of blue waters in power boats.
Chethalayam Waterfalls: Chethalayam Waterfalls is only 12 km away from Sulthan Bathery. Compared to other waterfalls of Wayanad, Chethalayam Falls is lesser known and it offers great opportunity for bird as we as butterfly watching. The 4 km trek to the waterfalls provides memorable experience as one can see verdant valleys and wildlife.
Meenmutty Falls: Meenmutty is the tallest waterfall in Wayanad. A day's lengthy trek to the accompaniment of the murmurs of the river through the verdant locales takes you to this amazing waterfall. The force of water thumping on the dark rocks and splattering is a must-see scene.
Boys Town: Boys Town is a famous tourist spot, situated 15 kilometers away from Mananthavady. It has a nice herbal garden with unique and rare herbs which are used for medicinal purposes and for ayurvedic cure. There is also a nature care centre here. Here there are herbal medicine specialties who can perform nature care treatments. Boys Town also has a sericulture unit. Jean Park, an Indo-Danish project for promoting herbal gardening, is also here.
Adventure / Trek
Chembra Peak: Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above sea level. Located close to Meppady, the peak is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats. One can access Chembra Peak on foot from Meppady with prior permission from the authorities. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment to tourists. A heart-shaped lake on the way to the peak is an important tourist attraction.
Neelimala View Point: Neelimala view point is a venue for trekking and camping. It offers lots of exciting trails. From here one can enjoy a beautiful view of the cascading Meenmutty falls and the gorgeous valley in its forefront.
On way to the view point, one can smell the exotic aroma of coffee berries as there are coffee plantations on both sides.
Pakshipathalam: Pakshipathalam is an ideal destination for adventure lovers. Situated 1740 m above sea level, the trek to Pakshipathalam will be a unique experience as it lies in the Brahmagiri hills on the borders of Karnataka and Kerala. It is home to various species of birds and wild beasts.
Edakkal caves: Located at Amabalavayal, just 25 km away from Kalpetta, Edakkal cave is known worldwide for its pre-historic rock etchings and carvings. Edakkal caves are considered to be one of the ancient hubs of human civilization and habitation. One can find ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with unique headdresses, symbols and cave drawings of human figures, trees, bows, wheels, knives, etc. It is a historically important cave as the pictorial etchings inside the cave are believed to date to at least 5000 BC, from the Neolithic man, which shows the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in Wayanad.
The cave has been attracting tourists, archaeologists and history buffs for a long time. Historians believe that the Edakkal caves had been inhabited during various times in the past.
Sultan Bathery Jain Temple: Jain temple Wayanad is an important tourist spot. This is an excellent piece of Jain architecture and a well-known tourist attraction. This temple is dedicated to a Jain saint, Ananthanatha swami. The temple is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century.
Wayanad Heritage Museum: This Museum is also called Ambalavayal Heritage Museum and is situated 12 km south of Sulthan Bathery. On display at the museum are tribal relics and artefacts from Neotholic age to the 17th century. There are artifacts from tribal life such as decorated grave stones etc.
Chain Tree: Chain Tree is an attractive tourist spot. Chain tree Wayanad is a large Ficus tree which is native to Australia and Asia. The specialty about the large Ficus tree is that it is bound by a prominent chain.
Pazhassi Rajaâ™s Tomb: Pazhassi Rajaâ€™s tomb is a memorial of the Pazhassi Raja who was seen as the lion of Kerala. The tomb is situated at Mananthavady.
Uravu: Uravu is an NGO working in the area of indigenous sciences and technology for the upliftment of the marginalised tribes. They have a bamboo crafts design and production centre apart from a bamboo nursery.