Wayanad: Land of paddy fields and unusual natural beauty
Wayanad is home to the Eddekal caves that seem to trace back to the Early Man age. There are plenty of inscriptions within the caves that suggest the same. The caves are also, rumored to have been formed by the arrows shot by Lord Ram‘s son Luv and Kush.
Lush green forests, surrounded by gorgeous hills, waterfalls and lakes – all being punctuated with soothing, melodious sounds of colorful chirping birds.
This isn’t any fairytale land but the “Land of Paddy Fields” popularly, known as Wayanad. Located in Kerala, Wayanad is not a hill town but a hill district - that offers you diverse activities and options for a fun-filled yet refreshing holiday. Here are my 5 suggestions on things that you can do in Wayanad:
1) Trek along the nature trails
Wayanad has several trekking trails with varied intensities – be it the slightly arduous one through the Bird Paradise of Pakshipathalam or the low intensity ones to the waterfalls like Meenamuthy falls.
Pakshipathalam is a bird-watcher’s paradise and is a long trek of around 8 kms into the forests. The trek allows you to sight several unusual birds, elephants and wild animals like leopards. You can explore the Pakshipathalam caves for unique bird nests and rare species of these winged beasts.
Another scenic trail is the trek upto a heart shaped lake at the highest peak of Wayanad. This trek can be rated between low to medium intensity. After climbing to the top, you can have a glimpse at this heart shaped perennial lake as well as a get a bird’s eye view of the green Wayanad district.
The trek to Meenmutty falls is a little easier where you traverse through the forest towards the gushing sound of water and an unforgettable sight of a three-tiered waterfall. While you can admire the falls from a point, remember that stepping into the waterfall is dangerous and not recommended.
2) Explore unusual flora and fauna
If you like wildlife and nature, Wayanad offers you some unique opportunities to experience the same. You can head to the uninhabited eco-island -Kuruvadweep to discover different species of plants and trees that have grown naturally into really artistic formations. The thrill in visiting this place is that it is quite remote and to access the island you have to cross over on a raft.
And if this is not exciting enough, you always have the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary to spot plenty of elephants, deer and monkeys.
The elephants including huge tuskers roam around freely within the sanctuary and sometimes, even on the roads leading to it. You can take a Jeep Safari to spot other wild beasts or choose to ride an elephant itself.
3) Discover the Neolithic age
Image Credits: Rahul Ramdas under CC by SA 3.0
Wayanad is home to the Eddekal caves that seem to trace back the to the Early Man age. There are plenty of inscriptions within the caves that suggest the same. The caves are also, rumored to have been formed by the arrows shot by Lord Ram’s son Luv and Kush.
Besides the caves, you can also, visit the ancient burial vaults at Muniyara or dip into a more recent history at the Kidangada Jain Temples, that were destroyed by Tipu Sultan and converted into a store house for his weapons. Interestingly, this area is called Sultanbathery – meaning “Sultan’s battery”, since he stored his ammunition here.
4) Refresh yourself with the waterfalls
Sure you cannot dip yourself at the Meenmuthy waterfalls but that does not mean that there aren’t any other waterfalls that you cannot enjoy in Wayanad. You can cool yourself at the Soochiparawaterfalls which fall from a height into a small pool - that is great for some fun water time. The drive to the waterfalls is also, amazing as you pass through green tea gardens to reach here.
Besides these falls, you can also, opt to visit the Banasura falls with its small cascades. Here, you can sit on these small cascades and enjoythe water flowing all around you.
5) Indulge in some boating
Wayanad has lots of lakes and some interesting dams that offer you plenty of opportunities for boating. You can opt to spend a lazy evening boating at the Pookot lake or pump up your adrenaline with some speed boating at Banasura Dam.
Remember to keep an eye out for the lovely birds around these lakes and waterbodies. These waterbodies are well developed for you to have a picnic. You just might want to pack some goodies and spend a lazy day here.
With so much of nature and choice of activity, it would not be surprising if you are already planning a visit to Wayanad. Here are some tips that could help you further:
1) The nearest airport to Wayanad is at Calicut, Bangalore or Mysore. From the airport, you need to either hire a cab or take a bus to Wayanad.
2) October to February are the best season to visit Wayanad.
3) Trekking to places like Chembra Peak and Pakshipathalam need permission from forest authorities. Though the same can be availed on the spot, time your visit accordingly. Also, note overnight camping at these places is not allowed.
4) Wayanad has plenty of resorts and home stays for all kinds of budgets.
5) Distances in Wayanad are huge and hence, when planning your day, be mindful of them. You will need to hire internal transport – auto or car, to move within the district.