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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary - Exploring the Top Attraction in Wayanad

Exploring the Top 5 Attractions in Wayanad (2024)

It is not without cause that Kerala is known as ‘God’s Own Country.’ This South Indian state is located on the Malabar Coast and bordered by the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. The state is famous for its serene network of lagoons known as the backwaters. The state has some of the most beautiful hill stations in India, golden sandy palm-fringed beaches, sprawling tea plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, the Western Ghats, and colorful dance forms. There is something for everyone in Kerala.

While there are many cities and villages to check out in Kerala, perhaps none stands out as much as Wayanad, Kerala’s very own nature’s abode. Wayanad can be called the green paradise of Kerala as it is nestled in the heart of the mountains of Western Ghats. It forms the border of the greener part of Kerala while being rich in culture, history, and cascading waterfalls.

Where is Wayanad Located?

The hill station of Wayanad is located in the northeast of Kerala, set high at an altitude of 700 to 2100 meters above sea level. It is located 76 kilometers from the coastal town of Kozhikode.

The hills of Wayanad stretch from Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu to Bandhipur in Karnataka, forming a vast landmass that allows plenty of exotic and native wildlife to move about freely within the Western Ghats.

Wayanad is perched on the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau, with its primary glory being the majestic Western Ghats. The Western Ghats, with its rugged terrain, dense forest cover, tangled jungles, and deep valleys, makes Wayanad the perfect place to enjoy in the very heart of nature.

What is Wayanad Known For?

Wayanad is best known for its cascading waterfalls and many wildlife reserves. There are also historical caves, spice plantations, and a massive variety of flora and fauna that Wayanad is known for. As you walk through the sprawling spice plantations and take a trek up to the pre-historic caves here, you will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Wayanad wildlife reserve forms an integral part of the entire Nilgiri biosphere reserve, which is spread throughout the hills of Western Ghats. Wildlife like leopards, elephants, and bears have made the Wayanad jungles their home. You can come across many elephants and other harmless animals roaming the hills if you decide to go on a trek through the misty environs of this hill station.

Exploring the Top 5 Attractions in Wayanad

1. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second biggest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala and is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is surrounded by the protected reserves of Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu along with Bandipur and Nagarhole in Karnataka.

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in 1973, and it is a vital part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve today. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is, in fact, the very first biosphere out of the 14 reserves present in India today.

The sanctuary is sprawled over a massive area of 345 square kilometers and is actually divided into two parts – the Upper Wayanad and the Lower Wayanad. The whole area of the sanctuary is also home to many bamboo trees.

Which Animals Can I Spot At The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

The sanctuary is home to various animal life, and it is common to herds of elephants and deer walking across the road or through the forests. When it comes to the cat family, there are many panthers, and tigers present here. Bonnet macaques, langurs, sambar, bison, monkeys, and bears too can be spotted roaming around the sanctuary. If you are lucky, you may see the slender loris as well.

Snakes and monitor lizards, including the coral snake, golden tree snake, pit vipers, and green whip snakes, can also be found in the sanctuary. There are several flying lizards, termite hill gecko, crocodiles, chameleons, skinks, and flap shell turtles living in the sanctuary.

This sanctuary is perfect for bird watchers as well as over 216 species of birds have made it their home. These include babbler, peacock, owls, black woodpeckers, jungle fowl, and cuckoos.

Thirty species of amphibians that reside here include ramnella, Ceylon kaliula, red microhylid, ornate microhylid, bi-colored frogs, the Malabar gliding frog, and the bronze frog.
If you are trekking across the sanctuary, you will come across many rivers that flow through here, and there is a thriving aquatic life that can be found in the waters, including the Malabar catopra, Wayanad barb, korhi barb, ariza labeo, Wayanad mystus, common rasbra, and giant danio.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?

Barring the monsoon season that falls between June to August, you can visit the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary throughout the year. Heavy rainfall from June to August makes it almost impossible to trek, and the landscape becomes very slippery as well.

2. Banasura Sagar Dam

Located in the heart of the Banasura Hills, the breathtakingly beautiful Banasura Sagar Dam is one of the biggest earthen dams in India and also the second biggest in Asia. As you stand there and take in the view of the sprawling natural beauty around the reservoir from the top of the dam, the experience will be unforgettable.

The dam is constructed along the Karamanathodu River, which is a tributary of the Kabini River, which is a major tourist destination and is also being maintained as part of the Indian Banasura Sagar Damn Project. The dam is important for the entire region because it provides drinking water, irrigation, and electricity to the area.

What Is There To See At The Banasura Sagar Dam?

When you reach the area, you will get the views of sparkling clear water dotted with several small islands. In the monsoons, the view becomes even more incredible. The surrounding hills are named after ‘Banasura,’ who was the son of the famous demon king Mahabali. The Banasura Dam is one of the most beautiful places you can see in Wayanad.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Banasura Dam?

The best time to visit the Banasura Dam is during the months of November to May, when the weather is pleasant, and the trekking routes are safe to take.

3. Edakkal Caves

The pre-historic Edakkal Caves are two naturally occurring alcoves that are famous for exquisite wall and rock carvings. These caves are located in Wayanad but in a slightly precarious location, so to reach them, you will need to trek for approximately one and a half hours. Then also, you will only get to the entrance of the cave, from where you need to trek for another 45 minutes to reach the mouth of the cave.

Why are the Edakkal Caves Important?

The caves measure a width and length of 22 and 96 feet respectively and are situated about 1200 meters above sea level. The Edakkal Caves are of great archaeological and historical significance as the carvings of the wall date all the way back to the Neolithic era, placing them somewhere in the late Stone Age. The stonework that adorns the interior of the cave is also equally historical and estimated to be as old as 5000 BC to 1000 BC.

The term Edikkal actually means ‘a stone in between’, and the name describes the formation of the cave perfectly. This is because there is a smaller rock wedged in between two bigger ones to form a natural cave system. There are two levels to the cave, and the first level of the cave can be reached through a small opening. Opposite to this is a passage that leads to another opening in the roof of the cave. From here, you will reach the second level, which is bigger in size.

If you want to explore the caves, you will need to get past some uneven boulders, climb up an iron ladder, and get past rocky walls covered in fungi. The cave walls are covered with a variety of carvings of human and animal figures, some of which have gotten a bit hazy over the years, but others are very clear. The oldest of these carvings is believed to be 8000 years old, suggesting that the cave was inhabited at several points in history.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Edakkal Caves?

The months of November to March are the best time to enjoy these pre-historical caves in Wayanad.

4. Chembra Peak

The Chembra Peak is located close to Meppady, around 8 kilometers south of Kalpetta. This is the highest peak of the Wayanad Hill Range, situated at the height of 2000 meters above sea level.

What Is There To Do At The Chembra Peak?

The Chembra Peak is a must-visit when you are in Wayanad just to get a glimpse of the panoramic view of not only Wayanad but also a sizeable chunk of Kozhikode Nilgiri and Malappuram districts. The peak is famous for the heart-shaped lake that is a popular picnic spot for visitors.

The Chembra Peak is again a famous trekking spot. There are several excellent one-day trekking trails here that take around three hours to complete. There are many trails that take you through the heart-shaped lake. There is a legend attached to the lake that says it has never dried up in so many years. You can also get a view of the Banasura Sagar Dam from the peak, which is a mesmerizing view in itself.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Chembra Peak?

The best time to visit Chembra Peak is in the months of September to March. It is preferable to avoid visiting this area during the monsoon season.

5. Soochipara Falls

Soochipara Falls, also known as the Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, is a three-layered waterfall that is located in Vellarimala in Wayanad. The waterfall comes cascading from 200 meters high and is surrounded by thick evergreen, deciduous, and montane forests. The Soochipara Falls is regarded as being one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kerala. If you are driving from Meppadi to Soochipara Falls, the scenic views of the sprawling tea plantations in Wayanad will keep you engrossed with their beauty.

The mesmerizing waterfall also offers a cliff face, which is perfect for rock climbing. The water falling from the cliff forms a big pool, where you can enjoy swimming and bathing. The water of the Soochipara Falls goes on to join the Chulika River, also known as the Chaliyar River.

Other Interesting Places to See In Wayanad

Apart from these places, there are also many other places that deserve to be checked out if you are spending more than two days in Wayanad. These include:

  1. Vythiri – A small town located in Wayanad that is surrounded by dense rainforest. It is famous for its sprawling spice plantations and a favorite place for adventure sports, trekking, and just walking around the town. Vythiri is also known for its indigenous tribal communities.
  2. Kuruva Dweep – Located on the tributaries of River Kabani, the Kuruva Dweep (island) is surrounded by enchanting evergreen forests. This is a popular site for visitors who want a quiet holiday away from the hustle-bustle of the cities.
  3. Sulthan Bathery – This is the biggest town in Wayanad District, known for pre-historic caves, sparkling streams, jungle trails, lush greenery, majestic hills, and crisscrossing rivers.
  4. Pookode Lake – Located three kilometers south of Vythiri, this is a natural freshwater lake that is famous for its greenhouse and aquarium. Kayaking in the lake is much sought-after activity.
  5. Chain Tree – This popular Ficus tree is at the center of many local myths and legends and is a popular tourist attraction today.

What Else Is There To Do In Wayanad?

Apart from visiting some of the most beautiful places in Wayanad, you can also enjoy a stay in the treehouse. There are many packages that offer you a stay in the beautiful wooden treehouses, where you get to enjoy a bonfire and take part in activities like rappelling, rock climbing, nature walks, trekking, and much more.

You can also visit the E3 theme park, which is located in Vellamunda near Wayanad. The E3 Theme Pass is one of India’s best multi-recreational theme parks. There is a variety of fun and exciting activities you can take part in at the park, including the Magnetic Free Fall, 12D theater, a huge kid’s park, and the moss garden. This park is not just for the kids, but an appealing destination for adults as well, including rifle shooting, rappelling, archery, rock climbing, and much more.

So when you visit Kerala, definitely plan to spend a few days exploring the natural beauty of Wayanad.

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