Wayanad, located in Kerala, is a picture-perfect town full of lush green slopes and forests. It is the perfect place for nature lovers and those who like taking long walks or hikes in the great outdoors.
Wayanad has so much to offer those who come to holiday here. There are mesmerizing waterfalls, caves, spiritual places and a wildlife sanctuary to explore on your trip. We take a look at the places you must visit in and around Wayanad if you are planning a relaxing break in the town.
Places to Visit in and around Wayanad: Temples
1. Thirunelli Temple
Located on the side of Brahmagiri Hills, Thirunelli Temple is a famous ancient temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers with devotees coming here from all over India, especially from South.
The temple is located at a height of around 900 metres and is surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains.
2. Jain Temple
Located at a distance of 24 kilometres from Kalpetta, this is an ancient temple situated in the heart of a town called Sulthan Bathery. The architecture of the temple is beautiful with carvings on the granite pillars, inspired by the Vijayanagar style of architecture.
The temple has few small statues of Jain Tirthankaras, but the main seat of the sanctum is empty and no poojas are performed here.
Places to visit in and around Wayanad: Wildlife Sanctuaries
3. Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary
Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary is a great place for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Both locals and tourists come here for a spot of bird watching.
Apart from bird watching, this place also has a nice path leading to the sanctuary which is suitable for trekking. The trek is a scenic one, with amazing views, a lot of greenery, hills and streams around.
4. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, the second largest sanctuary in Kerala, was established in 1973. It has an area of around 340 square kilometers and has four ranges. The four ranges are Sulthan Bathery, Muthanga, Kurichiat and Tholpetty.
The sanctuary is home to many wild animals such as the Indian bison, elephants, deer, tigers and more. It is now a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and a protected area. Here, you can partake in activities such as a jungle safari, wildlife safari and sightseeing tours.
5. Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the north of Wayanad, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its diverse flora. It is a part of UNESCO’s Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the first international biosphere reserve in India. There is a wildlife safari open to visitors twice day which lasts for about 2 hours.
The major attraction in this sanctuary is the lake where animals come to drink water. You can spot elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, deer, monkeys and reptiles.
Places to visit in and around Wayanad: Lakes, Islands and Dams
6. Pookode Lake
Pookode Lake is considered as one of the smallest and highest freshwater lake in Kerala. It is spread across an area of 8.5 hectares and is around 6.5 metres deep, and in the shape of the map of India.
On the lake, you can see beautiful blue lotus flowers. Here you can go for a boat ride or take a nice long nature walk or hike.
7. Banasura Sagar Dam
One of the best tourist places to visit in Wayanad, Banasura Sagar Dam is a must-visit. It is a part of the Indian Banasura Sagar project, a dam and a canal project started in the year 1979.
The dam and the area around it is beautiful. Here you are offered various activities such as boating, trekking and sightseeing.
8. Kuruva Island
Kuruva Island is spread over an area of 950 acres and has a rich variety of flora and fauna. Here you will see many bridges that are made of bamboo and several rare species of plant.
The island has many small streams and rivers along the green forests, making it an ideal place to walk about. Activities here include boating, rafting, nature walks and much more.
Places to visit in and around Wayanad: Nature
9. Chembra Peak
One of the highest peaks in Western Ghats, Chembra Peak is located at a height of 2100 metres above sea level. It is situated close to the town Meppadi. It’s a great place to trek in – the highest point is a lake that is heart shaped, which is moulded in a heart shape.
A visit to this peak needs a pass from the VSS office at the entrance, which also provides trekking guides to tourists.
10. Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves is famously known for the pictorial art in the cave which is made in 6000 BC. In order to reach the caves, we need to trek through the Ambukuthi Mala which will take around 45 minutes. There are two chambers inside the cave, the lower chamber which is about 18 feet long and 1o feet high and the upper chamber which is about 96 feet long and 18 feet high.
On the walls, we can find many animal figures that are drawn by the humans of that age. If you want to know the culture and the human life of the past then this place is for you.
11. Chain Tree
It is located on the highway near the famous Pepper Wayanad Gate Hotel. This is a ficus tree with massive steel chains hanging from it. Legend has it that a British engineer killed a tribal youth who had helped him reach Wayanad.
He did so because he wanted credit for discovering the easiest and shortest path to get there and in killing the youth he could act as if the discovery was his own. The spirit of the deceased tribal is said to haunt this area.
12. Soochipara Falls
Soochipara Falls, also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfall, is a three-tiered waterfall at Vellarimala at a height of 656 feet that is encompassed by thick forests.
It takes 20 minutes to reach this place from Meppadi. In order to reach the falls, you need to stroll for around 2 kilometres from the parking space, as the vehicles cannot move further in.
13. Phantom Rock
Phantom Rock is situated in Ambalavayal and is 26 kilometres away from Kalpetta. It stands at a height of 260 meters above sea level and is surrounded by greenery. This is an archaeological wonder that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet.
The rock resembles the shape of a skull and hence the name Phantom Rock. It is located near to the Cheengeri Mala, a place that is popular with trekkers.
14. Neelimala Viewpoint
Neelima Viewpoint offers some fun-filled experiences along with a mesmerising view. In order to reach the viewpoint, you need to take the Ooty Road to Vaduvanchal and from there you have to trek to the hilltop. As you go up, you will see beautiful views of the western ghats and Meenmutty Falls.
15. Lakkidi Viewpoint
Situated on the peak of the serpentine Thamarassery Ghat Pass, Lakkidi Viewpoint is located around 2296 feet above sea level. The nearest town is Vythiri, about 5 kilometres away.
A lot of tourists visit this place due to its breathtaking views of lush green slopes, streams and valleys. In recent years, its popularity has grown as a hill station getaway.
16. Meenmutty Waterfalls
Meenmutty Waterfalls is a famous three-tiered waterfall in Kerala, located near the Neyyar Reservoir, 29 kilometres from Kalpetta. The height of the waterfall is about 300 metres.
In order to reach the location, you can trek about 2 kilometres through the thick jungle from the Wayanad-Ooty road. This is a bit risky during the monsoon season. Activities to participate in here include trekking, rock climbing and swimming.
Places to visit in and around Wayanad: Factories
17. The Bamboo Factory
The Factory in Uravu is an initiative to bring back the art of making crafts using bamboo. The locals here earn their living as bamboo craftsmen.
This place serves a dual purpose as a source of income for the locals and a great tourist spot for visitors. They make several souvenirs using bamboo.
These are some of the best places to visit in and around Wayanad. Have you been to any of these places before? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Write to us in the comments section.