Mist-laden mountains, lush forests and green paddy fields stretching up to the horizon make Wayanad nestled among the Western Ghats, a paradise for tourists. It is one of the finest places to visit in Kerala and if you are wondering what to do while you are there, think no more. Just read on as we give you 47 interesting places to visit and things to do in Wayanad.
1. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary – On the fringes of Karnataka and Kerala, this sanctuary has many animals and birds. You will find elephants, deer, bison, and if lucky you may spot a tiger.
2. Ponkuzhi Temple This temple is said to be dedicated to Lord Ram, Sitaji, Luv and Kush. The location is such, that people believe this could be the place where they spent their time in the forest during their exile.
3. Chethalayam Waterfall Though these falls are small, they are very beautiful as they come flowing down in a series of cascades.
4. Sulthan Bathery This town is famous for its history. This town used to be populated mainly by the tribals. Now people from other places of Kerala have converged here and have outgrown the population of these tribes staying in this town. There are good restaurants to eat here. Also one can shop for various snacks and sweets as well as shop for gold. You will find many shops selling pickles, masalas and handicrafts. This town has witnessed a series of battles across a few centuries. In the 10th Century, the local Jain traders and tribes fought against the ruler of Mysore who wanted to grab their wealth and kingdom. The other war was between the 16th – 17th centuries.
5. Jain Temple near Sulthan Bathery When Hyder Ali ruled Wayanad, there was already a dissent with the Britishers. Once Tipu Sultan became the ruler, he used this abandoned temple as a stronghold for his armoury and weapons. He mustered the support of his army and locals to fight the British and resist them but later they had to surrender Wayanad.
6. Edakkal Caves This is quite a steep climb to enter the caves. Attempt this only if you are relatively fit. But it’s definitely worth the effort. Once you enter the caves, you will notice beautiful stone carvings. Apparently these were carved out by cavemen during the Neolithic era.
7. Muniyara Situated near Edakkal Caves, are these stone slabs or dolmens. It is said these were burial chambers. Some argue it was used by the Munis in ancient days to meditate. There are many questions surrounding the existence of the dolmens and experts are trying to find the answers.
8. Phantom Rock This place is barely 13kms away from Kalpetta. A short uphill climb will lead you to the edge of the hill. From here this strange rock formation can be seen. It resembles a skull that is sitting precariously on top of the hill. It makes you wonder as to how it’s sitting so comfortably on top of other rocks that seem to be smaller in size than the skull-like rock sitting at the peak of the hill. However, it is sad to witness these beautiful hills being torn down for quarrying granite. Due to this, the surrounding hills look almost crippled in comparison to Phantom Rock.
9. Elephant Ride Before you head to Edakkal Caves, you will find that elephant rides are available here. It’s a fun thing to do whether you’re an adult or a child.
10. Karapuzha Dam This dam is huge and extremely beautiful. Constructed on the river by the same name, it is a tributary of the River Kabini. With a cool breeze gently caressing your face, the beautiful views are sure to make you feel calm and relaxed.
11. Wayanad Heritage Museum The museum is worth a visit. It showcases various sculptures, tools and weapons from different eras.
12. Kanthapara Waterfalls A rather smaller set of waterfalls in comparison to the others in this list, but still worth a visit. A word of caution; please ask your hotel or some of the locals whether it is safe or not to get into the waters because there have been some cases of people drowning in many of these waterfalls.
13. Sunrise Point at Sunrise Valley Sometimes there is a good reason to wake up early in the morning! If you go to Sunrise Point, you will not be disappointed. In winters you will see the entire valley shrouded in mist and on other days you will get to view a spectacular sunrise.
14. Meenmutty Waterfalls This beautiful waterfall is supposed to be the largest, and the water falls in cascades making it a delightful spectacle. The spray of water creates a mist which then floats gently down into the valley. However, it has been off-limits to tourists. There is hope because the local authorities are trying to convince the government to re-open it. However, it can be viewed from a distance.
15. Koottamundu Glass Temple The inner temple of this Jain temple is filled with mirrors and it is a dazzling display for the eyes.
16. Kadachikunnu Waterfalls Another waterfall that you must visit and it also has a good view of the valley.
17. Sentinel Rock Waterfalls Head to the beautiful waterfalls but keep in mind that one has to walk down in order to reach this place. There may be a few elders who would find it difficult to do so.
18. Vythiri Accommodation in Vythiri is expensive but well worth it. Or you could drive up here and from other places in Wayanad to explore the region. The Vythiri Resort is simply amazing as you can see the waterfall which flows next to the resort. One can even trek to Vythiri or just drive past this pretty locale.
19. Lakkidi From Vythiri, drive ahead and you will reach Lakkidi, another beautiful place which includes a viewpoint. Here too you will see endless stretches of the valley. Be careful of monkeys as they would love to snatch whatever you’re eating or holding in your hands! Lakkidi is known for its wildlife and heavy rainfall.
20. Pookot Lake A serene lake, one can go for a boat ride and admire the thick forests surrounding the lake.
21. Chembra Peak this peak is the tallest in Wayanad. One can trek up to the peak but you will need prior permission from the Meppadi Forest authorities. The entire trek will take you anywhere between 5-10 hours depending on your speed. This trek is well worth the trip to Wayanad.
22. Kalpetta Just like Sulthan Bathery, you will find restaurants and hotels, other eateries, shops selling gold and bakeries as well as shops selling the latest fashions and traditional clothing.
23. Uravu This is an NGO that specifically helps the local tribes, women and artisans by way of selling locally made handicrafts. You will be surprised at the range of handicrafts available which are sure to lighten your purses!
24. River Rafting There are many trails that one can opt for, for river rafting. One of them is on the River Anoth. The others are at River Mananthavady and Pazhassi Park to other locations depending on the length of the expedition you are opting for.
25. Shopping for Gold Jewellery – Visit Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery where you will find a crazy number of shops selling gold. You will find jewellery that is designed for the locals but are delicate and beautiful. If you get a chance to purchase any of these ornaments, you will not be sorry.
26. Shop for handicrafts and spices – Handicrafts and spices are available wherever you go. You will find forest honey, various essential oils, Eucalyptus Oil, coffee, tea; a variety of spices, herbal remedies for the body and for general health. There are dried fruits, pickles, local chocolates, fashion jewellery, wooden handicrafts and kitchen tools, wooden spoons, candles and even walking sticks!
27. Karlad Lake This Lake is a natural lake that has boating and angling for those keen on pursuing the same. The lake is filled with lilies and has a gleaming surface.
28. Banasura Sagar Dam This beautiful dam has lovely views of the Banasura Hills. One has to walk up to the viewpoint or if there are elderly people, then one can book a vehicle for an additional cost. From there, one can admire the views which remind you of some exotic location like Scotland. Here there are boating facilities including speed boats. There is also a nursery here to buy some lovely ornamental plants.
29. Varambetta Mosque This mosque is said to be 300 hundred years old and is designed in a unique manner. This is probably one of the most famous mosques in the region.
30. Pallikkunnu Church This is the church dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ and people come from all over to worship here.
31. Makkiyad Waterfalls Many small waterfalls abound here, all of which are worth trying to visit.
32. Kunkichira Lake Surrounded by gentle slopes, this lake is worth visiting as one can have a picnic or even set up tents and camp here. Truly special during the winters when there is mist all around you.
33. Boys Town Well this name is a definite misnomer! Far from what this name suggests, this place has a herbal garden and all other services dedicated to conserving the environment and also has a Permaculture centre. You can buy plants here which you may not find in other nurseries.
34. Papanasini This sacred river is supposedly a tributary of the river Ganga. There are rituals that are observed here along the river banks as its near the Thirunelli Temple. It is said Parashuram came to this river to wash away his sins because he had killed those who had killed his father.
35. Pakshipathalam As the name suggests, it is home to many birds and one can trek here. It is a beautiful trek and it has a unique location because it is situated between hills and forest sanctuaries.
36. Thirunelli Temple This beautiful temple is said to be more than 3000 years old. It is said that Lord Brahma built this temple. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Hanuman, Nagam and Ganeshji. Here, one prays for their dearly departed and ancestors. Parashuram is said to have come here to pray for his father.
37. Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary Here you will come across many animals and birds such as elephants, deer and the Malabar Squirrel.
38. Pazhassi Raja Tomb The Raja is renowned in Kerala and rightly so because he was the king of the Kottayam royal family and fought against the British and sought to hide in Wayanad. In those days, Wayanad was more densely forested and this helped the king and his loyal soldiers as well as local supporters to perform rebellious warfare against the British who were floundering in these forests.
39. Thrissilery Temple This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The structure of the temple is very unique and therefore draws a lot of attention from experts and tourists alike.
40. Kuruva Dweep These are beautiful islands located on the delta of the River Kabini. Tourists come here in droves. You need to buy passes and then have to walk down a series of stairs that take you to the river. Once there, there is a massive bamboo raft that is expertly handled by the people who ferry tourists from the banks to the island. Here people sit in rows on the raft and wear life jackets. It is a short ride to the island lasting barely 5-10 mins. Once there, you need to walk on a winding path that will take you to the edge of the islands and one gets to see the beautiful river flowing around you. Most parts are now cordoned off except the shallow areas where adults and children alike enjoy splashing about in the water. On the way to these islands there are lots of people who offer delicious homemade food at really cheap prices.
41. Valliyoorkav Temple It is a small and ancient temple and is dedicated to the three forms of the Devi.
42. Padre Pio Shrine Located in Panamaram this beautiful shrine is filled with relics of Capuchin saints. Some of the relics here are of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bernard, St. Ignatius, St. Veronica, St. Leopold, St. Felix, and St Lawrence.
43. Harrisons Malayalam Tea Estates Harrisons has 5 tea estates spread across Wayanad. The estates are; Achoor, Chundale, Sentinel Rock, Arrapetta & Touramalla. A drive past these lush estates is a sight to behold because of the ever-changing panorama that can only be found in these plantations.
44. Local Cuisine Try the halwa which comes in many varieties such as almonds, raisins, dates, mixed fruits and coconut. Try the Puttu with Kadala curry or Cherupayar curry. Since this region has many Muslims, their Biryanis are very famous. Try the Chemeen Biryani or the Fish Biryani with date pickle. Snack on Sweet Puffs, Banana Chips, Kappa Chips, Vadas, Pattiri, Chatti Pattiri, jellies or jujubes, pickled fruits and vegetables (Uppil Ittathu). Try the variety of pickles, seafood dishes, mutton and chicken curries, as well as Appam and stews. Since many of the locals speak Arabic and have even worked in the Middle East, there are many restaurants serving Arabic food such as the famous Chicken Alfaham. Visit various shops such as Lala Sweets in Kalpetta. Try some dishes at the New Highway Mess at Edapetty, Paramount Hotel, Vazhiyoram, Crystal Palace and Woodlands Hotel.
45. Ruined Jain Temple There is a ruined Jain Temple near Punchavayal. There are pillars strewn across the site. A small temple but makes for a nice drive.
46. Korome Mosque The other mosque to visit is this one which has been designed in the traditional manner.
47. Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary This sanctuary is the fruit of more than 25 years of conscientious conservation efforts. It is a place of learning, a place that offers employment and empowerment, a place where you can lend a helping hand, and a place that conserves more than 2,000 plants. This is one sanctuary that you must visit to see just what sheer dedication is all about.