If you have ever travelled to the elevated region of Wayanad in Kerala, you will agree that this is the most beautiful part of the state. And if you haven’t, here’s why you should. The landscape of Wayanad spills onto the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; it is that bountiful with its remote forest reserve, lush mountain scenery, rice paddies of gorgeous green, and sprawling tea and coffee plantations. Usually a stepping stone for travellers headed for Mysore, Bangalore or Ooty; Wayanad is fantastically unspoilt and satisfyingly remote.
For those of you who like your dose of wildlife a trip, the 345-sq-km Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the famous wild elephants. The sanctuary can be entered from two different sides, and the best way to explore is to take the two-hour jeep safari which can be arranged at the sanctuary entrances.
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Entering from either side will essentially depend on whether you’re staying in the north or south of Wayanad, but that will not affect your chances of spotting wildlife in any way. At both locations arrive at least an hour before the registration begins to secure a vehicle; as there are a limited number of guides and jeeps permitted in the park at one time.
For those who like a little trek, Edakkal Caves is another must visit site here. The highlight of these remote series of hilltop caverns is the ancient collection of petroglyphs in the top cave, thought to date back over 3000 years. You will have to start from Ambalavayal from where it’s a steep 20-minute walk up a winding road to the ticket station, then another steep climb up to the light-filled top chamber. On a clear day the views out over the Wayanad district are nothing short of spectacular.
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Then there’s what is thought to be one of the oldest temples on the subcontinent – Thirunelly Temple. It is worth a visit for the unique cocktail of ancient and intricate pillars. Follow the path behind the temple to the stream known as Papanasini, where it is widely believed that you can wash away all your sins.