Wayanad district

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Wayanad district
—  district  —
Waynad Bamboo Road.jpg
Wayanad Scenery on NH 212 Kozhikode-Kollegal

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Wayanad district
Coordinates: 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605, 76.083Coordinates: 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605, 76.083
Country India
State Kerala
Headquarters Kalpetta
 • Member of Parliament M I Shanavas
 • District Collector V. Ratheesan IAS
 • District Panchayath President K.L. Poulose
 • Total 2,131 km2 (823 sq mi)
 • Total 780,619
 • Density 369/km2 (960/sq mi)
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-KL-
Vehicle registration KL 12

Wayanad District (Malayalam: വയനാട്) in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. The region was known as Mayakshetra (Maya's land) in the earliest records. Mayakshetra evolved into Mayanad and finally to Wayanad.[1] The Folk etymology of the word says it is a combination of Vayal (paddy field) and Naad (land), making it 'The Land of Paddy Fields'. There are many indigenous tribals in this area.[2] It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m.[3][4]

It is the least populous district in Kerala.[5]


According to archaeological evidence, the Wayanad(Vayal+nadu(Malayalam)) forests have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. Historians are of the view that human settlement existed in these parts for at least ten centuries before Christ. Much evidences of New Stone Age civilization can be seen in the hills throughout the present day Wayanad district. The two caves of Ampukuthimala, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of a bygone civilization. The recorded history of this district exists only from the 18th century onward. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda dynasty. In later days, Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Raja dynasty of ancient Kottayam. When Hyder Ali[6] became the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his sway. In the days of Tipu Sultan,[7] Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handed over the entire [8] region of northern Kerala to the British, signing the treaty of Srirangapatna with British army officer and colonial administrator Cornwallis[9]. This was followed by fierce and internecine encounters between the British and Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam. When the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad, he organised the war-like Kurichiya tribals into a sort of people's militia and engaged the British in several guerrilla type encounters. In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who committed suicide in the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new era. The British authorities opened up the plateau to cultivation of tea and other cash crops by constructing roads across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, to Kozhikode and Thalassery. Later, they extended these new roads to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Settlers emigrated from all parts of Kerala and the fecund lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. In order to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, North Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on November 1, 1980 as one the twelve districts of Kerala,[10] consisting of three taluks; Vythiri, Mananthavady, and Sulthan Bathery.

Wayanad lake

Pookkode Lake



Chembra peak:View from Hrudaya Saras

Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and its chief glory is the majestic rugged terrain of the Western Ghats, with lofty ridges interspersed with dense forest, tangled jungles and deep valleys. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent environmental crisis.


Chembra Peak (2,100 metres (6,890 ft)), Banasura Peak (2,073 metres (6,801 ft)), Brahmagiri (1,608 metres (5,276 ft)) are some of the important mountains in the district.


The Kabini River, one of the three east flowing rivers of Kerala, is an important tributary of the Kaveri River. Almost the entire Wayanad district is drained by Kabini and its three tributaries, the Panamaram, Mananthavady, and Kalindy rivers. The Banasura Sagar Dam is built on one of tributaries of the Kabini River.


The distance from the mean sea level and the amount of forest cover creates a pleasant climate in the region. Generally the year is divided into four seasons; cold weather (December to February) hot weather (March to May) South West monsoon (June to September) and North East monsoon (October to November). During the hot weather the temperature goes up to a maximum of 35 °C (95 °F) and during the cold weather the temperature goes down to 07 °C (45 °F). The greater temperature variation in the last 5–6 years is in the range of 18 °C (64 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F). The average rainfall is 2,500 millimetres (98 in) per year.


Wayanad is 3.79% urbanised. Agriculture, is the main stay of the economy. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain and vanilla are the main crops. Besides these cash crops, the most important crop in the district is rice. Dams and aqueducts have been constructed to take water to the otherwise dry areas in the district. Price of land is going up even though Agrarian crisis.

In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[11] It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[11]

The NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) enacted by the current UPA government has helped and Wayanad and Palakkad were the only districts selected to receive the benefits under this scheme because of the acute need in these areas.[12] The daily wage under NREGS at Rs. 125, regardless of gender, in Kerala is the highest among all the states. Work under NREGS includes building elephant trenches (crop-raiding by wild elephants is another problem in Wayanad), waterbodies, roads, etc.


Tea plantation in Saitobaru Kofungun

A tea plantation estate near Kalpetta

According to the 2011 census Wayanad district has a population of 816,558,[5] roughly equal to the nation of Comoros[13] or the US state of South Dakota.[14] This gives it a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640).[5] The district has a population density of 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990 /sq mi) .[5] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 4.6%.[5] Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males,[5] and a literacy rate of 89.32%.[5]

No. of Taluks: 3 (Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, and Vythiri)
No. of state Assembly Legislators: 3 (Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, and Kalpetta)
Lok Sabha Representation: 1 (Wayanad constituency).
District Headquarters: Kalpetta. Other Important Towns: Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady.

There are tribal populations in the area who still practice age-old customs and rituals and live a nomadic life. Some of the tribal populations include Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakan, kurumans and Kurichiyans. It is the district with the highest share in the adivasi population (about 36%) of Kerala. Wayanad also has a large settler population. The Jains from Karnataka came in the 13th century. The Hindu Nairs from Kottayam-Kurumbranadu, in Kannur district, made an entry in the 14th century and established their feudal system. They were followed by Muslims. There were large scale migrations from southern Kerala in the early 1940s. Christians came in the 1950s from Travancore region. In the last few decades there was a complete marginalisation of the indigenous people. Alienated from their land, exploited by the settlers and neglected by the state, their struggle for rights to the land has so far been unsuccessful.

Major TownsEdit



Wayanad District

"Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-18. </ref>

All the three legislative constituencies in Wayanad Distinct (Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady)are part of the newly constituted Wayanad Lok Sabha Parliamentary constituency. Mr. M I Shanavas of Indian National Congress is the present member of Parliament from Wayanad Loksabha Constituency. The erstwhile North Wayanad constituency is now renamed as Mananthavady. Smt. P.K.Jayalakshmi represents Mananthavadi, Shri. M. V. Sreyams Kumar represents Kalpetta and Shri. I.C. Balakrishnan represents Sulthan Bathery in Kerala Legislative Assembly

Access Edit

The KozhikodeMysore National Highway 212 (NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. Wayanad is well connected by road to various parts of Kerala and other neighbouring states. Buses go frequently between important centres like Mysore, Bangalore, Ootty, etc. While travelling from Mysore on NH 212, at a place called Gundlupet the road forks, one goes to Ooty and the other goes to Sultan Bathery, which is a prominent town of Wayanad.[15] Buses are frequently available to Kozhikode, Kannur, Thalassery, Vadakara, Gonikoppal, etc. More than 50% of the traffic in and out of Wayanad passes through NH 212, mainly from Kozhikode. The nearest railway station is at Kozhikode, 75 km from Kalpetta. Other railway stations near to Wayanad are Thalassery (80 km from Mananthavadi), Kannur (93 km from Mananthavadi) and Mysore (110 km from Mananthavadi and 115 km from Sultan Bathery). Kozhikode International Airport at Karipur is the nearest airport, 95 km from Kalpetta. Kannur International Airport, under construction at Mattannur is at a distance of 70 km from Mananthavadi.

NH 212 passes through Bandipur National Park and then through the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which is the Kerala–Karnataka state border. The roads are good except for some sections inside the Bandipur Forest.

Ghat RoadsEdit

Mainly 5 Ghat roads are used for reaching Wayanad from coastal towns and lower hilly towns of Kerala :
1. From Thalassery : Nedumpoil–Periya Ghat road, which connects Kasargod, Kannur, Thalassery and Kuthuparamba with Wayanad
2. From Kozhikode: ThamarasseryLakkidi Ghat road, part of NH 212, which connects Kozhikkode and the rest of Kerala, south of Kozhikkode with Wayanad
3. From Vadakara : Kuttiady–Pakramthalam Ghat road, which connects Thalassery, Mahé, Vadakara, Nadapuram, Kuttiady and Thottilpalam with Wayanad
4. From Iritty : Kottiyoor–Ambayathode–Palchuram–Boys Town Ghat road, which connects lower hilly towns and villages of Kannur and Kasargod districts with Wayanad. The towns are : Panathur, Udayagiri, Cherupuzha, Alakode, Sreekandapuram, Payyavoor, Iritty, Peravoor, Kelakam, Kottiyoor, etc.
5. From Nilambur : Vazhikkadavu–Nadukani Ghat road, which connects Nilambur, Palakkad, Thrissur and Perinthalmanna, with Wayanad.


Places of importance Edit

There are various places of touristic, ecological, religious, and historic importance in the district.

  • Thirunelli Temple is a very old temple on the foothills of Brahmagiri. This temple is dedicated by Brahma to Vishnu in the form of Chatturbhuja. The Thirunelly Temple embodies classical, traditional Kerala architecture. This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu – the god who maintains life, attracts hordes of devotees especially for performing ancestral rites. The shrine is shielded with 30 granite columns and the ground is paved with huge square pieces of granite. It is believed that a ritual dip in the stream Papanasini, running crystal clear downhill, wash one away of all worldly sins. This temple is often referred to as the Kasi of the south. Puthari (October), Chuttuvilakku (January), Navarathri, Sivarathei and Sree Krishna Jaynthi are the festivals conducted in this temple. Karkidakavavu, offerings to the spirits of the departed are made, in August.
Monkeys Waynad

Monkeys near Edakkal Caves

  • Edakkal Caves, 32 km from Kalpetta near Ambalavayal, is famous for its pre-historic carvings and paintings.
  • Muthanga wildlife sanctuary. It is on the way from Mysore to Sulthan Bathery. Wild animals such as bison, elephant, deer, and tiger has been spotted. There are also quite a few wild birds in the sanctuary.
  • The Jain Temple near Koottamunda and the Ananthanatha Swami Temple.
  • Valliyoorkav is a temple of historic and social significance.
  • Pallikunnu Church, 14 km from Kalpetta is a famous Pilgrim centre in north Kerala.
  • Varambatta Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in Wayanad and it's famous for varambata nercha. There are many institutions lead by Varambatta Sunni Jama'ath Committee. A beautiful masjid has been built by Sha'kh Aboobacker Ahmad.
  • Mazhuvannur Maha Siva Kshethram is an ancient Shiva temple near Tharuvana. Karat Siva Temple is a very old temple near Kommayad.
  • Sulthan Bathery is famous for its fort, which was built by Tipu Sultan.
  • The tomb of the king Pazhassi Rajais in Mananthavady. He and his Nairs fought the British with the help of Kurichiya warriors.
  • Lakkidi, the entry-point to Wayanad on the road from Kozhikode, receives the highest rainfalls in Kerala.
  • Pookode lake is another spot to chill out in Wayanad. You may visit the fresh water aquarium or the children’s park, enjoying boating or even shop for handicraft items and spices at the fresh water Pookat Lake that is wrapped in high hills and gorgeous greens.[16]
  • For the adventurous: Chembra peak, Banasura peak and Brahmagiri peak will provide a tough trek experience.
  • Kuruva Dweep (10 km from Mananthavady) is a unique and fragile delta system on the Kabini River.
  • An important and unusual pilgrim centre for sociologists and educationists is Kanavu a centre for alternative education which help the adivasis (tribals) to adapt to the challenges without losing their cultural moorings.
  • Ananthanatha Swami Temple, (also known as ParswanathaSwamy Jain Temple at Puliyarmala) is a beautiful Jain temple located at Puliyarmala, 6 km from Kalpetta.
  • Pakshipathalam is a very popular trekking spot on the Kerala-Karnataka border.
  • Soochipara, Kanthapara, and Meenmutty are waterfalls in the Meppadi-Ambalavayal region.
  • Thovarimala Ezhuthupara is 5 km from Sulthan Bathery. After a 400 m trekk one can reach Thovarimala Ezhuthupara, where stone age pictorial writing on a rock can be seen.
  • Meenmutty Falls is 29 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad District. It is Kerala's second largest waterfall and the one most unspoiled in its natural setting.
  • HML Tea factory achoor, 10 km from Vythiri.

Flora and faunaEdit

File:Beauty Of Karapuzha Dam.jpeg
Pookkottu lake summer

Pookkod lake in summer, Wayanad

Karapuzha Wayanad

Karapuzha Dam in Wayanad

The flora of Wayanad are characteristic of the Western Ghats and the plantation crops grown in the cool climate. A major portion of the district is covered by coffee. Trees of the wild type like rose-wood, anjili (Artocarpus), mullumurikku (Erthrina), several species of caussia and many other nondescript varieties are still preserved here and there, to give shade to the coffee plants. These trees give a sembalance of wilderness to the landscape of Wayanad. In a majority of coffee plantations, the age-old species are replaced by the silver-oak which is suited to the cold climate. This tree grows quickly and its cultivation is widespread among coffee plantations for shade and for giving support to pepper. It is used for the plywood industry and thus is economical to the farmers. Eucalyptus grandis, a shorter variety of eucalyptus, whose fragrant smell suffuses the very air around it, is cultivated on a large scale in certain parts of the district. Eucalyptus oil is extracted on commercial basis from its leaves.

Of the 20,864 hectares of reserve forest, the major portion is teak plantation. Arecanut palms and jack trees are also grown here. Tea is grown as an industry in large estates. The soil and climate of Wayanad are suitable for horiculture on commercial basis. For promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards, the Kerala Agricultural University is running a Regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal.

With the clearing of forests, the diverse and bustling animal life, characteristic of the forests of Western Ghats, has vanished from Wayanad. One can still see the bonnet macaque, slender loris, mongooses, jungle cats, squirrels, jackals, hares, etc., in the limited forest areas. The world's largest venomous snake, the King Cobra is also found here. Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wild life sanctuaries of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, stray into the Begur forest range and the forests around Muthanga, which is 20 kilometres away from the town of Sulthan Bathery. Karapuzha dam near menangadi-10 km, Banasura Sagar Dam 20 km from vythri. Today large game is found only in region that border with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Here there is one of the largest concentrations of wild Asiatic elephants in whole world. Tiger, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, boar, leopard, wild dog and other large mammals are also present in fairly decent numbers.

Wayanad under menace

See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. ^ Wayanad Rekhakal by O. K. Johnny, Mathrubhumi Books
  2. ^ "Kerala Tourism". 
  3. ^ "Wayanad". 
  4. ^ "Wayanad Map" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ History of Tipu Sultan By Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani, Asian Educational Services, 1997
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme". National Institute of Rural Development. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  12. ^ India Today - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia
  13. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. "Comoros 794,683 July 2011 est." 
  14. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. "South Dakota 814,180" 
  15. ^ "Mysore to wayanad". Retrieved 2013-1-13. 
  16. ^

Tourism in Wayanad Holidays Wayanad

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