Wayanad

Setting: A mix of hilly, flat and forest terrain, misty and nice.

Visited - April 2017
I have been wanting to go to Wayanad for a while. When I finally made it, I realized that my understanding and expectation of the place was only partially right. In fact, there is no one ‘place’ that is Wayanad. It is a region. It is a district in Kerala. The area is clearly blessed with beautiful landscapes and offers variety for the traveler. If you are out there to mostly ‘be’ in the environment, you will not be disappointed. If you are out there to explore the long list of tourist spots the region has, you might be in for a surprise. There are several attractions that remain closed during the year. The reasons could vary from heavy rains to no rains to forest fires. So, be prepared for some closures, and have alternate plans ready. The central town to explore this region best would be Kalpetta. If you are there for a do nothing relaxation holiday, Vythiri is your best bet.

Moving Around: Your own transportation is recommended as most of the tourist attractions are somewhat remote. Hotels can help connect you to tour operators if you prefer an organized tour. Public transportation facilities seemed few and far between. I did not explore this much.
This has made my revisit list.
From Bangalore (Karnataka) to Kalpetta:
Route 1 - Via Mysore – Gundlupet – Sulthan Bathery (preferred, 6 hours)
Route 2 - Via Srirangapatna - Thirunelly – Mananthavady (slower, 7.5 hours, scenic, additional sight seeing in Thirunelly)
From Kozhikode (Kerala) to Kalpetta:
This seems to be a popular route and takes about 2.5 hours. Haven’t tried this route, but the route crosses Lakkidi view point and Vythiri.
  • Banasura Dam - largest earthen dam in India (second in Asia)         
      
  • Pookode Lake
  • Lakkidi View Point                                                                                           
            
  • Sulthan Bathery Jain Temple                                                                            
           
  • Phantom Rock
  • Chembra Peak – Can see it from multiple locations in wayanad, Get to trekking starting point via Meppady on Kapletta-Ooty road
  • Waterfalls – Meenmutty, Suchipara, Kanthanpara, (all 3 on Kalpetta-Ooty road), Chethalayam (near Sulthan Bathery)
  • Kuruadweep Island – avoid in dry and monsoon months [saved for next time]
  • Pakshipathalam [saved for next time]
  • Neelimala [saved for next time]
    • Boating: At Banasura dam (speed boat)During holidays, service is limited and counters close early.
    • A
    • At Pookode Lake -  
    • Trekking:Edakkal CavesChembra PeakNeelimala
    • Wildlife Safari: Muthanga wildlife sanctuary (Known to be closed many times unexpectedly)
  • Get drenched in a Waterfall (When there is water, that is!)
Eat: Your hotel’s restaurant would be your first choice is you are not too keen on authentic local cuisine. If you are staying in Vythiri, this may be your only option. Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery have good restaurant options, but options in Ambalavayal are limited. If you feel adventurous, small time vendors around Edakkal provide homestyle kerala food Alcohol availability is next to none. Very few hotels have licenses to serve alcohol. Check before booking if you are particular about it.
Stay: Kalpetta is the central location if you plan to explore different areas of wayanad. Banasura Dam has a popular luxury resort. Vythiri is a good place to just be and relax. Ambalavayal and Sulthan Bathery also have hotels and homestays. These towns cater to the edakkal caves visitors. For a multi day itinerary, you can do a mix of these towns to get a variety of experiences.

Know before you go

  • Wayanad is a multi terrain experience
  • Many tourist spots are subtle, lack directions and can be closed

 

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