Wayanad, One of the fourteen districts in Kerala (India) is situated in an elevatedpicturesque mountainous plateau in Western Ghats. It lies between north latitude 11degree 26’28’’ and 11degree 48’22’’ and east longitude 75 degree 46’38’’ and 76 degree 26’11’’.
The name Wayanad has been derived from the expression 'Vayal nadu' - the village of paddy fields.
In the ancient times this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe. In later times, Wayanad came under the rule of Pazhassi Rajas of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Alibecame the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his way. In the days of Tipu, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handled entire Malabar to the British after the Sreerandapattam truce that he made with them. This was followed by fierce encounters between the British and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam. Even when the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad he waged several battles with his Nair and Kurichia-Kuruma tribal soliders against the British troops and defeated the latter several times through guerilla type encounters. The British could get only the dead body of the Rajah who killed himself somewhere in the interior forest. Thus Wayanad fell into the hands of British, and with it began a new turn in the history of this area. The Britishers opened up the Plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad from Calicut and Telicherry. These roads were extended to the city of Mysore and to Ooty through Gudalur. Roads facilities provided opportunities for the people of outside Wayanad to flow and settle to these jungle regions.
Places of interest
Chembra peak : Trekking to the Chembra peak is one of the risky tourist endeavours. Chembra peak is the highest peak in Wayanad at 2100m. above mean sea level. It is14 kms. west of Kalpetta. Trekking to the top of this peak takes almost a day. Tourists can also stay one or two days at the top of the peak in temporary camps. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides, sleeping bags, canvass huts trekking implements on hire charges to the tourists. The scenic beauty of Wayanad which is visible from the top of Chembra is very challenging and thrilling. The blue eyed water in the lake at the top of the hill never dries up even in the peak of summer. All along the steep and slippery way to the top of the hill, the whispering of the flowing spring which sprouts from the top of the hill accompanies the tourist. If he is fortunate enough, on his way he may come across a passing wild beast, may be a leopard who may instantly hide behind the bushes. Camping in the night with camp fire and sleeping bags at the top of the peak in shivering cold is everlasting experience.
Pakshipathalam : Pakshipathalam in Bramha Giri hills at Thirunelly is a challenging tourist spot. It is 7 kms. north-east of Thirunelly temple and is situated 1740m. above mean sea level. To reach 'Pakshipathalam', 17 kms. have to be covered through wild forest. The deep rock caves formed among the thick blocks of rocks at the northern top end of the Brahmagiri is the abode of various birds and wild beasts. To go to 'Pakshipathalam' special permission has to be obtained from forest department. DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council) arranges vehicle, guides, camping apparatus etc. to the tourists on hire charges.
Meenmutty Water Fall : 12 kms. east of Meppadi. Water falls to a depth of more than 500m.
in 3 steps.Trekking equipments are available at Tourist Information Centre, Kalpetta. .
Sentinal Rock Water Fall : at Soochipara near Meppadi 22 kms. south of Kalpetta. A three step water
fall of more than 200m inheight with a fantastic scenary provides for white water rafting, swimming, bathing, etc., The tree top huts at Soochipara will give unique
view of the valleys of Western Ghats. It is also an ideal place for rock climbing.
Kuruva Dweep: 950 acres of evergreen forest surrounded by east flowing river, Kabani. Rare species
of birds, orchids and herbs are sovereigns of this supernatural kingdom. It is 17kms. east of Mananthavady and 45 kms. north-west of Sulthan Bathery.
Thirunelly Temple : It is known as 'Thekkan Kasi', of Kerala. It is believed, that a dip in the
river Papanasini, running crystal clear down hill, wipes one off all sins. Thirunelly is 30 kms. north-east of Manathavady.
Edakkal Caves : The Edakkal Caves are at Ambukutty Mala. It is a pre-historic rock shelter formed naturally out of a strange disposition of three huge boulders making one to rest on the other two with its bottom jutting out in between and serving as the roof. Edakkal literally means a stone in between.
The discovery of the cave and its identification as a prehistoric site were quite accidental by F. Fawcett, the then superintendent of police. An enthusiast in pre-history, Fawcett went around exploring the Wayanad high ranges which eventually led to the discovery of the Edakkal rock-shelter in 1894. He identified the site as a habitat of neolithic people on the basis of the nature of representations on the cave walls, which appeared to him as engravings made of neolithics celts..
Edakkal rock engravings stand out distinct among the magnitude of prehistoric visual archives of paintings and graphic signs all over the world. It is the world's richest pictographic gallery of its kind.
Pazhassi Memorial:The body of Veera Pazhassi, the Lion of Kerala who organised a guerilla war against the British East Indian Company is buried at Mananthavady, which is 32 km north east of Kalpetta.