The elevated Wayanad region with gorgeous mountains, rice paddies and lush coffee and rubber plantations, has been rated as one of the most beautiful regions in Kerala. These top attractions of the place are not to be missed.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
The two parts of the sanctuary- Tholpetty and Muthanga- can be explored via a two-hour jeep safari which is available at the entrances. Trekking is no longer permitted in the sanctuary.
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The highlight of these remote hilltop ‘caves’ – more accurately a small series of caverns – is the ancient collection of petroglyphs in the top cave, thought to date back over 3000 years. From the car park near Ambalavayal it’s a steep 20-minute walk up a winding road to the ticket window, then another steep climb up to the light-filled top chamber. On a clear day there are exceptional views out over the Wayanad district.
Wayanad Heritage Museum
In the small village of Ambalavayal, about 5 km from Edakkal Caves, this museum exhibits tools, weapons, pottery, carved stone and other artefacts dating back to the 14th century, shedding light on Wayanad’s significant Adivasi population.
Thought to be one of the oldest temples on the subcontinent, Thirunelly Temple is 10 km from Tholpetty. Entry is restricted, but it’s worth visiting for the otherworldly cocktail of ancient and intricate pillars. Follow the path behind the temple to the stream known as Papanasini, where it is believed you can wash away all your sins.
Around 6 km from Kalpetta a collective of workers creates all sorts of artefacts from bamboo. You can visit the artists’ workshops, where they work on looms, painting and carving, and support their work by buying vases, lampshades, bangles and baskets.
Pookot Lake is like a beautiful mirror framed by forest. With well-maintained gardens, a cafe, playground and boats for hire, it gets packed with picnicking families on weekends.
The 13th-century Jain temple near Sultan Bathery has splendid stone carvings and is an important monument to the region’s strong historical Jain presence.