A leisure trip to Kerala is incomplete if Wayanad doesn’t find place in your tour itinerary. Absolutely picturesque, this district in northern Kerala shares its boundary with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Aptly described as a must visit paradise on the Kerala terrain, Wayanad has many a charming destination in its tourism bouquet.
Banasura Sagar Dam
The Banasura hills that stand tall in the backdrop give this water reservoir its name. Termed the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia the Banasura Sagar Dam has been constructed across one of the tributaries of the Kabani river. A paradise for photography lovers, the picturesque dam offers speed boat rides across the reservoir. Backpackers arrive here on trekking adventures and to capture the greenery around. Just 21 km away Kalpetta, Banasura Sagar dam is ideal for all seasons. However, the post-monsoon days would add to your experience.
Travellers love climbing this highest peak in Wayanad to experience the heart-shaped lake on the top. A trekker’s paradise, Chembra stands majestically high as a watch tower over Wyanad. A 3-hour trek will take you to the view point on top of the peak, from where you can enjoy the beauty of Wayanad. The lake falls midway to the top. The heart-shaped lake and the viewpoints are the major attractions. You will have to get permission from the forest office at Meppadi, the nearest town, if you have trekking plans. An all-seasons destination, Chembra peak is located 8 km from Kalpetta town.
Kuruva Island [Kuruvadweep]
The whispering streams that originate from the Kabani river offer one of the most fascinating sights when they congregate around the Kuruva island. The island is covered by a dense forest that forms the habitat for many rare species of flora and fauna. Bamboo rafts that offer exhilarating rides around the island are among the main attractions here. This human uninhabited island is located 17 km from the town of Mananthavady. If you are planning a visit to Kuruva Island, the post monsoon season (December- April) would be the best time to start off.
Soochipara Water Falls
The cascading Soochipara falls descends from above 200 meters, and is one of the most fascinating scenes in Wayanad. Travellers need to make sure that they reach here early as it closes at 5 pm. Also known as Sentinel rock waterfalls, Soochipara offers one of the most refreshing experiences as you go around Wayanad. The best time to visit the place is from August to December. A 23 km drive from Kalpetta will take you to this wonderful destination.
Around 5 km away from Kalpetta lies this fresh water lake. A fun destination as you begin to explore Wayanad, Pookode lake offers all elements of relaxation from scenic greenery to pedal boats. A fresh water aquarium and children’s park is located nearby. Pookode lake is a perfect spot for couples and family to relax.
Located on the top of Ambukutti hills, 25 km from Kalpetta, these naturally formed caves are believed to be part of the Indus Calley Civilization. A mesmerizing place to visit Edakkal Caves offer perfect surroundings for trekking aficionados. Unlike the Chembra peak, climbing/trekking caves is more difficult here as the terrain is too steep. Old aged people with lungs or heart ailments are advised not to attempt trekking the caves. Rocks may be slippery in the rainy season, so it is best avoided during the monsoon.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Images sourced from the web
Exploring Wayanad can never be complete without a trip around the wildlife sanctuary. If you are lucky enough, you could watch deer and elephants in their wild grandeur. Several other variety species, such as tigers, can be spotted here. The Four Ranges coming under this sanctuary are Muthanga, Kurichiat, Sulthan Bathery and Tholpetty. The Kerala Forest Department has imposed restrictions for travelers, considering the safety of a variety of an endangered species here. The dense green forest can be accessed with permission from the Forest Department and with the help of a guide.
– Ananda Padmanabhan