Wayanad District is a district in the north-east of Kerala state, with headquarters at the town of Kalpetta. It hosts some top tourist destinations of Kerala.
Banasura Sagar Dam, at the foot of the Banasura Hill, is the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia. Tourists visit the place to go trekking at the Banasura Hill and to do boating at Banasura Sagar Dam. The Banasura Hill Resort, located about 20 km from the dam was rated as Asia’s largest Earthen Resort by BBC. Boating in this reservoir is an exciting experience.
Pookode Lake is a scenic freshwater lake in the Wayanad district. Pookode is a natural fresh water lake nestling amid evergreen forests and mountain slopes at an altitude of 770 meters above sea level. Panamaram, the rivulet which ultimately becomes Kabani River, originates from the Pookode Lake. It is spread across an area of 8.5 hectares and with a maximum depth of 6.5 metres. The lake is one of the most popular tourist spots in Wayanad. The lake has the shape of India’s map. This perennial fresh water lake, nestled among wooded hills, is only one of its kinds in Kerala. Pethia Pookodensis, is a species of cyprinid fish known to occur only in Pookode Lake. The lake has abundance of blue lotus and fresh water fishes. The forests surrounding the lake hold many wild animals, birds and flies. There are groups of Blue water lily flowers scattered here and there in the lake.
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m (6,890 ft.) above sea level. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists. A heart shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction. The lake is believed to have never dried up. One can find the lake halfway to the peak.
Soochipara Falls also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala, Wayanad, surrounded by Deciduous, Evergreen and Montane forests. The 15-20 minute drive from Meppadi to Sentinel Rock Waterfalls offers scenic views of some of the best tea estates in Wayanad. The Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is 200 metres (656 feet) and offers a cliff face that is ideal for rock climbing. Once people reach the parking area, they have to pass through a security check at the entrance where they make sure you don’t carry any plastic. It takes 10-15 minutes’ walk to the water falls and water flow is less during summer, which makes it easy to reach the rocks where water falls.
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km (15.5 mi) from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district. They lie 1,200 m (3,900 ft.) above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, near an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of the Malabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BCE from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India.
Kuruva Islands, Wayanad locally known as Kuruvadweep is a 950-acre protected river delta on the Kabini River in the Wayanad district. Kuruvadweep is the only island surrounded with naturally purified water source in Kerala. This of dense and evergreen forest is uninhabited and hence a home to rare species of birds, orchids and herbs. The island can be accessed using rafts or fibre boats run by Kerala Tourism Department. Entrance to the island is monitored by the Department of Forest of Kerala to protect forest.
Meenmutty Falls is located 29 kilometres from Kalpetta in Wayanad District. It is a three-tiered waterfall 300 metres high. Meenmutty Falls can be reached through a 2 km hike through the forests from the Wayanad – Ooty road.
Thirunelli temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. The temple is at an altitude of about 900m in north Wayanad in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. Papanasini is a holy mountain stream accessible around 1 km northwest of the temple premises, emanating from the heart of Brahmagiri flowing through roots, leaves and flowers of ancient trees and medicinal herbs. One dip in the cold Papanasini waters is believed to wash away all sins committed in a lifetime. Panchatheertham is the holy temple pond. Water is transported from a perennial mountain stream deep in the valley by impressive stone aqueducts right into the priests’ room. Thirunelli is famous as the destination to perform last rites of the deceased at the rock close to Papanasini stream.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is an animal sanctuary in Wayanad, extending 344.44 square kilometres. A variety of large wild animals such as Indian bison, elephant, deer and tiger are found there. There are also quite a few rare birds in the sanctuary. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. It is bestowed with lush green forests and some of the rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna. The vegetation is predominantly of the south Indian moist deciduous teak forests. Kerala Forest Department arranges Elephant rides for interested tourists.
Lakkidi View Point, Kabini River, Kanthanpara Waterfalls, Jain Temple, Neelimala View Point, Wayanad Heritage Museum, Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary, Karapuzha Dam, Padinjarathara Dam, Neelimala Viewpoint are also sites of attraction to the tourists visiting Wayanad.