If you think Kerala is only about the dreamy backwaters and rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages think again! One of the most beautiful hill stations in South India, Wayanad is located amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats in God’s Own Country. From prehistoric caves and heart-shaped lakes to revered temples and wild animals, this popular tourist hub has so much to offer that it’s a challenge to list out the places to visit in Wayanad. Whether you decide to stay at a luxury resort, or a comfy home stay in Wayanad, this is going to be a memorable trip.
You don’t have to be trekker or mountaineer to fall in love with the tallest peak in Wayanad. At 2,100 m above sea level, Chembra Peak offers a bird’s eye view of not just the entire district, but also of the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala hills in Kozhikode, Kerala. Brave souls who persist through the initial steep slopes of the Chembra Peak trek are in for a treat as they reach the heart-shaped lake – known as ‘hridaya thadakam’ or ‘hridaya saras’- believed to be filled with water at all times. Wayanad trekking tours, anyone?
Want to feast your eyes on some stone-age carvings? Head to Eddakal caves, one of the major Wayanad attractions. It’s not so much a cave as a cleft that is 96ft long and 22ft wide in the rock. Legend says Lord Rama (of the Hindu epic Ramayana) had released an arrow from his bow, which struck this rock surface, creating the fissure. The caves are home to fascinating carvings – some as old as 7000 years – representing human figures, animals, plants, tools and weapons. Be prepared to trek for a good 45 minutes though, to get to the caves. Eddakal caves timings are 9am to 4pm; they are closed on Mondays.
Words cannot do justice to a view of the sunrise from Thirunelli temple. Known as ‘Kashi of the South’, the3000-year-old temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a fine piece of architectural marvel in granite. Papanasini, the mountain stream next to the temple, as well as Panchatheertham, the temple pond – legend says it has the impression of Lord Vishnu’s footprint in its centre – add to the tranquil ambience of the place. Thirunelli temple timings are 5.30 am to 12 pm and 5.30 pm to 8 pm.
For a sunset to remember, trek to Soochippara Waterfalls, also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, situated near Meppadi. Walk through the tea gardens and dense forests, then just sit back and enjoy the company of cascading streams making their way to the Chaliyar River. The best time to visit Soochippara Waterfalls is from October to May.Fancy a swim or some river rafting?
Banasura Sagar dam
When you make your Wayanad tourist places list, don’t forget to add Banasura Sagar Dam – the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia. Build across the Karamanathodu River, a tributary of Kabini River, the dam offers a magical rendezvous with nature. A view of the Banasura hills, against with the exquisite set of islands (formed when the dam’s reservoir submerged the surrounding areas in the monsoons), can be a most effective stress-buster.