Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wayanad Trip – January 2012

Panoramic View of Thamarassery Churam (Mountain highway with several hair pin bends between Kozhikode and Kalpetta).

Stitched Panorama
Kalpetta in Wayanad is 270 kilometers away from Kochi – my home town. We started at 1.00AM and
reached here at 7.00 AM where we had our breakfast. I prefer to travel at these early hours to avoid traffic block on highways and also at Thamarassery Churam.
Road Block at Thamarassery Churam. Took these photos on our return journey: 
What I felt about Wayanad: Major towns are Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sultan Bathery, Of these Kalpetta and  Sultans Battery is on the Kozhikode – Mysore National Highway NH 212 (new no. NH766). Comparing with tourist centers' and cities in other parts of Kerala, hotels and home stay tariffs are much cheaper for the same standard.
Towns & villages are mostly rural and non commercialized. Excluding these small towns all road sides are agricultural lands, plantations or forests. No mosquitoes (that's a nightmare in Kochi). we stayed at The Woodlands Hotel at Kalpetta. A good hotel to stay and dine (veg & non veg). Only thing is the distance from Kochi (6 to 7 hrs drive if you prefer to travel by night, day time it may take 7 to 9 hrs depending on the traffic) compared to Munnar, my nearest hill station. From my experience, better stay at hotels or home stays at Sultans Bathery town because this is the nearest place to most tourist centers of Wayanad. Driving from Kalpetta to these places is tiring and time consuming.
Agricultural/Farm Lands of Wayanad: The prime crops include cocoa, coffee, tea, pepper, cardamom, ginger, areca nut, plantain, vanilla, coconut and rubber. In addition to these, there are also different vegetable crops seen cultivated here.
Major attractions in Wayand: Jungle safari at Tholpetty (25 kilometers from Mananthavady on the Tirunelli temple route) and Muthanga (14 kilometers from Sultans Bathery on Mysore NH 212) ranges conducted by the Kerala Forest Department, the photograph of the safari tariff is given in the image gallery below. Important note to take about these jungle safaris is that, the forest department allows only 20 jeeps (local taxi vehicles modified to go off-road inside the sanctuary and see wild animals) in the morning (7am to 10am ) in the morning and 20 numbers in the evening (3pm to 5pm). On weekends and holidays,the booking for these 20 vehicles will be finished within minutes  when the ticket counter is opened, so reach the spot much earlier than the prescribed time given above if you don't want to miss the ride. Private vehicles are not allowed inside Tholpetti and Muthanga off roads.There is also another chance to see wild animals particularly elephants from your own vehicle without any entry tickets. Just drive about 30 kilometers from Muthanga Forest office towards Gundlupet in the Calicut - Mysore NH 212 (that also includes Bandipur National Park in Karnataka). We met an elephant with two baby elephants (pictures in the gallery below) in this stretch.
Vehicle used for safari at Tholpetty & Muthanga.

Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary:

Tholpetty Jungle Safari Video Clip:
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary & Bandipur National Park: Elephants crossing – View from our car at Muthanga range of Mysore highway NH 212.
Other attractions:
Near Kalpetta: Chembra Peak, Soojipara waterfalls, Meenmutty Waterfalls, Kanthanpara waterfalls,Pookode Lake, Banasura sagar dam
Sign board at a junction in Kalpetta town displaying distance to different places. Pookode Lake
Near Mananthavadi: Kuruva Dweep, Thirunelli Temple, Pakshipathalam, Pazhassi Tomb, Ruined Jain Temple near Panamaram.
Ruined Jain Temple in the middle of coffee plantation:
Forest road to Tirunelli temple:
Tirunelli Temple:
Near Sultans Bathery: Edakkal Caves, Phantom rock, Ambalavayal Heritage Museum, Bathery Jain Temple 
I could not cover all the above spots due to lack of time. Kuruva Dweep was closed for one week for some technical reasons at the time of our visit. To reach Pakshipathalam, you have to trek about 7 kilometers through forests and hills (you need an official guide and have to get special permission from forest department). That also I did not attempt with my family.


  1. beautiful photographs and gorgeous videos... Wayanad is one of few destinations in India those are still pristine and away from the eyes of typical tourists... it has a lot to offer for wild life enthusiasts... very well written..

  2. This information is so useful and informative which you have shared here, it is beneficial for the beginners to develop their knowledge. It is a gainful article, Thanks for sharing it.
    Amazing Wayanad Tourist Places To Visit