Top Places to See in Wayanad, Kerala – A Traveler’s Guide

Wayanad chembra peak

Exploring the Hidden Gems of Wayanad

Nestled in the lush green mountains of Kerala, Wayanad is a treasure trove of natural beauty, ancient history, and vibrant culture waiting to be discovered. This tranquil district offers an escape into nature’s arms, with its mist-clad hills, dense forests, and rich wildlife making it a paradise for travelers.

From sacred temples nestled amidst forests to captivating caves telling tales of the past, Wayanad’s landscapes are dotted with wonders that promise an unforgettable journey. Whether you’re an international visitor seeking serenity or a domestic traveler on the hunt for adventure, Wayanad welcomes you with open arms and stories at every corner. Join us as we explore the hidden gems of Wayanad, Kerala, through a traveler’s lens, ensuring you leave with memories to cherish and stories to tell.

Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple

Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple, a symbol of ancient spirituality and architectural beauty, is tucked away in the serene Brahmagiri hills.This temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is enveloped in legends and lore, offering a peaceful retreat for the soul amidst nature’s bounty. The temple’s history dates back thousands of years, making it a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus. Surrounded by mountain streams and dense forests, it’s not just a place for spiritual solace but also a spot for nature lovers to revel in.

Distance from City Center: Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple is approximately 50 kilometers from the heart of Wayanad. The journey through winding roads and lush landscapes is as mesmerizing as the destination itself.

Entry Fee: There is no entry fee to visit the temple, making it accessible to everyone seeking blessings or simply wishing to admire its ancient architecture

Best Transportation Modes: The best way to reach Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple is by road. If you’re traveling from within Kerala, state-run buses offer convenient services to Wayanad. For a more comfortable journey, hiring a taxi might be the best option. The drive offers scenic views and a chance to experience the beauty of Kerala’s countryside. For international and out-of-state tourists, Kozhikode (Calicut) Airport is the nearest, about 120 kilometers away. From the airport, taxis or buses can be taken to reach the temple.

Visiting Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple is not just about spirituality; it’s about embracing the tranquility and beauty that Wayanad offers. As you step into this sacred space, let the ancient stones tell you stories of devotion and history, and the surrounding nature whisper tales of eternal beauty.

Edakkal Caves

Edakkal

Perched on the Ambukuthi Hills in Wayanad, the Edakkal Caves are not just another tourist spot; they are a journey back in time. These caves are famous for their stone age carvings, which date back to at least 6,000 BCE, presenting some of the oldest known petroglyphs in the world. The engravings inside the caves depict human and animal figures, tools, and symbols, offering a glimpse into the prehistoric mind and its expression of everyday life and spirituality.

Distance from City Center: Located about 25 kilometers from the city center of Wayanad, the Edakkal Caves can be reached by a short drive followed by a moderately challenging trek, which adds to the adventure.

Entry Fee: Rs 20 per person for adults and Rs 10 per person for child. The charges for foreign tourists is Rs 40 per person. Photography is allowed at place and cost for still camera is Rs 25 and for video camera it exceeds to Rs 100 per cam recorder.. The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: The journey to Edakkal Caves is best made by road. You can hire a taxi from Wayanad or drive yourself if you’re comfortable navigating hilly terrain. The trek to the caves starts from Edakkal itself, where parking spaces are available. For those relying on public transport, buses running to nearby towns are available, but you might need to hire an auto-rickshaw for the final leg of the journey.

The visit to Edakkal Caves is not only about witnessing the ancient petroglyphs but also about experiencing the breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and forests from atop the Ambukuthi Hills. The trek up to the caves is as rewarding as the caves themselves, with the fresh mountain air and panoramic views offering a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Banasura Sagar Dam

Banasura Sagar Dam

 The Banasura Sagar Dam, known for being the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia, is a marvel of engineering amidst natural splendor. This mammoth structure, constructed on the Banasura Lake, offers an awe-inspiring sight against the backdrop of Banasura Hills. The dam is not just a feat of human ingenuity; it is also a hub for various leisure activities like boating, trekking, and photography, making it a favorite among adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Distance from City Center: Approximately 21 kilometers from Wayanad’s city center, the dam is easily accessible by road and makes for a perfect day trip.

Entry Fee: The entrance fee to Banasura Sagar Dam is ₹40 for adults and ₹20 for children. It costs ₹15 (one way) or ₹25 (both ways) to take the shuttle from the entrance to the top of the dam and back. Parking and the camera price are additional. The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: The most convenient way to reach Banasura Sagar Dam is by private vehicle, whether it’s a taxi or a self-driven car. This allows you the flexibility to explore the dam and its surroundings at your own pace. Public transportation options are limited, and the last leg of the journey might require a bit of planning if not traveling by private transport.

The dam’s vast expanse of water is bordered by the verdant hills of the Western Ghats, offering stunning views, especially during the monsoon when the area is lush and vibrant. The region around Banasura Sagar Dam is also known for its trekking trails, which take you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in Wayanad.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Home to an expansive variety of flora and fauna, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, one of the most significant conservation habitats in India. This sanctuary offers visitors a chance to experience wildlife in its natural setting, with possible sightings of elephants, tigers, leopards, and a multitude of bird species. The sanctuary is divided into two parts, Muthanga and Tholpetty, each offering unique perspectives on the region’s biodiversity.

Distance from City Center: The sanctuary has different access points, with Muthanga on the southern side of Wayanad, about 42 kilometers from the city center, and Tholpetty on the northern side, approximately 59 kilometers away.

Entry Fee: 10 rupees for kids under the age of 12 and students who bring identification with them, and INR 20 for Indian adults. The fee for foreigners is INR 110 per person. Should you choose to bring your own camera, the fees are INR 25 for still photos and INR 150 for videos. The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: The ideal way to reach Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is by private vehicle. This offers the flexibility to explore the sanctuary at your own pace and choose between the Muthanga and Tholpetty zones. Public transportation options may be limited, especially to Tholpetty, so planning ahead is advisable.

The sanctuary is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those interested in wildlife photography. The verdant landscapes and the chance to witness animals in their natural habitat offer an unforgettable experience.

Pookode Lake

Situated amidst the Western Ghats’ rolling hills, Pookode Lake is a freshwater lake known for its tranquil beauty and the surrounding lush forest. The lake’s shape resembles the map of India, making it a unique geographical attraction. It’s a perfect spot for families and those seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, with activities like boating and freshwater aquarium visits.

Distance from City Center: Approximately 15 kilometers from the heart of Wayanad, Pookode Lake is easily accessible and makes for a relaxing half-day trip.

Entry Fee: Admission costs INR 20 per adult and INR 10 for children aged 5-12 years, with additional charges of INR 20 for a still camera and INR 150 for a video camera. The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: Reaching Pookode Lake is easiest by private vehicle, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic drive through the Ghats. For those depending on public transport, local buses ply to the lake, but frequencies might vary.

The serene waters of Pookode Lake, bordered by forests, offer a serene ambiance. The area is also ideal for bird watching, with several endemic and migratory species making it their home.

Soochipara Falls

Soochipara Falls, also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, is a three-tiered waterfall cascading from a height of about 200 meters. It’s a popular spot for rock climbing and nature walks, surrounded by dense forests. The pool below the falls offers a refreshing dip, making it a perfect picnic spot.

Distance from City Center: Located around 22 kilometers from Wayanad, the falls are accessible via a scenic route that is a treat in itself.

Entry Fee: The entry fee for Soochipara Waterfalls is ₹80 per individual, with additional costs for camera use and parking.The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: The best way to reach Soochipara Falls is by hiring a taxi, as it allows for flexibility in travel plans and the opportunity to explore nearby attractions. The last part of the journey involves a short trek, which adds to the adventure.

The falls are especially spectacular during the monsoon when the water volume increases, creating a majestic sight. The trek through the dense forest to reach the falls is as exhilarating as the destination.

Chembra Peak

Chembra Peak, standing as the highest peak in Wayanad, is a hiker’s paradise offering panoramic views of the entire district and beyond. The heart-shaped lake on the way to the top is a major highlight, symbolizing the heart of Wayanad. The trek is challenging but rewarding, with breathtaking vistas awaiting those who make the journey.

Distance from City Center: Chembra Peak is about 17 kilometers from the city center, with the base camp located at Meppadi.

Entry Fee: Priced at ₹20 for adults, ₹15 for students, and ₹30 for foreign visitors. Camera fees are ₹40 for Indian nationals and ₹80 for foreign tourists. The exact fee may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Best Transportation Modes: Accessing Chembra Peak is best done via private taxi to Meppadi, from where the trek begins. Public transport options to Meppadi are available but might require transfers.

The trek to Chembra Peak is an adventure, offering a blend of challenge and beauty, making it a must-do for those seeking to experience Wayanad’s natural splendor up close.

Conclusion

Wayanad, with its lush landscapes, rich history, and vibrant wildlife, offers a myriad of experiences for every traveler. From the ancient carvings of Edakkal Caves to the serene beauty of Pookode Lake and the adventurous trek to Chembra Peak, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting district of Kerala. So pack your bags, set your sights on Wayanad, and prepare for an adventure that promises memories to last a lifetime.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the must-visit places in Wayanad for first-time visitors?

    Discover Wayanad's treasures including the ancient Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple, the prehistoric Edakkal Caves, and the magnificent Banasura Sagar Dam. Each offers a unique glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Kerala.

    Is there an entry fee for the attractions in Wayanad?

    Yes, some attractions in Wayanad have entry fees. For example, the Edakkal Caves charge Rs 20 for adults, and Banasura Sagar Dam has an entry fee of ₹40 for adults. However, some sites like the Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple do not require an entry fee. Fees may vary, so it's advisable to check the latest information before visiting.

    How can I reach Wayanad from the nearest airport?

    The nearest airport to Wayanad is Kozhikode (Calicut) Airport, about 120 kilometers away. Visitors can hire a taxi or take a bus from the airport to reach Wayanad, enjoying the scenic drive through Kerala’s countryside.

    What are the best activities for adventure seekers in Wayanad?

    Wayanad offers a plethora of activities for adventure enthusiasts, including trekking to Chembra Peak, exploring the depths of the Edakkal Caves, and wildlife safaris in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Each activity provides a thrilling experience amidst the district's stunning landscapes.

    Can I take photographs at the tourist spots in Wayanad?

    Photography is allowed at most tourist spots in Wayanad, but some places may charge a fee for camera use. For instance, the Edakkal Caves charge Rs 25 for still cameras. It's best to check specific site regulations and fees beforehand.

    What is the best time to visit Wayanad, Kerala?

    The ideal time to visit Wayanad is from October to May when the weather is pleasant, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The monsoon season, from June to September, offers a different experience with lush landscapes and vibrant greenery, suitable for those who enjoy rainy weather.