Wayanad-The New Forest Destination Of Kerala
   

WAYANAD-THE NEW FOREST DESTINATION OF KERALA

The vast stretches of mist - capped mountains green meadows of valleys, white water springs, blue water lakes and wild forest fabricate the splendid natural beauty of Wayanad. It is at a height of 700m to 2100 m above sea level. Wayanad's climate and geography make it ideal for the cultivation of coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber. Its pretty image not withstanding, perhaps what the visitor finds most endearing about this quaint little hill station is its large tribal population and their fascinating lifestyles. Including revered monarchs of barely fifty-strong tribes. Not surprisingly, based on evidences still found on these hills, historians contend that civilization existed in these parts at least a thousand years before Christ.

 

A view from Lakkidi  Wayanad is situated in an elevated picturesque mountainous plateau in Western Ghats. It lies between north latitude 11degree 26'28'' and 11degree 48'22'' and east longitude 75 degree 46'38'' and 76 degree 26'11''.

 

Providing a panorama of undulating mist clad hills and dales, Wayanad is blessed with a unique geographical position. Luxuriant plantations of coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber are strewn all over the hills of Wayanad. It is bound on the east by the Nilgiris and the Mysore districts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka respectively. It shares the borders with Coorg district of Karnataka on the north, on the south with Malappuram district and on the west with Calicut and Cannanore districts. The natural scenic beauty of Wayanad and its rich natural resources offer several opportunities for adventure tourism. Located at the northeastern tip of Kerala, Wayanad was earlier a part of Kannur district. Panorama, Manathavady and Kabini, the fast flowing rivers lend a unique beauty to the whole region.

 

The unique geographical features of Wynad, expressed in rugged mistcovered mountains and pastoral valleys, lend this northern district a peculiar charm and a delightful challenge for hikers and nature lovers. The last populous of Kerala’s districts, Wynad is relatively backward and development has not appreciably improved the lives of the tribes who comprise a sizeable section of the population. Wynad’s climate and geography make it ideal for the cultivation of coffee, tea, cardamom, paper and rubber. Plantations, especially of coffee, abound. Once ruled by the Kalpetta, the district headquarters, is the famous Ananthaatha Jain Temple at Puliyarmala. This district is said to have been a stronghold of Jains in the past. Another pointer to this fact is the Glass Temple Of Koottamunda, 20 km from Kalpetta. Located on the slope of the Vellarimala hill, this temple is dedicated to Parswanatha Swami of the Jain faith. The mirrors inside the temple walls reflect in thousands of beautiful patterns the images of the icons in the temple’s sanctum sanatorium.  

 

Trekkers would like to head for the Chembra Peak, 18 km away, the Banasura Sagar Dam near Padinharathara, also 18 km away, as well as the Meenmutty waterfall, 40 km from Kalpetta.

 

History

 There is a land not far from Calicut, the city of Zamorins, yet a world apart from Kerala's agricultural and industrial epicentres. It is a quiet place where scenic beauty wild life and traditional matter, simplicity is a virtue and beauty still blossoms from the mountainous horizon and from the green glaze of alluring vegetation. This is Wayanad - the green paradise - the border world of greener part of Kerala. Clean and pristine, enchanting and hypnotising this land has a history and mystery, culture and social epistemology yet to be discovered. Located at a distance about 76 km. from the sea shores of Calicut in the Western Ghats, this station is full of plantations, forests and wildlife. Wayanad hills are contiguous to Mudumala in Tamil Nadu and Bandhipur in Karnataka, thus forming a vast land mass for the wild life to move about in its most natural abode.

 

The name Wayanad has been derived from the expression 'Vayal nadu' - the village of paddy fields. In the ancient times this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe. In later times, Wayanad came under the rule of Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Ali became the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his way. In the days of Tipu, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handled entire Malabar to the British after the Sreerandapattam truce that he made with them. This was followed by fierce encounters between the British and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajah of Kottayam. Even when the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad he waged several battles with his Nair and Kurichia-Kuruma tribal soliders against the British troops and defeated the latter several times through guerilla type encounters. The British could get only the dead body of the Rajah who killed himself somewhere in the interior forest. Thus Wayanad fell into the hands of British, and with it began a new turn in the history of this area. The Britishers opened up the Plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad from Calicut and Telicherry. These roads were extended to the city of Mysore and to Ooty through Gudalur. Roads facilities provided opportunities for the people of outside Wayanad to flow and settle to these jungle regions.

 

When the state of Kerala was formed in 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later South Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district and then on November 1, 1980 North and South Wayanad joined together to form the present Wayanad district.