Wayanad is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Travelling through the wild and breath-taking hairpin road from Calicut, Wayanad is a MUST if you are planning to explore Kerala. So here are our top 9 picks, from personal favourites to some must-be-added-to-list spots in Wayanad.
You must have definitely thought about Kuthiravattam Pappu’s story of how he got down the mountains. Anyways, as we are going on a journey through the beauty of Wayanad, it’s only fair to start from where Wayanad begins, the Thamarassery Churam (hairpins connecting Calicut and Wayanad). The churam is an absolute show. The densely packed forest on one side and the never-ending view of Calicut on the other side are just beautiful. It really puts you into the mood of wanting to explore Wayanad.
This view is one to sit through and see every bit. The roads are well built but the rides can be both smooth or hectic based on the traffic and bad weather. Riding up this road, stopping at the viewpoint with a cup of coffee or tea (personally don’t like tea so much) and watching the mist settle down during the early hours of the morning sunrise is a vibe to be felt.
Ever been on a flight? Well, the cheapest way to get the same view would be to do a 45-minute hike up the adventurous, quirky road up to the top of Kurumbalakotta hills at 5 am in the morning, almost 990 meters above sea level. What’s at the top of it, you might ask? At 6 am in the morning, when you get to see clouds right at your footstep, you will be in trance.
This truly is one of the best feelings to sip a glass of boost while basking at the moment. There is no entry fee. You do get a parking spot (fees applied), which is a plus. There is also a road for offroad vehicles but it’s not as fun as hiking, personal opinion. The place is a tourist spot now so be ready to see a huge crowd, including school going students. But this definitely is a spot to check off your Wayanad travel list.
Is it a bird or is it a plane? No, it’s you. “The Longest Zipline” (that is the name of the place) is the longest zipline in Kerala and South India’s second-longest. It’s around 400 meters in length and covers some thick forests of Wayanad.
At the rate of 300, this is an affordable and enjoyable ride with a little bit of adrenaline rush. For people who have already been on ziplines, this might be an upgrade and for people who have never been on one, this will be a really great first-timer. This is situated at Meppadi – Chooralmala Road, Vellarimala, so a quick drive is all it takes to reach the spot. A disclaimer though, any and all tourist attractions and activities in Wayanad heavily depend on the weather, so, head over there when it’s not pouring.
So, you are hungry and want to try something special? Kuttettante Unniyappam should be your go-to. Surrounded by a dense forest on the Thirunelly road, on the way to Nagarhole National Park, this is the perfect spot to settle down for a cup of tea or coffee and have the well-known Kuttettan’s Unniyappam (unniyappam is a small round sweet snack). They are also famous for their breakfast, which includes Idli and coconut chutney, which in the language of a food vlogger, is a MUST TRY.
Nagarhole National Park
This one is for the rider gang. Wayanad lies in the southern part of Nagarhole National Park so, anyone who is in Wayanad and wants to go for a ride should go down the Wayanad-Bangalore road via Nagarhole National Park Road (265km). The park is a Tiger Reserve Park, so you can expect to witness a wide range of birds and animals throughout your journey. You can do a jungle safari with an entry fee (according to April 2nd 2021) of ₹300 for Indians and ₹150 for children under the age of 12 and students. For cameras with interchangeable lenses, a fee of ₹250 will be charged. The timing is around 6 am to 6 pm (could slightly change).
DUDE David Copperfield is floating right there! Nah that’s just you.
Situated in Meppadi, 900 Kandi is both a hiking spot and an off-road style uphill ride through a dense forest. The place is a heavily visited tourist spot for both the ambience and also for the glass bridge. The glass bridge is South India’s first, located at a height of 100 feet. The entry time is from 9 am to 6 pm with a fee of 100/- per person. You can spend around 30 minutes and feel the floating-like sensation. Be warned, there will be a long queue.
Banasura Sagar Dam
It is the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia, damn! (got the joke?)
The dam is situated 15km away from Kalpetta which is a major town in Wayanad. The legend is that the king of Banasura, Asura son of Mahabali, took penance in the mountains close to where the dam currently exists. Thus, the hills were named after him. This is another well-established tourist spot for both the view and the activities surrounding it – Speed boating, kayaking, ziplining and much more.
The entry time is 9 am-5 pm with an entry fee of 10/- per head. The place is also visited during the beginning of a heavy monsoon season when the dam shutters are opened. The gushing water out of the dam is definitely a fascinating sight. But please don’t try to be stupid and get into the water (people do actually do that, so please don’t).
Pothum Kaal (Buffalo Leg) is the treasure that Beycho Café brought to Wayanad, a definite (once again) MUST TRY. Buffalo leg has a large amount of meat around the leg bone, which has enough quantity for two to three people. The leg is served with a small round bread which goes perfectly with the meat, making it an ideal afternoon meal. When you are done eating the meat, you are welcomed with a new surprise from inside the bone, Majja (bone marrow).
Beycho Café is situated in two parts of Kalpetta so it’s not something you will easily miss out on.
Thirunelli Temple and The Papanasini stream
Built by Lord Brahama, this is a Vishnu temple. Situated 32 km away from Manathavady Thirunelli (nelli the fruit of the amla tree), this temple is a divine place built on the side of the Brahmagiri hills. According to the legend Brahma, while on his travel around the universe, he was attracted to the spot known as Bhramagiri Hills due to its beauty. When he descended down to the spot, he met Vishnu and came to the realisation that it was Vishnuloka. Thus, Brahma built the temple and upon his request, Vishnu promised that the waters around the temple would wash away all sins. These water bodies are known as Papanasini stream.
The waters and temple are places where final rites are performed and thus, a huge amount of people flock to the temple every year. It definitely is a sight for the sore eyes, a place to feel every bit of. The few things to be noted are the strict dress code – dhotis for men and sari for women. The timings are from morning 5:30 to 12:30 and evening 5:30 to 8 (changes a bit according to festivals and other special events). Get more info on the rituals, timings, etc here.