Wayanad district

Wayanad district
—  district  —
Location of Wayanad
in Kerala and India
Coordinates 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605°N 76.083°E / 11.605; 76.083Coordinates: 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605°N 76.083°E / 11.605; 76.083
Country India
State Kerala
Headquarters Kalpetta
Member of Parliament M I Shanavas
District Collector V. RATHEESAN. IAS
District Panchayath President K.L Poulose



369 /km2 (956 /sq mi)

Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 2131 km2 (823 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-KL-
Website www.wayanad.nic.in

Wayanad District (Malayalam: വയനാട്) in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. The region was known as Mayakshetra (Maya's land) in the earliest records. Mayakshetra evolved into Mayanad and finally to Wayanad.[1] The Folk etymology of the word says it is a combination of Vayal (paddy field) and Naad (land), making it 'The Land of Paddy Fields'. There are many indigenous tribals in this area. It is set high on the majestic Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m. [2]

It is the least populous district in Kerala (out of 14).[3]



Banglore-Kozhilode NH212

According to archaeological evidence, the Wayanad(Vayal+nadu(Tamil/Malayalam)) forests have been inhabited for more than three thousand years.Wayanad has a powerful history. Historians are of the view that organised human life existed in these parts, at least ten centuries before Christ. Countless evidences about New Stone Age civilisation can be seen on the hills of Wayanad. The two caves of Ampukuthimala located between Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of the bygone era and civilisation. Recorded history of this district is available from the 18th century. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe. In later days, Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Ali[4] becames the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his sway. In the days of Tipu[5], Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handed over the entire Malabar[6]region to the British, after the Sreerangapattanam [7]truce, he made with them. This was followed by fierce and internecine encounters between the British and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajah of Kottayam. When the Rajah was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad, he organised the war-like Kurichiya tribals into a sort of people's militia and engaged the British in several guerrilla type encounters. In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who killed himself somewhere in the interior of the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new turn in the Home of this area. The British authorities opened up the plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, from Kozhikode and Thalassery. These roads were extended to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Through the roads poured in settlers from all parts of Kerala and the virgin forest lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. In order to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, north Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on November 1, 1980 as the 12 district of Kerala[8] comprising three taluks; Vythiri, Mananthavady, and Sulthan Bathery.

Pookkote Lake


Chembra peak:View from Hrudaya Saras

Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and its chief glory is the majestic rugged terrain of the Western ghats, with lofty ridges interspersed with dense forest, tangled jungles and deep valleys. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent[citation needed] environmental crisis.


Chembra Peak (2,100 metres (6,890 ft)), Banasura peak (2,073 metres (6,801 ft)), Brahmagiri (1,608 metres (5,276 ft)) are some of the important mountains in the district.


The Kabini River, one of the three east flowing rivers of Kerala, is an important tributary of the Kaveri River. Almost the entire Wayanad district is drained by Kabini and its three tributaries, the Panamaram, Mananthavady, and Kalindy rivers. The Banasura Sagar Dam is built on one of tributaries of the Kabini River.


The distance from the mean sea level and the amount of forest cover creates a pleasant climate in the region. Generally the year is divided into four seasons; cold weather (December to February) hot weather (March to May) South West monsoon (June to September) and North East monsoon (October to November). During the hot weather the temperature goes up to a maximum of 35 °C (95 °F) and during the cold weather the temperature goes down to 07 °C (45 °F). The greater temperature variation in the last 5–6 years is in the range of 18 °C (64 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F). The average rainfall is 2,500 millimetres (98 in) per year.


Wayanad is 3.79% urbanised. Agriculture, is the main stay of the economy. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain and vanilla are the main crops. Besides these cash crops, the most important crop in the district is rice. Dams and aqueducts have been constructed to take water to the otherwise dry areas in the district. Price of land is going up even though Agrarian crisis.

In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[9] It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[9]

Agrarian crisis

The district is very susceptible to an agrarian crisis, due to the high dependence of the population on agricultural income. Between 1997 and 2005, more than 150,000 farmers across India have committed suicide, of which nearly 8% were from Kerala (11,516). 90% of these were in Wayanad. A major reason for the high farmer suicide rate was the crash in prices of locally-grown crops such as coffee, pepper, ginger, arecanut, tourisam etc. as well as plant epidemics. The NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) enacted by the current UPA government has helped and Wayanad and Palakkad were the only districts selected to receive the benefits under this scheme because of the acute need in these areas.[10] The daily wage under NREGS at Rs. 125, regardless of gender, in Kerala is the highest among all the states. Work under NREGS includes building elephant trenches (crop-raiding by wild elephants is another problem in Wayanad), waterbodies, roads, etc. Due to a combination of the NREGS and measures undertaken by the state government, in 2007, the state reported 10 farmer suicides as opposed to 131 in 2004.


A tea plantation estate near Kalpetta

According to the 2011 census Wayanad district has a population of 816,558,[3] roughly equal to the nation of Comoros[11] or the US state of South Dakota.[12] This gives it a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640).[3] The district has a population density of 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990 /sq mi) .[3] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 4.6 %.[3] Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males,[3] and a literacy rate of 89.32 %.[3]

No. of Taluks: 3 (Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, and Vythiri)
No. of state Assembly Legislators: 3 (mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, and Kalpetta)
Lok Sabha Representation: 1 (Wayanad constituency).
District Headquarters: Kalpetta. Other Important Towns: Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady.

There are tribal populations in the area who still practice age-old customs and rituals and live a nomadic life. Some of the tribal populations include Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakan and Kurichiyans. It is the district with the highest share in the adivasi population (about 36%) of Kerala. Wayanad also has a large settler population. The Jains from Karnataka came in the 13th century. The Hindu Nairs from Kottayam-Kurumbranadu, in Kannur district, made an entry in the 14th century and established their feudal system. They were followed by Muslims. There were large scale migrations from southern Kerala in the early 1940s. Christians came in the 1950s from Travancore region. In the last few decades there was a complete marginalisation of the indigenous people. Alienated from their land, exploited by the settlers and neglected by the state, their struggle for rights to the land has so far been unsuccessful.

Major Towns


Wayanad District

"Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. http://archive.eci.gov.in/se2001/background/S11/KL_Dist_PC_AC.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-18. </ref>

All the three legislative constituencies in Wayanad Distinct (Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady)are part of the newly constituted Wayanad Lok Sabha Parliamentary constituency. Mr. M I Shanavas of Indian National Congress is the present member of Parliament from Wayanad Loksabha Constituency. The erstwhile North Wayanad constituency is now renamed as Mananthavady. Smt. P.K.Jayalakshmi represents Mananthavadi, Shri. M. V. Sreyams Kumar represents Kalpetta and Shri. I.C. Balakrishnan represents Sulthan Bathery in Kerala Legislative Assembly


The Kozhikode - Mysore National Highway 212 (NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. Wayanad is well connected by road to various parts of Kerala and other neighbouring states. Buses go frequently between important centres like Mysore, Bangalore, Ootty, etc. While travelling from Mysore on NH 212, at a place called Gundlupet the road forks, one goes to Ooty and the other goes to Sultan Bathery, which is a prominent town of Wayanad. Buses are frequently available to Kozhikode, Kannur, Thalassery, Vadakara, Gonikoppal, etc. More than 50% of the traffic in and out of Wayanad passes through NH 212, mainly from Kozhikkode. The nearest railway station is at Kozhikode, 75 km from Kalpetta. Other railway stations near to Wayanad are Thalassery(80 km from Mananthavadi), Kannur(93 km from Mananthavadi) and Mysore(110 km from Mananthavadi & 115 km from Sultan Bathery). Kozhikode International Airport at Karipur is the nearest airport. Kozhikode International Airport is at a distance of 95 km from Kalpetta. Kannur International Airport, under construction at Mattannur is at a distance of 70 km from Mananthavadi.

NH 212 passes through Bandipur National Park and then through the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary which is the Kerala-Karnataka state border. The roads are good except for some sections inside the Bandipur Forest.

Ghat Roads

Mainly 5 Ghat roads are used for reaching Wayanad from coastal towns & lower hilly towns of Kerala :
1. From Thalassery : Nedumpoil-Periya Ghat road, which connects Kasargod, Kannur, Thalassery & Kuthuparamba with Wayanad
2. From Kozhikkode: Thamarassery-Lakkidi Ghat road, part of NH 212, which connects Kozhikkode and the rest of Kerala, south of Kozhikkode with Wayanad
3. From Vadakara : Kuttiady-Pakramthalam Ghat road, which connects Thalassery, Mahe, Vadakara, Nadapuram, Kuttiady and Thottilpalam with Wayanad
4. From Iritty : Kottiyoor-Ambayathode-Palchuram-Boys Town Ghat road, which connects lower hilly towns and villages of Kannur and Kasargod districts with Wayanad. The towns are : Panathur, Udayagiri, Cherupuzha, Alakode, Sreekandapuram, Payyavoor, Iritty, Peravoor, Kelakam, Kottiyoor, etc.
5. From Nilambur : Vazhikkadavu-Nadukani Ghat road, which connects Nilambur, Palakkad, Thrissur and Perinthalmanna, with Wayanad.


=== Places of importance === There are various places of touristic, ecological, religious, and historic importance in the district.

  • Thirunelli Temple is a very old temple on the foothills of Brahmagiri. This temple is dedicated by Brahma to Vishnu in the form of Chatturbhuja. The Thirunelly Temple embodies classical, traditional Kerala architecture. This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu – the god who maintains life, attracts hordes of devotees especially for performing ancestral rites. The shrine is shielded with 30 granite columns and the ground is paved with huge square pieces of granite. It is believed that a ritual dip in the stream Papanasini, running crystal clear downhill, wash one away of all worldly sins. This temple is often referred to as the Kasi of the south. Puthari (October), Chuttuvilakku (January), Navarathri, Sivarathei and Sree Krishna Jaynthi are the festivals conducted in this temple. Karkidakavavu, offerings to the spirits of the departed are made, in August. ph: 04935-210201
  • Edakkal Caves, 32 km from Kalpetta near Ambalavayal, is famous for its pre-historic carvings and paintings.
  • Muthanga wildlife sanctuary. It is on the way from Mysore to Sulthan Bathery. Wild animals such as bison, elephant, deer, and tiger has been spotted. There are also quite a few wild birds in the sanctuary.
  • The Jain Temple near Koottamunda and the Ananthanatha Swami Temple.
  • Valliyoorkav is a temple of historic and social significance.
  • Pallikunnu Church, 14 km from Kalpetta is a famous Pilgrim centre in north Kerala.
  • Varambatta Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in wayanad and it's famous for varambata nercha.
  • Mazhuvannur Maha Siva Kshethram is an ancient Shiva temple near Tharuvana. Karat Siva Temple is a very old temple near Kommayad.
  • Sulthan Bathery is famous for its fort, which was built by Tipu Sultan.
  • The tomb of the king Pazhassi Raja, who fought the British with the help of Kurichiya warriors, is in Mananthavady.
  • Lakkidi, the entry-point to Wayanad on the road from Kozhikode, receives the highest rainfalls in India.
  • Pookode lake is a famous tourist centre near Lakkidi.
  • For the adventurous: Chembra peak, Banasura peak and Brahmagiri peak will provide a tough trek experience.
  • Kuruva Dweep (10 km from Mananthavady) is a unique and fragile delta system on the Kabini River.
  • An important and unusual pilgrim centre for sociologists and educationists is Kanavu a centre for alternative education which help the adivasis (tribals) to adapt to the challenges without losing their cultural moorings.
  • Ananthanatha Swami Temple, (also known as ParswanathaSwamy Jain Temple at Puliyarmala) is a beautiful Jain temple located at Puliyarmala, 6 km from Kalpetta.
  • Pakshipathalam is a very popular trekking spot on the Kerala-Karnataka border.
  • Soochipara, Kanthapara, and Meenmutty are waterfalls in the Meppadi-Ambalavayal region.
  • Thovarimala Ezhuthupara is 5 km from Sulthan Bathery have 400M trekking to reach Thovarimal Ezhuthupara we can see stone age pictorial writing on a rock.
  • Meenmutty Falls is 29 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad District. It is Kerala's second largest waterfall and the one most unspoiled in its natural setting.
  • HML Tea factory achoor: Big tea factory in Wayanad, 10 km from Vythiri.

Flora and fauna

Pookkod lake in summer, Wayanad
Karapuzha Dam in Wayanad

The flora of Wayanad are characteristic of the Western Ghats and the plantation crops grown in the cool climate. A major portion of the district is covered by coffee. Trees of the wild type like rose-wood, anjili (Artocarpus), mullumurikku (Erthrina), several species of caussia and many other nondescript varieties are still preserved here and there, to give shade to the coffee plants. These trees give a dembalance of wilderness to the landscape of Wayanad. In a majority of coffee plantations, the age-old species are replaced by the silver-oak which is suited to the cold climate. This tree grows quickly and its cultivation is widespread among coffee plantations for shade and for giving support to pepper. It is used for the plywood industry and thus is economical to the farmers. Eucalyptus grandis, a shorter variety of eucalyptus, whose fragrant smell suffuses the very air around it, is cultivated on a large scale in certain parts of the district. Eucalyptus oil is extracted on commercial basis from its leaves.

Of the 20,864 hectares of reserve forest, the major portion is teak plantation. Arecanut palms and jack trees are also grown here. Tea is grown as an industry in large estates. The soil and climate of Wayanad are suitable for horiculture on commercial basis. For promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards, the Kerala Agricultural University is running a Regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal.

With the clearing of forests, the diverse and bustling animal life, characteristic of the forests of Western Ghats, has vanished from Wayanad. One can still see the bonnet macaque, slender loris, mongooses, jungle cats, squirrels, jackals, hares, etc., in the limited forest areas. The world's most venomous snake, King Cobra is also found here. Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wild life sanctuaries of Karnadaka and Tamil Nadu, stray into the Begur forest range and the forests around Muthanga, which is 20 kilometres away from the town of Sulthan Bathery. Karapuzha dam near menangadi-10 km, Banasurasagar dam 20 km from vythri. Today large game is found only in region that border with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Here there is one of the largest concentrations of wild Asiatic elephants in whole world. Tiger, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, boar, leopard, wild dog and other large mammals are also present in fairly decent numbers.


The Kerala government says: The recently established professional colleges like the Government Engineering College in Mananthavady and Veterinary College in Pookode is set to change the traditional way of life of Wayanad in the professional education sector.

There are many educational institutions in Wayanad. A few are

  • Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
  • Fr.G.K.M.H.S Kaniyaram, Mananthavady
  • Govt.H.S.S Kartikulam
  • Govt.H.S.S Kakkavayal
  • NMSM Govt. College, Kalpetta
  • Govt.College,Mananthavady
  • Pazhassi Raja College, Pulpally
  • Govt. Engineering College, Mananthavady
  • St.Mary's College, Sulthan Bathery
  • WMO Arts & Science College, Muttil
  • Kendriya Vidhyalaya, Kalpetta
  • WMO CBSC School, Muttil
  • Mary Matha Arts & Science College, Mananthavady
  • St.Catherine's Higher Secondary School, Payyampally
  • Govt. Higher Secondary School Meenangadi
  • Hill Blooms School, Mananthavady
  • Oriental School of Hotel Management, Lakkidi

Schools - 297 st josephs English higher secondary school

  • G M H S S Vellamunda

High Schools - 67

Vocational Higher Secondary Schools - 10

Higher Secondary Schools - 41

Colleges - 06

Polytechnic - 02

Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) - 02

See also


  1. ^ Wayanad Rekhakal by O. K. Johnny, Mathrubhumi Books
  2. ^ "Wayanad Map" (PDF). 2008. http://www.hampi.in/downloads/wayanad.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. http://www.census2011.co.in/district.php. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  4. ^ http://www.mapsofindia.com/who-is-who/history/hyder-ali.html
  5. ^ http://www.renaissance.com.pk/Octletf94.html
  6. ^ http://berchmans.tripod.com/kerala.html
  7. ^ History of Tipu Sultan By Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani, Asian Educational Services, 1997
  8. ^ http://wayanad.nic.in/history.htm
  9. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (September 8, 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme". National Institute of Rural Development. http://www.nird.org.in/brgf/doc/brgf_BackgroundNote.pdf. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ India Today - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia
  11. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2119rank.html. Retrieved 2011-10-01. "Comoros 794,683 July 2011 est." 
  12. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/apportionment-pop-text.php. Retrieved 2011-09-30. "South Dakota 814,180" 

Tourism in Wayanad

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