Wayanad , a part of offbeat Kerala, is a district nestled in a green paradise in a rural district. Its high altitude has a lot of forests cover and hence home to Asiatic elephants, tigers, leopards, and egrets, etc.
Apart from being famous for nature, Wayanad is also famous for ancient petroglyphs, some dating back to the Neolithic age!
Wayanad is a district located on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and in the north-eastern part of Kerala.
How to reach Wayanad?
We left from Bangalore around 10pm and reached Wayanad at 5: 30 am the next day.
Luckily, our hotel- iCon Residency was just 350 meters away from the bus stop. We booked hotels and buses (INR 1500 both the ways) on Goibibo.
By Air: Calicut International Airport is located around 65 km away from Wayanad. You can hire a cab from the airport to reach Wayanad
By Road: You can drive down from your nearest town to Wayanad (I wouldn’t recommend this because of higher carbon footprints). There are a lot of direct buses available from nearby cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Kochi, Chennai, and Trivandrum.
By train: Wayanad is not connected directly by rail. You can take a train till the nearest railway station which is Kozhikode and continue to Wayand by taxis or buses.
Internal travel in Wayanad, offbeat Kerala.
In case you do not have your personal vehicle, you can hire an auto with the driver just like we did.
Our day one started at 7 am on the same day. We hired an auto guy from the bus stop who charged us INR 1500, 1600 AND 1800 for day 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These costs were fair since the places are really far from each other.
Please clarify the driver’s food expenses before you begin your journey.
We did not find any cabs on hire on the road. In case you need a car, you can hire one on Zoom Cars, MMT, etc.
When to travel to Wayanad?
It is a destination fit for the entire year barring monsoon (June-September) since Kerala received rainfall 300 days in a year.
Offbeat Kerala’s guide to Wayanad:
Banasura Sagar Dam
Entry fee: INR 60 Time spent: 30-45 mins
We started our day with Banasura Sagar Dam, which is Asia’s 3rd largest earth dam and India’s only earth dam!
We reached the dam around 9: 30 am and after taking the tickets, we had to walk almost 500 meters to reach the top. There were a LOT OF flying insects on top of the dam and we used my umbrella to run through them.
There are a lot of things to do here viz., kayaking, horse riding, etc. But since it was very hot (Yes, at 10 am in the morning!), we skipped all those things.
There was a flower garden below the dam which is very well kept. I was eve teased near the flower garden. So be fully dressed and always be with someone.
Entry cost: INR 60 per person Time: 20 mins
You can boat in Karlad Lake, which is the only activity to be indulged in here. With nothing much to do around, it is less crowded than Pookadu Lake. There were a few tents for accomodation, if you fancy staying opposite a lake.
Cost: INR 1200 for 2 people Time: 60 mins
We wanted to avoid this because the bamboo rafts did not have a cover to protect us from the sun and it was really hot but the same was arranged after we spoke to the raft people. We rafted our way through the clean waters, grass, moss, and flowers.
We were lucky to get Naushad as our rower. He showed us a bird’s nest which was only 5 meters away from us! You can also swim here since the water is just 6- 7 meters deep and clean.
- Carry extra/appropriate clothes that you might need for a swim.
- In case leeches suck you, the rowers will help you get them off.
Entry: INR 30 per person Time: 30 mins
We came here because I had read 2 things: 1) This lake’s shape is that of India (I did not know where to see it from and hence missed it) 2) There are blue lotuses here (Maybe because we did not do boating and hence we missed it)
So we ended up taking a stroll around the area and meeting monkeys. Don’t worry, these monkeys will not cross your path or harm you in any way.
We reached the viewpoint in the evening just when it started drizzling. With this beautiful climate around we enjoyed the majestic Wayanad views.
Legends say that the Britishers beheaded a lot of Adivasis here. One adivasi’s soul stayed and hence when any vehicle passed by, it toppled!
To avoid more damage, a saint was called to perform a pooja. He tied a prayed chain around this tree and that was the end of vehicles being toppled over!
We left by 5 am today since only 200 people are allowed everyday in the Kuruvadweep Islands since it is an eco-tourism area. The tickets start selling around 6 – 6:30 am and are sold out in an hour.
Please remember to carry a hoodie since the temperature touches 15C while it drizzles.
After buying the tickets, we left for Tirunavelli Temple since the entry started only at 9-10 am and we had 3 hours to kill.
We stopped for breakfast on the way while being engulfed in the beauty en route! We spotted 7 deers and different insects on the way.
Folklore says that Lord Parshuram used to pray here and it is a 3000-year-old temple. We got wonderful vibes from this temple and ventured around. This spot has a washroom.
Back to Kuruwadeep Islands
When the gates opened at 9: 30 am, we proceeded towards our boat which would take us to the island.
We had to walk for another 700 meters to explore the flora and fauna. You can spot a lot of birds on the way. If you love bird watching, rememmber to carry your binoculars.
After venturing further inside, we reached a water body surrounded by a lot of trees, where you could take a dip.
After leaving the islands, we had lunch and proceeded for Stream Valley Resort to call in a day.
We made a mistake of checking out at 12 noon because we had Eddakal Caves and Soochipara Waterfalls on our list.
The time required to travel from the Hotel to Waterfalls is 1-1.5 hours and falls to caves – 1-1.5 hours.
Both these places were to shut around 4 which we came to know once we sat in the auto at 12 noon
We reached the falls at around 1 pm and the auto guy asked us to come back by 1: 45 if we wanted to explore the caves.
With only a kilometer to walk, we thought this timing was possible. But turns out, due to difficult and challenging stairways and upward slopes, it takes 30-40 min and 2 pit-stops to cover this stretch of 1 km.
With no further strength to just see the waterfall, we returned from halfway to leave for the caves, expecting to see them at least.
We finally reached the caves at 3: 40 pm (it was to shut at 4). I was happy that we made it! But no! We had to walk another kilometer on an upward slope to get the tickets!
This road was worse than Soochipara Falls road.
We were happy when we got the tickets but later came to know there is another trek of almost 500 steps. We gathered a lot of courage telling each other that we’re not coming back so to see this and then call the day.
At a midpoint, we could either go up or go back down. Our bodies had given up and we still needed the energy to walk the same distance down. We started walking towards the auto guy and took almost 40 mins!
You can skip the falls. I don’t know what people really like about that. I cannot say about the caves since I’ve not seen them. But I can say this – you need to keep aside a day for each of this place to enjoy the vibe of the place.
We left for our bus stop (to go to Bangalore).
If you have more time, you can add:
Luv Kush Temple
Kerala is the only place in the entire India to have Luv Kush temple which in Pulpally.
Chembra Peak- Heart-shaped lake:
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad located 2100m above sea level.
You can do a day’s trek here or camp overnight beside this beautiful heart-shaped lake!
District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides, sleeping bags, etc on hire charges.
Munekal caves or Pakshipathalam is located 1740 m above sea level in the Brahmagiri Hills at Thirunelli.
If you are an adventure seeker, you will love this place since it involves a 16 km journey through thick wild forests. The deep rock caves seated amidst thick blocks of rocks are the abode to various birds and wild animals
Pazhassi Tourist Resort
Pazhassi Raja who was known the Lion of Kerala and organized warfare against British East India Company was cremated here in 1805. It is 34 km from Kalpetta and there are various attractions viz., boating, park, aquarium, and sale of handicrafts etc.
Where to eat in Wayanad?
There are a lot of local hotels, mess, and restaurants to eat from. You will be gobbling down authentic Keralite food in the most traditional places.
Vegetarian food is also available upon request- enter a hotel only after asking if they serve vegetarian food.
Accommodation in Wayanad
This trip was planned last minute but if you are planning it in advance and money to spend, check out Jungle Beats.
Costs for exploring offbeat Kerala -Wayanad
We spent INR ~6000 on the entire trip including all the things mentioned in the blog. These costs are as on May 2018.
Other blogs you might enjoy reading:
- Experiencing Kerela’s oldest rituals- Theyyam. Read here.
- A weekend in Kochi. Read here.
- 48 hours in Kodaikanal. Read here.
I hope this blog on offbeat Kerala- Wayanad, helps you plan your travel in a quicker manner.