In the mid of the monsoons of 2013, I had this wonderful opportunity to visit Wayanad for SPLASH, a tourism program showcasing the properties and activities available in Wayanad. To my experience, I would say Wayanad is best in her beauty during the monsoons. Moreover I studied in Wayanad for four years as part of my hotel management graduation, to my feel, during summers – Wayanad is no option for a holiday as the destination becomes a boiling pot, unlike decades back when it was more coolers as people say.
The term Wayanad comes from the term Vayal Nadu – means the land of paddy. As such there is no place called Wayanad, however the district is named as Wayanad. This place was like Africa decades back, with forests, tribal communities, and a few planters from central Kerala who migrated to the plateau. More than a hill station, it is like a plateau – a gateway to the Deccan plateau through the Western Ghats. Unlike Munnar, much of the flora and fauna of Wayanad is not destroyed for plantations. Monsoons are the best time to be in wayanad, the streams, the waterfalls and the rivers would be more active during then. Soochipara and Meenmuty waterfalls would be in their mightiest form where gallons of water fall onto the rocks making a big haze. Rainbows become a common sighting here during the monsoon.
Wildlife is something for which wayanad is known for and there are 2 wildlife parks, one is the Muthanga wildlife life sanctuary which shares the same forest known as Bandipur in Karnataka and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu. The other one is the Tholpetty wild life sanctuary, where you cross the river in bamboo rafts to access the sanctuary. The road to Mysore form Suthan Bathery is through the forest and Elephants herds are a common sight close to the Muthanga. Animals move from Bandipur and Mudumalai to Muthanga during the summers as abundance of water is mostly in Muthanga. Other animals of game viewing would be the Indian Bison, Deer, tiger – very rare, Porcupines and many more small beings of the forest.
Apart from the sanctuaries, the Edakkal caves is something unique, a visit is a semi adventure – you need to climb a steep hillock or take a jeep and further up you will see hand carved markings on the rock which dates back to 5000 years. After a combination of a trek and rock climbing, once you reach atop the Edakkal caves, you can literally see the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from Kerala. This is mostly meant for youngsters or say people young at heart.
During monsoon, the hill station becomes grounds for adventure activities like river rafting, off road Jeep rides through the slush, Chembra peek treks, Mud football, plantation visits are few to name. Muddy boots, an adventure tourism facilitator is an active player in the region. Some of the best resorts I would recommend are Vythiri resort, My Garden of Eden, Parisons Plantations experiences, Tranquil plantation retreat and Banasura hill resort
Written by Benjamin John