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Wayanad district

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Title: Wayanad district  
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Wayanad district

Wayanad district
വയനാട് ജില്ല
Wayanad scenery on NH 212 Kozhikode-Kollegal
Wayanad scenery on NH 212 Kozhikode-Kollegal
Wayanad district is located in Kerala
Wayanad district
Wayanad district
Country  India
State Kerala
Headquarters Kalpetta
 • Member of Parliament M I Shanavas
 • District Collector Keshavendra Kumar IAS
 • District Panchayat President N.K. Rasheed
 • Total 2,131 km2 (823 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 816,558
 • Density 380/km2 (990/sq mi)
 • Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-KL-
Vehicle registration KL-12, KL-72, KL-73
Website .in.nic.wayanadwww

Wayanad District is a district in the north-east of Kerala state, India with headquarters at the town of Kalpetta. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The district is 3.79% urbanised, with only one municipal town of Kalpetta.

Wayanad district is in the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau. Part of the Western Ghats is in the district. In the centre of the district hills are lower in height while the northern area has high hills. The eastern area is flat and open.

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.[2]

It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m.[3][4]

It is the least populous district in Kerala.[5]

Unlike all other 13 districts of Kerala, in Wayanad district, there is no town or village named same as the district (i.e., there is no "Wayanad town").

Wayanad is the only district in Kerala that borders both the neighboring states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Wayanad borders Kozhikode, Kannur, and Malappuram districts in Kerala; Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu; and Chamarajanagar, Mysore, and Kodagu (Coorg) districts in Karnataka.


  • History 1
  • Wayanad Heritage Museum 2
  • Geography 3
    • Mountains 3.1
    • Rivers 3.2
    • Climate 3.3
  • Economy 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Administration 6
  • Important towns 7
    • Major towns 7.1
    • Minor towns 7.2
  • Access 8
    • Road 8.1
    • Night traffic ban on NH 212 at Bandipur National Park 8.2
    • Railway 8.3
    • Airport 8.4
  • Ghat Roads 9
  • Education 10
    • University 10.1
    • Professional colleges 10.2
    • Arts and Science Colleges 10.3
    • School Education 10.4
  • Culture 11
  • Flora and fauna 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


According to Kozhikode and Thalassery.Later, they extended these new roads to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Settlers emigrated from all parts of Kerala and the fecund 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. 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 1 November 1980 as one the twelve districts of Kerala,[11] consisting of three taluks; Vythiri, Mananthavady, and Sulthan Bathery.

Wayanad Heritage Museum

The Wayanad Heritage Museum at Ambalavayal showcases the relics/mementos of Wayanad’s heritage recovered from different parts of the district over several years. Extensive surveys were undertaken in the district in 1986 when Shri Ravindran Thampi was the Distrct Collector. The effort was continued during the time of the District Collector Shri Viswas Mehta’s stewardship. The museum is the culmination of efforts extending over a decade. It came up at a time when the idea of having heritage museums in every district was discussed at the national level and the Wayanad Heritage Museum was perhaps the first of its kind in the country.

The Wayanad Heritage Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of the Wayanad's priceless heritage. It is a journey through our past – in the present.

There are four galleries in the museum. Each gallery represents different aspects of human existence in this hilly region. They are named ‘Gotrasmrithi’ (Representing primeval tribal traditions), ‘Jeevasmrithi’ (Representing livelihood tools and vesses), ‘Veerasmrithi’ (Representing a heroic age of forgotten periods) and ‘Devasmrithi’ (Objects of worship and piety). Official Website: [1]


Chembra peak:View from Hrudaya Saras

Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and includes part of the Western Ghats. 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[12] environmental crisis. It has a large amount of dry and moist deciduous forest. Wayanad is home to endangered species.


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. Other unknown peaks still exist.


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 the tributaries of the Kabini River.
Veera Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja -Painting by Raja Ravi Varma


The higher elevation and forest cover creates a comfortable and a cool climate. Wayanad has a cool weather throughout the year except for April and May which reaches the peak summer, a maximum to 31 degrees is rarely reached, with the temperature remaining around 29 degrees and breezes in summer. In the monsoon season it rains heavily almost with annual average rain of 3200 mm of rain and the night temperatures fall below 20. There is misty weather all around from (last of May–Oct) monsoon are high humid and long last monsoon for a week without break. The rainforest around Wayanad get very high rain and the pre- monsoons showers start October. The winters are cold in some areas of northern Wayanad, temperature of water remains almost above freezing, and January is the coldest month. Winter lasts from November to February.


Climate data for wayanad
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 21.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 17
Average low °C (°F) 7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 18
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248 232 248 240 217 120 124 124 150 155 180 217 2,255
Source #1:, altitude: 1461m[13]
Source #2: Weather2Travel for sunshine and rainy days[14]


Rice planting in the fields of Wayanad. Taken near Mathamangalam.

Wayanad is 3.79% urbanised. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain and vanilla are the main crops. It is a revenue state due to foreign exchange of these cash crops and other condiments.

Besides the cash crops, the most important crop in the district is rice. Wayanad has two or more rices with their own properties, Wayanad Jeerakasala Rice and Wayanad Gandhakasala Rice are among the most aromatic rices in world. Dams and aqueducts have been constructed to take water to the otherwise dry areas in the district. The price of land is increasing even though there is an agrarian crisis.

Cattle farming is another major income earner for the people of Wayanad.

Small watch hut near a paddy filed in Muthanga.

Tourism is the major non-agricultural income earner for the district. The Western Ghats mountain ranges coupled with several water bodies and wildlife are attractions for leisure tourists.

There are not many industries functioning in Wayanad. The Wayanad dairy of Milma (Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) at Kalpetta and a Mini Industries Park promoted by Kinfra at Kalpetta, which hosts number of small scale industries, are the notable industrial units.

In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[15] It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[15]


A tea plantation estate near Kalpetta

According to the 2011 census Wayanad district had a population of 816,558,[5] roughly equal to the nation of Comoros[16] or the US state of South Dakota.[17] This gives it a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640).[5] The district has a population density of 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990/sq mi).[5] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 4.6%.[5] Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males,[5] and a literacy rate of 89.32%.[5]

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, kurumans 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 (26.87%). 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, the indigenous people have been 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.


Wayanad District

District Headquarters: Kalpetta. District Collector, District Police Chief and District Judge are based at Kalpetta.

No. of Taluks: 3

No. of state Assembly Legislators: 3[18]

  • Kalpetta - Current MLA is Mr. M.V. Sreyams Kumar
  • Sulthan Bathery - Current MLA is Mr. I.C. Balakrishnan
  • Mananthavady - Current MLA is Ms. P.K. Jayalakshmi

Lok Sabha Representation: 1

Important towns

Major towns

Boys Town near Mananthavady

Minor towns



The KozhikodeMysore National Highway 212 (NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. This highway is the primary access to Wayanad from the major cities of Kerala (Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram) as well as Karnataka (Bangalore and Mysore).[19] [20]

State Highways passing through Wayanad are:

  • State Highway SH 29 connects to the road to Gudalur and Ooty at the "Kerala - Tamil Nadu state border". This highway was originally Kozhikode - Vythiri - Kerala State border however the section Kozhikode - Chundale is now part of NH212. This highway now starts at Chundale near Kalpetta.
  • State Highway SH 59 Hill Highway (Kerala) - This proposed highway connects both ends of Kerala state, passing through entire hilly regions of the state. This highway will connect Wayanad with Kannur district to the North and Malappuram district to the South. In Wayanad, this highway passes through Mananthavady, Kalpetta and Meppadi. The section connecting Meppadi with Nilambur in Malappuram district is to be built. Note that currently there is no direct road link between Wayanad and Malappuram, though these are neighbouring districts.

All national and state highways passing through Wayanad District intersect at its headquarters Kalpetta,[22] making it the "Gateway of Wayanad".

Night traffic ban on NH 212 at Bandipur National Park

En route to Mysore on NH 212, past Wayanad district boundary, which is also the Kerala state boundary, NH 212 passes through Bandipur National Park. There is a night traffic ban imposed on this stretch since 2009.[23] The alternate road to take is, leave NH 212 at Kalpetta and proceed to Mysore through Mananthavady, Kutta, Gonikoppal, and Hunsur.


Wayanad district is not connected by rail network. The nearest railway station is at Kozhikode, 72 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 and 115 km from Sultan Bathery).[24]


Kozhikode International Airport at Karipur is the nearest airport, 95 km from Kalpetta. Kannur International Airport, under construction at Mattannur is at a distance of 70 km from Mananthavady. There is a proposal for new feeder airport in the Wayanad district is at Cheekkalloor ()[25] in Panamaram and the nearby Nadavayal.[26]

Ghat Roads

Wayanad Ghat Road (Mountain Pass) on NH 212

As Wayanad is surrounded by Western Ghats mountain ranges, "Ghat Roads" (mountain passes with several hairpin curves) are used for reaching Wayanad from coastal towns and lower hilly towns of Kerala. There are five ghat roads to reach Wayanad:

  1. From Kozhikode: ThamarasseryLakkidi Ghat road (commonly known as "Wayanad Churam"), part of NH 212, connects Kozhikode, and the rest of Kerala to the south of Kozhikode, with Wayanad.
  2. From Thalassery : Nedumpoil–Periya Ghat road, which connects Kasargod, Kannur, Thalassery and Kuthuparamba with Wayanad
  3. From Vadakara : Kuttiady–Pakramthalam Ghat road, which connects Thalassery, Mahé, 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. Note that this road is not a direct link to Wayanad; this road connects Nilambur to Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu state, from where Wayanad can be accessed through several roads.



The headquarters and main campus of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University is located at Pookode, 14 km from Kalpetta. The territorial jurisdiction of the university extends to the whole of the State of Kerala.

Professional colleges

  1. DM WIMS Medical College, Meppadi, Kalpetta
  2. Government Engineering College, Wayanad, Mananthavady
  3. Oriental School of Hotel Management, Lakkidi, Kalpetta
  4. College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pookode, Kalpetta
  5. Oriental College of Hotel Management and Culinary Arts, Vythiri, Kalpetta
  6. College of Dairy Science and Technology, Pookode, Kalpetta (offers B.Tech degree course in Dairy Science & Technology)
  7. Oriental Institute for Management Studies, Vythiri, Kalpetta
  8. Centre for Computer Science and Information Technology of Calicut University, Muttil, Kalpetta (offers MCA (Master of Computer Application) course)
  9. Centre for PG Studies in Social Work of Calicut University, Sulthan Bathery (offers MSW(Master of Social Work) course)
  10. Government Polytechnic College, Meenangadi
  11. Government Polytechnic College, Meppadi, Kalpetta
  12. DM WIMS Nursing College, Meppadi, Kalpetta
  13. Vinayaka College of Nursing, Sulthan Bathery
  14. KMM Government ITI, Kalpetta
  15. Government ITI for Women, Nenmeni, Sulthan Bathery

Arts and Science Colleges

  1. St. Mary's College, Sulthan Bathery
  2. NMSM Government College, Kalpetta
  3. WMO Arts & Science College, Muttil, Kalpetta
  4. Government College, Mananthavady
  5. Pazhassi Raja College, Pulpally
  6. Mary Matha Arts & Science College, Mananthavady
  7. Don Bosco College, Sulthan Bathery
  8. Green Mount Arts & Science College, Padinjarethara, Kalpetta
  9. PM Charitable Trust, Arts & Science College, Meppadi, Kalpetta
  10. SNDP Yogam Arts & Science College, Pulpally
  11. Alphonsa Arts & Science College, Sulthan Bathery
  12. CM College of Arts & Science, Panmaram, Mananthavady
  13. WMO Arts & Science College, Koolivayal, Mananthavady
  14. PKKM College of Applied Science (under IHRD), Mananthavady
  15. Model College of Applied Science (under IHRD), Meenangadi
  16. Jayasree Arts & Science College, Kalluvayal, Pulpally

School Education

Wayanad has one Kendriya Vidyalaya located at Kalpetta and one Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya located at Pookode, near Kalpetta.

Schools following Kerala state syllabus are managed by the Deputy Director of Eduction (DDE) headquartered at Kalpetta.


Vallyoorkkavu Temple

Wayanad has the highest number of tribals in Kerala. More than half of the district's residents are tribals, who have their own dance styles including famous fire dance. In Thirunelly area, tribals live in the forest, and almost entirely derive their livelihood from forests. Wayanad tribals use eco-friendly artifacts made out of bamboos. The native "Adivasis" (tribals) mainly consist of various sects like Paniyas, Kurumas, Adiyars, Kurichyas, Ooralis, Kattunaikkans to name a few. They live in thatched roof, mud, bamboo and brick houses set in swampy valleys and plateaus.

Tribal woman catching crabs in the paddy fields in wayanad

Tribals have indigenous holistic herbal medicine which is getting increasing attention in recent years. The adivasis also have a legacy of arts and crafts. This includes music, dances, ornamentation and handicraft that draw inspiration from natural themes, motifs and materials. The Kurichyas of Wayanad have a martial tradition. They constituted the army of Pazhassi Raja who engaged the British forces in several battles. The descendants of those warriors are still expert archers. The skill of Kurichya archery has also been noted on occasion.

Wayanad has many temples. Though Adivasis are in the Hindu fold, primitive forms of worship still prevail among them. Ancestral worship and offerings to propitiate the spirits of ancestors are still prevalent.

A wild elephant found near Naikkatty in wayanad

Flora and fauna

Vegetable Shop in Meppadi
View of Karapuzha Dam
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 in plantations to give shade to the coffee plants. In many 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 also used for the plywood industry and thus is economical to the farmers. Eucalyptus grandis, a shorter variety of eucalyptus, 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 horticulture on commercial basis. The Kerala Agricultural University has a Regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal for promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards.

Deer fighting in the wilds of Wayanad

There are bonnet macaque, slender loris, mongooses, jungle cats, squirrels, jackals, hares, etc. in the limited forest areas. The world's largest venomous snake, the King Cobra is also found here. Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wildlife sanctuaries of Karnataka 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, Banasura Sagar 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 world's largest concentrations of wild Asiatic elephants. Tiger, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, boar, leopard, wild dog and other large mammals are also present in fairly high numbers.

See also


  1. ^ Wayanad Rekhakal by O. K. Johnny, Mathrubhumi Books
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g
  6. ^ The Kadamba kula A history of ancient and medieval Karnatak , By George M. Moraces BX furtado &sons Bombay 1931
  7. ^
  8. ^ Madrass District Gazetteeers, The Nilgiris. By W. Francic. Madras 1908 Pages 90-104
  9. ^ Report of the Administration of Mysore 1863-64. British Parliament Library
  10. ^ Proclamation No:CLXXXLL , A. Collection of treaties and engagements , By W.Logan, Calicut 1879
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links

  • Official site of Wayanad district
  • Kerala Government Wayanad Info page
  • Expert Bulletin Travel Guide
  • Official site of Wayanad Heritage Museum
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