Located at a distance of 280km from Bangalore. Wayanad is a beautiful hill station in the north east of Kerala. 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 Wayanad forests have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. Historians are of the view that human settlement existed in these parts for at least ten centuries before Christ. Much evidence of New Stone Age civilisation can be seen in the hills throughout the present day Wayanad district. The Edakkal Caves have 6000 year old rock engravings from the Neolithic age.
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.
How to reach Wayanad:
The two caves of Ampukuthimala (Edakal Caves) in Sulthan Bathery, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of a bygone civilisation. At the foot of the Edakal Male (hill) caves, Kannada inscriptions belonging to Kutumbiya clan of Mysore dating to c. 500 CE were discovered which read – ‘Palapulitaanamtakaari‘, ‘Sri Vishnu Varma Kutumbiya Kulavardhanasya li..it..a..‘ it speaks of the glorious descendant of Kutumbiya clan, Kannada chieftain, Vishnu Varma, as one who killed many tigers.
The recorded history of this district exists only from the 10th century onward. In 930 AD, emperor Ereyappa of Ganga Dynasty led his troops to the south west of Mysore – an invasion to the prosperous kingdom he had heard of from traders and Jain monks. Mission accomplished and he called the conquered kingdom ‘Bayalnad’ meaning the land of swamps. After Ereyappa, his sons Rachamalla and Battunga (or Butuga) fought each other for the new kingdom of their father’s legacy. Rachamalla was killed and Battunga became the undisputed ruler of Bayalnad.
In the 11th century AD, Gangas were dethroned from Bayalnad by Kadamba dynasty of North Canara. Wayanad was at that time divided into two portions – Bira Bayalnad and Chagi Bayalnad. One of the Mysore inscriptions (alluding perhaps to the treacherous beauty of the country, which attracted the stranger and then laid him low with malaria) says ‘an adulteress with black waving curls, as adulteress with full-moon face, an adulteress with endless side-glances, an adulteress with adorned slim figure was this storeyed mansion, the double Bayalnad’. Kadamba Bayalnad emerged as a rule in the 11th century under their chief Raviyammarasa with Kirttipura in Punnad their capital. Kanthirava (1090 CE) was described as ruling Chagi-Bayalnad. Iravi-Challamma (1108 CE) was the ruler of Bira-Bayalnad.
In 1104 AD Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala invaded Bayalnad followed by Vijayanagara dynasty in the 14th century. A Kadamba king, Mukkanna-Kadamba ruled Bayal-nad in and around 1138 CE.
The Vijayanagara empire:
A feudatory chieftain of Sangama dynasty of Vijaynagar, Immadi Kadamba Raya Vodeyayya of Bayalnad Kadambas, is said to have ruled Bayalnad.
The Mysore Wodeyars and the Sultans:
In 1610 AD Udaiyar Raja Wadiyar of Mysore drove out Vijayanagara General and became the ruler of Bayalnad and the Nilgiris. Bayalnad is the present Wayanad. When Wayanad was under Hyder Ali’s rule, the ghat road from Vythiri to Thamarassery invented. Then the British rulers developed this route to Carter road. When Wayanad was under Tipu Sultan’s rule British invasion started. Tussle and turbulent times followed. The British claimed Wayanad under the 1792 treaty of Srirangapatna citing it was part of Malabar. Tipu Sultan went in appeal before the Governor General. Considering his arguments, relying on the successive Karnataka rule for centuries in Wayanad and its geographical detachment from Malabar, in 1798, Governor General Lord Mornington declared by proclamation that Wayanad had not been ceded to the East India Company by the treaty of 1792. Consequently, the British troops withdrew from Wayanad conceding to Tipu’s rule. In 1799, after the fall of Sultan, the British handed over Wayanad by the treaty of 1799 to the Raja of Mysore. But by a supplementary treaty dated 29 December 1803 the East India Company repossessed Wayanad and thereafter administrated by Col. Arthur Wellesley from Srirangapatna and North Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Raja dynasty of ancient Kottayam.
In later days, Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam royal dynasty. When Hyder Ali became the ruler of Mysore, he invaded Wayanad and brought it under his sway. In the days of Tipu, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. But Tipu handed over the entire Malabar region to the British, after the Srirangapattana 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 to the cultivation of tea and other cash crops by constructing roads across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, 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. Agriculture Cultivation started broadly after 1900 A.D onwards. Wayanad eventually became part of Kerala despite its geographical delimitations and political descent in 1956 on State’s reorganisation. Even now there is a considerable Kannada speaking population and the reminiscence of centuries old Karnataka rule is omnipresent in Wayanad.
- Edakkal caves
- Sulthan Bathery
- Muthanga wildlife sanctuary
- Tholpetty Wildlife sanctuary
- Banasura Sagar Dam – the only earth dam in India,second largest earth dam in Asia.
- Pookode Lake
- Karapuzha Dam
- Chembra Peak, the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m above sea level and has a heart shaped lake.
- Karalad Lake
- Phantom Rock
- Kuruva island the only island surrounded with naturally purified water source in Kerala.
- Thirunelli Temple
- Valliyoorkkavu Temple
- Seetha Lava Kusha Temple
- Soochipara Falls
- Chethalayam Falls
- Meenmutty Falls, Wayanad
- Kanthapara falls
- Lakkidi, Wayanad
- Tea estates