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Wayanad district in Kerala

Wayanad District, in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1 1980 as the 12th district, carved out of Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The etymology of the word Wayanad is Vayal (paddy) Naad (land); 'Land of Paddy Fields'. There are many indigeneous tribals in this area. It is set lofty on the majestic Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m. 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 environmental crisis.


Basic information

Area: 2132 km²
Population (2001 census) : 786,627
Density of Popn: 369 people/km²
No. of Taluks: 3 (Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery, Vayithiri)
No. of State Assembly Legislators: 3 (North Wayanad, Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta)
Lok Sabha Representation: North Wayanad Assembly Seat is in Kannur Lok Sabha Seat, the other two in Kozhikode.
District Headquarters: Kalpetta (Municipality, pop: 29,602 in 2001 census)
Other Important Towns: Sulthan Bathery, Mananthavady.


In ancient times the land was ruled by the Vedar Rajas. Later Wayanad came under the rule of Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam Royal Dynasty. The modern history of the district is associated with the events that took place during the Mysorean invasion and the long spell of the British rule stretching over a period of about two centuries. There was fierce encounter between the British and Pazhassi Rajah. When the state of Kerala came into being in 1956, Wayanad was a part of Cannannore district; later in 1957 south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district and north Wayanad remained with Cannannore district. By amalgamating the north Wayanad and south Wayanad, the present Wayanad district came into being on the 1st November 1980 comprising of three taluks; Vythiry, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery.


One important characteristic feature of this district is the large adivasi population, consisting mainly of Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakan and Kurichiyans. Wayanad district stands first in the case of adivasi population (about 36%) among other districts in the state. Wayanad has a large settler population. There are people from almost all parts of Kerala who migrated to this fertile land for building up their lives. Their hard work and sacrifice helped them to prosper. On the other hand, the last few decades have seen the complete marginalisation of the indigeneous people. Alinated from their land and victimized by the state, their status is a blot on the progressive ideals of Kerala society.


Wayanad is an industrially backward district. Agriculture, mainly plantation and estate type, is the main stay of the economy. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper and lately, vanilla are the main cash crops. Besides 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.

Geographical details

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Wayanad scenery

Wayanad district stands on the southern top of the Deccan plateau and its chief glory is the majestic Western ghats with lofty ridges interspersed with dense forest, tangled jungles and deep valleys, the terrain is rugged.

Mountains:- Chembra peak (2345 m), Vellarmala (245 m), Banasuran mala (2061 m), Elembileri mala (1839 m), Brahmagiri (1608 m), Kunnelipadimala (1607 m), Thariode mala (1553 m) are some of the important mountains in the district.

Rivers:- Kabani River, one of the three east flowing rivers of Kerala, is an important tributary of Cauvery. Almost the entire Wayanad district is drained by Kabani and its three tributaries; Panamaram, Mananthavady, Thirunelly rivers.


The distance from the mean sea level and surrounding forest creates a salubrious climate. Generally the year is divided into four seasons; cold weather (December to February) hot weather (March to May) South West monsoons (June to September) and North East monsoon (October to November). During the hot weather the temperature goes upto the maximum of 35°C and during the cold weather the temperature goes down to 10°C. The average rain fall is 250 cm per year. Wayanad is a very beautiful, especially in a small town in Mananthavady, called Alattil.


The Kozhikode- Mysore National Highway No. 212 passes through Wayanad district. Nearest railway station is at Kozhikode, 67 km from Kalpetta. Kozhikode airport at Karippur is the nearest airport. There are good road connections to various parts of Kerala and other neighbouring states. Buses go frequently between important centres.

Places of importance

There are various places of touristic, ecological, religious and historic importance in the district, including:

  • Edakkal Cave, 32 km from Kalpetta near Ambalavayal, is famous for its pre-historic carvings and paintings.
  • There is a famous Jain Temple near Koottamunda.
  • Thirunelli is a very old temple on the foothills of Brahmagiri.
  • Sulthan Bathery is famous for its fort, which was built by Tipu Sultan.
  • The tomb of the chieftain Pazhassi Raja, who fought the British with the help of Kurichiya warriors, is in Mananthavady.
  • Valliyoorkav is a temple of great historic and social significance.
  • Lakkidi, the entry-point to Wayanad on the road from Kozhikode, receives one of the highest rainfalls in India.
  • Pookkot lake nearby is a famous tourist centre as well.
  • A ride through the tea estates is also very beautiful.
  • For the adventorous the Chembra peak and Banasura, both over 2000 m high, provide tough challenges.
  • 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.

External Link

  • Pictures (http://www.employees.org/~athomas/india/)

Template:Districts of Kerala


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