We often head to Wayanad, a quaint hill station in Kerala located 300kms from Bangalore. It makes for a perfect getaway due to its proximity to home, it’s wildlife, and breathtaking landscape. It was yet another weekend that day, and we were headed to Kalpetta. Our objective was to see some wildlife, enjoy Kerala cuisine and explore some of Wayanad places to visit that we keep hearing about!
Kalpetta is a city with a background of majestic hills lurking in the shadows, a lush green environment, fresh air, and beauty. Encompassed with a fragrance of coffee and rural lanes, the town is blessed with beautiful nature with landscapes. It is also one of the important trading centers in Wayanad. Dotted with ancient temples, Kalpetta includes a stronghold of communities with over 500 settlements in and about the area. Blessed with all the elements of romanticism that is charming, nature and beauty, this town should rank high on your Kerala itinerary and is among the best Wayanad places to visit.
The Drive to Kalpetta
We took the route that crossed the Muthanga wildlife sanctuary. Located next to Bandipur, Muthanga is known for its elephant and deer population with the occasion tiger/leopard sighting. As we reached Muthanga, we slowed down, hoping to spot something. The landscape looked barren; bald brown trees and dried out shrubs. The sun wass shining hard on us, and we were feeling a little hot even with the AC on. We wonder how animals survive this without any shade or water.
Our car nudges on slowly, and the landscape has turned green. Signs of water nearby. High chances of spotting some elephants maybe. We linger on but looks like we’re out of luck. We lose hope and move on, looking for lunch options.
Our stay at Mount Xanadu
After a long scenic uphill drive, we arrive at our homestay/hotel. We had seen pictures of it earlier, but the place is just so much more beautiful in real. Pictured above is a view of the Karapuzha Dam from our property. The rooms are comfy, equipped with all amenities and a view like that.
Lunch is served to us on the patio. Food, cooked by a local villager, smells of herbs and spices and tastes heavenly. After a big meal, we decide to take a stroll around the property. The estate manager tells us that they have a cave room and a small natural pond, so we decided to check these out as well.
The stay was memorable; the staff was friendly telling us stories about how this property came about, they cooked us some great dishes and the view in the morning was just so pretty. We had a good experience, and even though we didn’t see any wildlife apart from the stay deer/wild boar, we are surely going to come back to this place! Kudos to the owners and staff for being so hospitable!
Best time to visit Kalpetta
The best time to see Wayanad is between May and October, although the temperature in Wayanad remains constant throughout the entire year. These months cover the winter and the start of the summertime.
During monsoons, the hill station gets a good amount of rainfall, and the moist and humid weather may not be something tourists want while traveling. So, it is not recommended to be in Wayanad in monsoons unless you don’t mind the rains and like to be amidst the beautiful hill station covered with a carpet of dense trees.
Top Wayanad Places to visit
At a distance of 22 km from Kalpetta, 21 km from Mananthavady, 46 km from Sulthan Bathery, Banasura Sagar Dam is the largest earthen dam in India and second largest in Asia. This is one of the most popular Wayanad places to visit and often represented in the promotion of Wayanad Tourism. The view of the sprawling reservoir from the top of the dam is breathtaking. Adventures like speed boating are readily available, and a trek up to the Banasura Peak is filled with streams, diverse flora, fauna, lush tropical green, and majestic waterfalls.
With a height 2100 m, the Chembara peak is an attractive destination for Campers and Mountaineers. Many guided expeditions are conducted to the tallest summit of Wayanad. This is one of the top places of trekking in Wayanad and also one of the best Wayand places to visit.
At a distance of 13 km from Kalpetta and 3 km from Vythiri, Pookote Lake, also known as Pookode Lake is a natural freshwater lake situated close to the Kalpetta – Kozhikode main road in Wayanad district of Kerala. The Pookode lake tourist resort is famous for its aquarium and greenhouse. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride in its calm waters. Kayaking in the lake is another sought after activity.
Soochipara Falls is a three-tiered waterfall, which cascades at its best between June and January. The site is also popular with rock climbers apart from picnickers. Soochipara Waterfalls, also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls, is a beautiful waterfall situated in Vellarimala mountain range of Wayanad, among the best Wayanad places to visit.
Thirunelli Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is an ancient temple that was once a famous pilgrimage located in the valley. The name is derived from Amla tree and is associated with a legend that states Lord Brahma had identified the idol of Lord Vishnu under an Amla tree when he was passing by. An architectural marvel, the temple has been mentioned in several Hindu Scriptures.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 14 km from Sulthan Bathery and 39 km from Kalpetta, Muthunga Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, is a sanctuary and Elephant Reserve in Wayanad district of Kerala. The elephant is a particular attraction of this Sanctuary, and the site is a declared project Elephant site. Apart from elephants, the Sanctuary is home to the tiger, Indian bison, a variety of deers, panther, wild boar, sloth bear, the Malabar giant squirrel, and others. The Sanctuary also is home to 59 species of fish and 30 species of amphibians.
At a distance of 6 km from Ambalavalayal, 14 km from Sulthan Bathery, and 28 km from Kalpetta, Edakkal Caves are two natural caves located on top of Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavalayal in Wayanad. Edakkal caves are one of the best Wayanad places to visit and among the best historical sites in the state.
Located 27 km from Kalpetta, Neelimala is a stunning viewpoint situated at Vaduvanchal in Wayanad district of Kerala. It is one of the best places to go trekking in Kerala and among the topmost Wayanad places to visit.
How to reach Kalpetta
By air – The nearest airport to Kalpetta is located at Kozhikode International Airport nearly 100 km away. The airport has functional connectivity to many other major cities in India.
By train – Kozhikode railway station serves as the nearest station to Kalpetta situated about 72 km away. It is connected to many major cities via a good network of trains. Taxi and buses are available outside the station till Kalpetta.