Kalpetta is the district headquarter of Wayanad. If you are in the hills of Wayanad for the first time and aren’t sure where to stay, Kalpetta is your best bet. This town offers a multitude of stay options across wide range of budgets. Kalpetta also serves as a base for Chembra Peak Trek. From here, you can visit some of the finest waterfalls of Wayanad.
Places to Visit in Kalpetta:
Banasura Sagar Dam
Banasura Sagar Dam is built over a tributary of Kabini River. The construction of dam submerged the surrounding areas and created a reservoir. This reservoir is dotted with a few islands which are backdropped by the hills. Hence the entire site has become admirable. Banasura Sagar is the largest earthen dam in India. Its islands have thick green cover and are also home to the elephants.
Pookode Lake is a natural freshwater lake. Situated amidst forests and surrounded by hills, this lake is 15 km from Kalpetta. Pookode Lake is a popular tourist attraction, so solitude could be a far-fetched expectation. A stream originating from this lake eventually becomes Kabini River. This place can get chaotic during weekends. Boating is available from 9 am to 5 pm.
Soochipara Fall, also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfall, is about 25 km south of Kalpetta. This three-tiered waterfall is a charming site and is a much sought after attraction in Wayanad. ‘Soochi’ means needle and ‘Para’ means rock; these words are used in the name because falling water hits the sharp projections of the granite rock. The water creates a pool at the base. So, as expected many enthusiasts enjoy taking dips here. You’ve got to walk for about 15 min to reach the waterfall from your car parking. Also plastics aren’t allowed to carry to the site.
On your way to Soochipara Fall from Kalpetta, you need to take a detour from Meppadi to reach Kanthanpara Waterfall. The road from Meppadi passes through tea and coffee plantations. While Kanthanpara is smaller than Soochipara, its location amidst the forests and bamboo grooves is very soothing. Just like other falls, Kanthanpara also gets reduced to a trickle during the summer months. So, to watch it in its voluminous avatar, do visit during or just after the monsoon.
Another popular waterfall of Wayanad region. Meenmutty, a three-tiered fall, has water cascading down from a height of about 300 m. When the fall is at its best, the water comes roaring down the rocks creating a magnificent spectacle. It is situated deep in the forest. To reach there, you’ll have to walk about 2 km in the forest from the parking place. During monsoon, it is not advisable to venture near the fall as the volume and the pace of the water are pretty high.
Vaduvanchal is a small town, 26 km southeast of Kalpetta. It is surrounded by the plantations of tea, coffee, and rubber. Along with a peaceful retreat in the hills of Wayanad, this town also serves as a base for short treks. The finest of them is to a viewpoint called Neelimala. Vaduvanchal has a few hotels and resorts, in case you are looking for a completely offbeat stay.
Situated near Vaduvanchal, Neelima Viewpoint offers commanding views of the Meenmutty Waterfalls as it cuts through the thick forests of Wayanad. The grass-covered slopes appear soothing from this place. Reaching here entails a trek of about 1.5 km. The trekking path passes through coffee plantations and grassy slopes where silence is only broken by the chirping of birds. To reach the base of the path, you’ll need to take a short drive from Vaduvanchal.
Chembra Peak is the tallest peak in the entire Wayanad region. It is 6,890 ft above sea-level and is 14 km southwest of Kalpetta. The only way to reach up there is by trekking. Along with the trekkers, it also attracts bird-spotters with its variety of avian species. You’ve got to begin your trek early in the morning so as to return before sunset. En route, you will reach a lake perched at a height of 4,920 ft. You can either book your trek through DTPC Wayanad, or hire a guide from them. These days a few private agencies also conduct this trek.
This Latin Catholic Church, 14 km west of Kalpetta, was built by a French priest Father Jefreno in 1908. It is in the name of ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’. Green and peaceful surroundings add to the spiritual vibes of the church.
Kannadi Kshetram (Jain Temple)
Situated at Koottamunda, 20 km from Kalpetta, this temple is dedicated to Parshvanath – the 23rd Tirthankara of Jains.It is perched on the slope of a hill called Vallarimal. This temple is also known as the glass temple because it has a set of mirrors on the walls of the sanctum which reflect the image of the idol. It is believed that the temple is about two centuries old.
When to Go?
Wayanad receives highest rainfall from May to September. Mild to heavy showers can be expected even in other months. However, winter is a good time to enjoy the hills of Wayanad.
How to Reach Kalpetta?
Rail: Kozhikode Railway Station is 76 km southwest of Kalpetta, and Mysore Railway Station is 140 km northeast.
Air: Calicut International Airport at Kozhikode is 88 km from Kalpetta and Mysore Airport is 130 km northeast. However, Bangalore, 286 km northeast, has better connections.
Road: Kalpetta is 74 km northeast of Kozhikode and 24 km west of Sultan Bathery.