Mananthavady, a small town north of Kalpetta, has become a popular nature retreat. It gives an easy access to some of the important places of the hilly region of Wayanad. This region encases many hill retreats, and it also enfolds a huge part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. This town was the scene of a long guerrilla war between Pazhassi Raja and British troops. Arthur Wellesley – the man who defeated Napoleon in Waterloo – leaded the British troops.
Attractions near Mananthavady
Tholpetty and Muthanga reserves collectively form the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Tholpetty occupies the northern part of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Elephants are in abundance here. Other animals you can hope to see are Nilgiri langurs, sambar, spotted deer, bison, and macaques. Tigers also reside in this sanctuary, but their numbers have dwindled. You can either opt for a jeep safari or a guided trek to explore Tholpetty. The forest department runs jeep safaris; boarding is from the park’s main gate.
Note: Tholpetty is 24 km from Mananthavady. If you have an SUV, you can take your vehicle into the forest. Else you’ve got to opt for a jeep safari. The sanctuary remains closed during the monsoon months.
Thirunelli Temple is located in a remote corner in Wayanad. It is 30 km northwest of Mananthavady. This is the most popular temple in the entire region. Set against the backdrop of lush green hills, this temple is situated in a beautiful setting. Thirunelli Temple exhibits a mix of north Indian and Kerala styles of architecture. A short walk from the temple leads to the bank of Papanasini River.
Pakshipathalam is one of those places where journey is more important than the destination. It is located at a height of 1740 m on the Kerala side of Brahmagiri Hill. It has a cave on the hillock deep in the forest. The forest teems with the birdlife. So, birdwatchers will have a good time here. The only way to reach Pakshipathalam is by trekking. The trek, 7 km long, begins from Thirunelli Temple. Permits are needed; you can obtain them from forest office or contact an agent.
Kuruvadweep (Kuruva Island)
This island, covered with dense rainforest, is spread over 3.8 sq km. It is home to some of the exotic species of birds and plants. It takes a 10-min boat ride to reach the island. Small fibre boats are available for ferrying the tourists. Kuruvadweep is about 17 km from Mananthavady.
Mazhuvannur Maha Siva Kshethram
This ancient Hindu temple is a much revered shrine in the region. Built in the Kerala style of architecture, the temple has god Shiva as the presiding deity. It is situated at the highest point in the area, and is just 10 km south of Mananthavady.
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 Mananthavady?
Railway: The nearest railway station is at Kozhikode which is 98 km southwest of Mananthavady. The railway station of Mysore is 114 km northwest.
Airport: The nearest airport is at Kozhikode, another choice is Mysore Airport. However, Bangalore International Airport (262 km) has better connections.
Road: Mananthavady is 30 km north of Kalpetta, district headquarter of Wayanad. The distance from Mysore is 114 km, and from Bangalore it is 260 km.