Reconnecting With Wayanad’s Past

Eddakal Cave 

If France and Australia got Chauvet and Jenolan caves, respectively, Wayanad would have the symbolic Edakkal Cave. Although not as renowned as the other two, Edakkal shares a significant part of the place’s historical context. It is one of the oldest discovered, containing petroglyphs, ancient engravings displaying human figures, various animals, survival tools, vehicles, daily occurrences, and scripts of various languages. These items are pieces of evidence suggesting that the place was inhabited several times in the past, hence a collection of important artefacts. 

Contrary to most beliefs, Edakkal cave is not a cave but a pre-historical rock shelter that was believed to have formed due to a split in what once was a massive boulder. In the Malayalam language, Edakkal means a-stone-in-between and is evident in the historic site – attracting more tourists and explorers. In addition, Muniyaras, or burial sites, a rich collection of pottery and earthenware, are also found in the location, contributing to it becoming a UNESCO Heritage Site, being taken care of just like a beautiful memoir of the past. 

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view of eddakal cave_©https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/destinations/edakkal-caves-open-for-tourist-now/articleshow/65857531.cms
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view of eddakal cave_©https://tinyurl.com/39n99hfy
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inner view of eddakal cave_©https://thrillingtravel.in/edakkal-caves-wayanad.html

Sultan Bathery Jain Temple 

Sultan Bathery Jain Temple is an ancient temple prominent for its Vijayanagar Dynasty-like architecture – intricate temple details and granite material. It is sure to be an interesting destination for architectural enthusiasts. The temple displays unique spaces and elements that contribute to its ancient façade. The structure is elevated on a raised platform with carved pillars supporting the enormous stone slab roof. A linear space program is considered in its circulation, starting with a Mukha Mandapa or the front-facing veranda; adjacent to it is the Maha Mandapa or the inner courtyard and lastly, the Sanctum, considered to be the Holiest part of the structure. It is the best heritage site in the town’s vicinity. Built in the 13th century AD, this fascinating temple has a rich history; it started as a shrine for worship and then became a commercialized area. It was also used as a dump site for ammunition by one of the leaders back then. Today, the temple can be visited from 8 am up until 5 pm for free. 

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Sultan Bathery Jain Temple_©https://tinyurl.com/2u4b2yjyl
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Sultan Bathery Jain Temple_©https://tinyurl.com/mrxufnvr

Panamaram Jain Temple 

Another example of a Jain Temple is one situated in the Panamaram district, Wayanad district of Kerala State. Located in the middle of a coffee plantation lies this ancient old temple in its dilapidated condition, forgotten but still has its enticing charm. Few of its intricately carved columns still stand, while some chiselled granite scatters on the ground like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be assembled. The temple slowly fades as nature extends its reach into every corner of its domain. Though elaborate, temple details begin to be unclear as twisting wild vines seize its remains like a treasure found – hiding a message of any sort. But what could these symbols mean? It is yet to be uncovered. Nevertheless, it is still a great spot to explore and take a selfie. 

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Panamaram Jain Temple_©https://twitter.com/ReclaimTemples/status/955047251599962113/photo/1
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Panamaram Jain Temple Interior_©https://pratheep.com/jain-temple-at-panamaram
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view of Panamaram Jain Temple from the road_©https://twitter.com/ReclaimTemples/status/955047251599962113/photo/2

Thirunelli Temple 

Thirunelli Temple is dedicated to Vishnu in Chaturbhuja form, a male Buddhist deity. The influence of Kerala architecture is evident in the temple with its tiled roofed structure of the inner Sanctorum, the open plan courtyard, and granite lamppost. The temple faces east and has a spectacular view of the sunrise. It is also surrounded by healthy green foliage and a mountainous range in its background – a characteristic evident in Wayanad. Believed to be 1000 years old and is said to have a lot of legends; one of which is that its name Thirunelli translates as holy gooseberry in Malayalam (Thirunelli temple, Mananthavady, Wayanad, District, Kerala, India, 2022). Nearby is a river named Papanashini, known as a stream, to wash away all sins. It is also believed that the temple has the power to let the departed souls rest in peace. The place is a quiet spot, with the temple being a vital part of town as if silently witnessing the changing time and respected by the locals.

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aerial view of Thirunelli Temple_©https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjlVaAi1dRM
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view of Thirunelli Temple_©https://www.ktexplorer.com/post/my-journey-to-the-temple-of-inner-transformation–the-thirunelli-temple

Pazhassi memorial 

Wayanad’s rich history continues with this next destination – the Pazhassi Memorial. A symbol of courage and bravery of Pazhassi Raja, known as the Kerala lion, braving victory over the British invaders. It is where his remains are left and buried. At present, the tomb is easily distinguished by four columns that gently curve supporting its gabled slated roof. It stands still like a centrepiece on a bricked platform – though this was not the case before. Prior to the site’s improvement, an old Coly tree existed in the centre of the memorial as if protecting the remains from any threats. Its presence gave tranquil energy that contributed to the transcendental ambience of the place. It was not long ago until the tree died and was removed from the memorial. Following this, the historic site was then developed and converted into a museum in March of 1996. This led to the increase of historians, researchers, and students who were eager to visit and study the memorial. The museum houses Pazhassi Raja’s sword and more information relating to the origin of Kerala. Currently, the Kerala State Archaeology department manages the memorial – everyone is welcome to visit. 

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Pazhassi Tomb Front View_©https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pazhassi_Raja_Museum_Mananthavady_(3).jpg

Places to Relax and Unwind 

Wayanad gives some of the best staycations in the world. Great escapades truly fitted for nature lovers and explorers alike. 

Vythiri Resort 

Have you ever thought of spending time with nature on a luxurious vacation? Vythiri Village Resort is just the place for it. This fresh take on rental businesses is a must-visit attraction in Wayanad, at least if the budget permits. Stellar accommodations are available in different options, such as child-friendly treehouses, exclusive tropical villas, and elegant cottages – all designed to maximize the view and ambience of the place. The architecture displays a mix of organic, vernacular, and modern approaches merged into creating a unique design highlighting thatched roofs and bamboo walls. It is also part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site – hence another reason to visit. It sits on approximately 61 hectares of property surrounded by the Vythiri rainforest enveloping the development as if nature’s embrace. Guests can enjoy its state-of-the-art services, amenities, and facilities; a few include a spa, conference hall, multi-cuisine restaurant, coffee shop, health club, and activities tailored to the visitor’s interests. With its serene ambience, it is a good place to disconnect from the hustle of the city and engage in a therapeutic experience with mother nature. Imagine waking up accompanied by the gentle chirping of birds and penetrating rays of sunlight headed towards your bed, greeting you good morning – what a life.

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Vythiri Resort_©https://www.thrillophilia.com/tours/vythiri-resort-wayanad-stay
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Vythiri Resort_©https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g2295130-d307536-Reviews-Vythiri_Resort-Vythiri_Wayanad_District_Kerala.html
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Vythiri Resort_©https://www.makemytrip.com/hotels/vythiri_resort-details-wayanad.html

Wayanad Silver Woods Resort 

Take a break in this enchanting paradise and engage in a life-centric experience. Amidst the gentle forestland, Silverwood resort is another option to consider when staying in Wayanad. The property occupies an area of 6.5 hectares and offers one of the best retreats in the place. From its picturesque sceneries to its remarkable services, it sure is a bucket-list-worthy destination. Its contemporary design on buildings adds a sense of grandeur and elegance to the development. Materials like terracotta and wood blend well with the landscape, like a work of art, carefully thought of. This sustainable design is a collaborative work of two architects, Mr Anton Jacob (Sri Lanka) and Mr Roopesh (Kerala). Resulting in a well-executed master plan nestled with a plethora of fauna and flora, this resort offers the best and most unique experiences among guests and visitors – a magical escapade to remember. 

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view of Silver Wood Resort_©https://www.makemytrip.com/hotels/wayanad_silverwoods-details-wayanad.html
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view of Silver Wood Resort_©https://www.agoda.com/wayanad-silver-woods-hotel/hotel/wayanad-in.html
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view of Banasura Dam from resort_©https://www.wayanadsilverwoods.com/

Arayal Lakeside Resort 

An exclusive getaway haven within reach, Arayal Resort is a humble abode situated on a sloping property overlooking Banasura Sagar Dam. It is also well-known for its breathtaking scenes and has often been visited by a lot of guests since it was built in 2012. Since it is a boutique resort, its fresh and modern architecture contrasts with the serene lush green environment of the vicinity. A few amenities include a children’s pool and club, an adult pool, a dining venue, a library, a conference room, a terrace, a billiard table, a coffee shop, and a lot more. It also has a picnic space and a garden, used as safe spaces to enjoy moments with family members or reflect in solitude, all while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.  

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Arayal Resort Aerial View_©https://www.thrillophilia.com/tours/arayal-resorts-wayanad-stay
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Arayal Resort View From Pool_©https://www.hotel.com.au/tariyod/arayal-resort-a-unit-of-sharoy-resort.htm
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Arayal Resort A Different View_©https://tinyurl.com/2p8taxcs

Mountain Shadows Resort

Wayanad does not disappoint when it comes to dramatic sceneries, just like the next item on this list. Also overlooking the Banasura Sagar Dam, the Mountain Shadows Resort displays a palatial grandeur while sitting in a dense forest – an idyllic scene straight from a fairytale book. The resort provides 51 exotic cottages made from mud plaster and mountain thatch roof, utilizing the vernacular elements and merging the hillside landscape. The idea is to prioritize its natural environment, hence strategically designing the masterplan in such a way that it minimizes its impact on the development while producing a world-class property. The place emanates a mysterious aura that makes it more appealing to travellers alike, bewitched by its tantalizing beauty one can’t ignore.

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Mountain Shadow Resort_©https://www.agoda.com/mountain-shadows-resorts/hotel/wayanad-in.html?cid=1844104
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Mountain Shadow Resort Different View_©https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCKNMoHQFCQ

Abad Brookside Lakkidi Resort 

Sharing the same spectacular forest and hill ranges of western Ghats, Abad Brookside Lakkidi Resort is a great spot to unwind, relax and just enjoy the little things. Welcoming guests to their home dwellings are Wayanad’s misty and lush green foliage. With a beautiful modern-tropical approach to design, the resort mainly houses two cottage accommodations carefully designed to provide unique experiences for visitors, both of which offer quality treatment. This rain-themed resort has a multi-cuisine restaurant and a 100-capacity banquet hall. The gentle splashing of water can be heard from a nearby brook, creating a truly relaxing and peaceful space.  

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Abad Lakkidi Resort Aerial View_©https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCKNMoHQFCQ
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Abad Lakkidi Accomodation_©https://www.kerala-hotels.info/en/
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Abad Lakkidi View From Poolside_©https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Feature-g21176632-d15236639-zft6217-Abad_Brookside_Lakkidi_Wayanad.html

Adventures To Appreciate 

If you are a traveling architect, exploring unique experiences can help revitalize thought-provoking ideas. And Wayanad just got the adventures needed to stimulate that creativity. Be inspired as you create your best memories yet. 

Banasura Sagar Dam 

With a catchment area of 61.44 square kilometres, the Banasura Dam is considered the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia. This attraction has one of the best awe-inspiring views ideals for a picnic setting. Speedboats are available, allowing visitors to sail through the vast expanse of shimmering waters overlooking the majestic mountain ranges covered in the lush green background – a scenic view to witness. A few of the earlier top-notch resorts mentioned can be seen while skimming the waters. 

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A Perspective of Banasura Dam_©https://tinyurl.com/2p8v8fac
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Banasura Dam View_©https://irisholidays.com/kerala/wayanad/banasura-sagar-dam

Pookode Lake 

Looking for more water activities? Pookode Lake just offers that. Situated amidst evergreen forest and the Western Ghats lies this stunning lake spreading 5 hectares and is 40 meters deep. The greener foliage makes the environment more appealing to photographers, nature lovers, and explorers alike. Boating is the main attraction of the lake and provides good facilities for it. Everyone enjoys seizing the moment in this wonderful attraction on boat pedals gently sailing the vast lake with scattered lilies. It is expected that there will be more tourists here and thus making the place vibrant and interactive. Some other facilities include a freshwater aquarium, a relaxing fish spa experience, a children’s park, and souvenir shops. Before guests come full circle in their visit, the lake best displays its beauty during sunsets as if hinting at the beauty in goodbyes. A truly heartening experience.  

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Pookode Lake View_©https://wayanadtourism.co.in/pookode-lake-wayanad

Meenmutty Waterfalls

Not far from Banasura Sagar Dam is a secret Wayanad treasure hidden in its evergreen forest – the magnificent Meenmuty Waterfalls. This tourist attraction can be accessed after a strenuous 2 km jungle trek. Though arduous, the summit’s thrilling visual display is worth the hassle. It has three varying tiers cascading over 304.8 meters in total height. The first level occupies a shallow depth pool which is safe for swimming. Following it is the second tier which gently gives a hint of something even better atop, though visitors must be extra careful since portions of the boulders are slippery. At last, the peak uncovers a pristine beauty of misty, lush greenery of the Meppadi forest range fading into the horizon contrasted with layers of sky tones as if a painting brought to life.  

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Meenmutty waterfalls_©https://www.trawell.in/blog/waterfalls-in-wayanad-that-you-should-not-miss

Chembra Peak 

Uncorrupted and original, Chembra Peak is a pristine wonderland and a great escape for a serene nature walk. It is situated 2100 meters above sea level and home to rare flora and fauna exotic in the region. The forest department organizes the trek and other activities involved. There is a limit of 200 people are only allowed per day to minimize disturbance of the place. It is also a wise choice to hire a guide. Though not necessary, it enhances the experience; not only can one hear memorable stories about the destination, but also make a new friend – awesome. It is a peaceful setting to clear one’s mind and reflect on the simple things that truly matter. Though there is not much architecture, appreciating the site can be enlightening and refreshing. 

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Lantern Stay Resort 

Want to experience Wayanad in its full glory but on a budget? No problem, Lantern Stay Resort offers an amalgamation of good accommodations and thrilling adventures suited for lost explorers. The resort practices responsible tourism principles and promotes respect for nature’s beauty. The spot is home to different species of birds and a refreshing site to enjoy a morning stroll. There is also an off-roading safari tour where elephants, sambars, spotted deer herds, wild boards, sloth bears, gaurs (Indian Bison), tigers, and panthers can all be seen – a must-try escapade. The meals are served in communal kitchens allowing guests to interact with other explorers and paving opportunities for the exchange of stories. This is a camping resort; hence experience the warmth of the campfire while savouring the charming beauty of this location. Take a rest in their comfortable tents with a fulfilled heart, grateful and blessed after a tiring day of exploration. 

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view of Lantern Stay Resort_©https://www.lanternstay.com/photo-gallery/
View of Lantern Stay Resort Campfire_©https://www.lanternstay.com/photo-gallery/

Being in the architectural practice can be draining. But sometimes, what’s needed is a genuine break from the stressful corners of the office. And Wayanad offers just that! As if magic artistically moulded in luxury and nature, experience a vacation like no other.

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Author

John Victor Gonzaga is a young architect practicing in the Philippines. He is a highly driven and motivated man especially when it comes to his creative pursuits. He enjoys exploring anything related to the abstract arts; few other interests include writing, painting, reading, music and travel.

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