Wayanad District is a district in the north-east of Kerala state, India with headquarters at the town of Kalpetta. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The district is 3.79% urbanised, with only one municipal town of Kalpetta.
Wayanad district stands in the southern tip 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. In the centre of the district hills are lower in height while the northern area has high hills and they give a wild and mountainous appearance. The eastern area is flat and open.
The region was known as Mayakshetra (Maya's land) in the earliest records. Mayakshetra evolved into Mayanad and finally to Wayanad. The Folk etymology of the word says it is a combination of Vayal (paddy field) and Naad (land), making it 'The Land of Paddy Fields'. There are many indigenous tribals in this area.
It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m.
It is the least populous district in Kerala.
The flora of Wayanad are characteristic of the Western Ghats and the plantation crops grown in the cool climate. A major portion of the district is covered by coffee. Trees of the wild type like rose-wood, anjili (Artocarpus), mullumurikku (Erthrina), several species of caussia and many other nondescript varieties are still preserved in plantations to give shade to the coffee plants. These trees give a sembalance of wilderness to the landscape of Wayanad. In many coffee plantations, the age-old species are replaced by the silver-oak which is suited to the cold climate. This tree grows quickly and its cultivation is widespread among coffee plantations for shade and for giving support to pepper. It is also used for the plywood industry and thus is economical to the farmers. Eucalyptus grandis, a shorter variety of eucalyptus, whose fragrant smell suffuses the very air around it, is cultivated on a large scale in certain parts of the district. Eucalyptus oil is extracted on commercial basis from its leaves.
Of the 20,864 hectares of reserve forest, the major portion is teak plantation. Arecanut palms and jack trees are also grown here. Tea is grown as an industry in large estates. The soil and climate of Wayanad are suitable for horticulture on commercial basis. The Kerala Agricultural University has a Regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal for promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards.
Deers fighting in the wilds of Wayanad
There are bonnet macaque, slender loris, mongooses, jungle cats, squirrels, jackals, hares, etc. in the limited forest areas. The world's largest venomous snake, the King Cobra is also found here. Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wild life sanctuaries of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, stray into the Begur forest range and the forests around Muthanga, which is 20 kilometres away from the town of Sulthan Bathery. Karapuzha Dam near menangadi-10 km, Banasura Sagar Dam 20 km from vythri. Today large game is found only in region that border with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Here there is one of the largest concentrations of wild Asiatic elephants in whole world. Tiger, bison, sambhar, spotted deer, boar, leopard, wild dog and other large mammals are also present in fairly decent numbers.