KERALA INFO: Wayanad District Information
Wayanad District Information
by by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author) (Feedback)
Density per km2
291 cm (Annual)
Wayanad means the land of paddy fields as Vayal is paddy and Naad is land in Malayalam. This district in the north-east of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district, carved out of Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Many indigenous tribes live in this area. It is set lofty on the majestic Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 Metres above mean sea level. It is bounded on the east by Nilgigris and Mysore districts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka respectively, on the north by Coorg district of Karnataka, on the south by Malappuram and on the west by Kozhikode and Kannur. This district has the added advantage of linking Kerala with the golden triangle of South India, namely, the Bangalore, the Mysore and the Ooty.
The district has the largest adivasi population. It contributes about 36% of the adivasi population of the state. This region consists mainly of the Paniyas, the Kurumas, the Adiyars, the Kurichyas, the Ooralis, the Kadans, and the Kattunaikkans. Among them the Kurichyars are the most developed community. Many of them are small land owners, whereas the members of other tribes are mostly the labourers. Wayanad also has a small jain community consisting of Gowders who came from Karnataka. They have built beautiful temples all over the district. One fourth population of Wayanad is constituted by Christians and many sects of Christianity are well represented in the district. The Muslims constitute another one fourth population and the rest of the population belongs to the Hindus.
This high altitude of the district is characterised by the cultivation of perennial plantation crops and spices. The major plantation crops include coffee, tea, pepper, cardamom and rubber. The Coffee based farming system is a notable feature of Wayanad. Coffee is grown both as pure crop and as well as mixed crop along with pepper. Pepper is grown largely along with coffee in the north eastern parts of the district, especially in Pulpally and Mullankolly areas. The rice fields of Wayanad are in the valleys formed by hillocks and in majority of paddy lands and only a single crop is harvested. A variety of crops including annuals and perennials are grown in these small holdings. The crops include coconut, arecanut, pepper, vegetables, tuber crops, drumstick, papaya, etc. and fruit trees like mango and jack.
The rajas of the Veda tribe ruled the region in the ancient times. Later, Wayanad was ruled by the Pazhassi Rajahs of the Kottayam royal dynasty. Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, invaded Wayanad and brought it under his way. During the reign of his son, Tippu Sultan, Wayanad was restored to the Kottayam royal dynasty. The entire Malabar region was given to the British after the Srirangapatnam truce. Then, there were frequent fierce encounters between the British and the Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajah of Kottayam. The Rajah waged several battles even when he was driven to the wilderness of Wayanad. After his death, the Wayanad completely fell into the hands of the British. The Britishers opened up the Plateau for cultivation of tea and other cash crops. Even the roads were laid across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad from Calicut to Telicherry.
When the state of Kerala was formed in 1956, Wayanad was the part of Kannur district. Later South Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district in 1957 and the north Wayanad remained with Cannannore district. By amalgamating the north Wayanad and south Wayanad, the present Wayanad district came into being on the 1st November 1980 comprising of three taluks, the Vythiry, the Mananthavady and the Sulthan Bathery.
Places of Interest
Chembra Peak, Kuruva Island, Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary, Pakshipathalam, Pazhassi Raja Tomb, Pookot Lake, Soochippara Waterfalls, Banasura sagar Dam, Edakkal Cave, Lakkidi
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