A Walk Through the Plantations in Wayanad, Kerala

Don't you want lush green mountains, clear air, which makes you drunk, and nature walks when you wake up in the morning. Just dive into the beauty of Wayanad, which can be in top vacation destinations. The beauty of Wayanad attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. Therefore it is one of the best places to visit in Kerala during the summer.

This district of Kerala is dripping with the beauty of nature and is a perfect paradise for nature lovers. There are many forests, waterfalls, caves, hills and water bodies to visit and explore. Adventurous people can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, trekking, camping, bicycle tours, forest walks and safaris here.

Packed with the beauty and calmness of nature, Wayanad is an abode for all nature lovers. Known for its cool atmosphere, Wayanad is abundant with waterfalls, forests and home to wild animals. It is also a place for those who love adventures.

Chembra Peak, Phantom Rock, Pookode Lake, Meenmutty Waterfalls, Edakkal Caves, Tholpetty, Muthanga, Lakkidi, Kuruva Islands, Nagarhole, Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Mudumalai National park, Kuruvadweep, Sulthan Bathery, Vythiri, Thirunelly, Pookode, Edakkal Caves, Soochipara Waterfalls and Banasurasagar Dam are some of the best places to visit in Wayanad.

Find one of the best nature resorts or wildlife resorts in Wayanad to make your trip memorable.

Wayanad is a rural district situated in Kerala known for its soothing temperature all around the year. The rich soil of this hilly district is favourable for growing coffee, tea and spices. Wayanad located on the higher elevation of Western Ghats has different altitudes ranging from seven hundred meters to twenty-one hundred meters.

Wayanad is home of three major towns namely Sulthan Bathery, Mananthavady and Kalpetta. It is also home to many indigenous tribal communities. Some of the major tourist attractions of Wayanad are Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves, Karapuzha Dam, Paddy fields, Chembra Peaks, etc.

Wayanad is known for its rich soil and predictable climate. Horticulture is practised on a large scale here. Natives of Wayanad rely on agriculture for their subsistence. A major portion of areas in this district is utilized for agricultural purposes. Some of the important crops grown in this area are vanilla, tea, cocoa, pepper, coffee, ginger, rice, plantain, cardamom, etc.

The unique lure of the hill station in the rainy season is the ‘Neelakurinji’ flowers which bloom only once in 12 years. When in Wayanad, enjoy your time exploring the pre-historic Edakkal Caves, take a jeep safari to spot the magnificent and very famous elephants of Kerala, scale the cascading waterfalls, trek through the forest area and experience a resort holiday with a padding field keeping you company with your morning coffee.

Also, don't miss out on the 3-day monsoon tourism festival here which is unlike any other in India.

Wayanad offers other unique experiences as well, through which you can connect with its indigenous people, and their rich culture and heritage. Wayanad is home to tribal communities that have lived in the forests for centuries.

They follow their own traditional way of life, are unaffected with modern technologies and keep alive their ancient culture, which includes remarkable art and paintings and ceremonies. These people are firmly rooted in their past, and we can learn a thing or two from them.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of tribal tourism in Kerala, and let your itinerary includes a visit to the tribal villages in Wayanad. The journey will show you how these people live, in complete harmony with nature. It can be one of the most enriching experiences of your visit, to Kerala, in India.

farm stay in wayanad

Here are the different types of plantation stays in Wayanad:

1. Spice Plantation Stay

You must have noticed different spices like pepper, cinnamon, etc stored in the tin boxes by your mother. Did you ever wonder how these spices found their way into the kitchen? Well, thanks to Kerala. Kerala is known as the spice garden of India. Spice plantation is a common phenomenon in the state of Kerala. You can find both rich and modest-income households having a kitchen full of different spices.

Do you like experimenting with your food? If yes, black pepper is the spice you would add to your food to give it the much-needed taste. Not so surprisingly, black pepper is grown in Kerala amongst other spices. It is also referred to as black gold. No wonder it’s used sparingly in the dishes prepared in the kitchen.

It’s a known fact that Europeans came flocking to India in groups to trade in different spices. Black gold is one spice known to lure them to India.

2. Rice Plantation Stay

Not long ago, Wayanad was home to more than hundreds of varieties of rice. Today, you can find around 50 varieties of paddies in Wayanad. Matta rice has been grown in Kerala for hundreds of years, historically popular for it's unique taste. Red rice is used in many traditional Kerala dishes, like appams and idli, and is also a staple grain.

Most of the tribal communities, living in Wayanad, treat farming akin to a festival. They do not deem it an economic activity like us. If you wish to partake in this celebration and enjoy the rich culture of farming and harvesting, you should visit Wayanad in the months of harvesting. You will cherish this enriching experience, years down the line.

3. Coffee Plantation Stay

Coffee is grown simultaneously with fruits. This is so because the fruit trees provide shade to the coffee plants, they act as a canopy, they shelter the coffee plants from all kinds of turbulence in the atmosphere. Apart from that, in the areas covered with sloping terrains, fruit trees prevent soil erosion and prevent the plants from collapsing.

Coffee plants are harvested around November to January. If you take a walk through the farm of coffee plantation, you will spot coffee berries. These berries are green in colour and small in size. If you think these berries taste anything like coffee that we drink, you are misleading yourself. Pop one berry in your mouth and you will realize they taste nothing close to a coffee.

They are bitter. Wondering what gives it the taste of coffee that we are mad after? Well, these coffee berries taste like the ‘regular coffee’ after being through a roasting process.

4. Camping in Tea Plantations

Even though people think that Wayanad is all about coffee and spice plantations, only a handful of them know that it is also one of the most favourable places for tea plantations. This culture of growing tea is Wayanad is almost a hundred years old.

A bunch of Englishmen came to Wayanad looking for gold. They dug here and there but left with disappointed face. But before leaving they gave a personalized touch to the breakfast table. They passed on their habit of sipping tea. Since then, this habit of growing tea has gone down to many generations.

It continues even today despite not being as famous as growing crops or spices. Some of the areas in Wayanad known for tea plantations are Vythiri, Thondernad, Pozhuthana, Tavinjal, Mananthavady, Muppainad and Meppadi.

The district of Wayanad is not only known for growing tea. Instead, it is also famous for manufacturing and transportation of tea across different cities of Kerala and states of India. Even though done on a small scale, tea plantation in Wayanad is just as important for its economy as coffee and spice plantation.

Booking your stay with one of the best luxury tea plantation resorts in Wayanad would help you enjoy the various activities such as a plantation walk, cycling through the plantation, tasting the tea and spices, etc.

If you have always wondered about different ingredients such as tea, coffee and spices that find their place into your kitchen, you should plan a trip to Wayanad. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one going on this journey in the history of Wayanad. A vast majority of tourists find their way to Wayanad to walk through the tea, coffee and spice plantations.

You will learn about the different soils in which they are grown, different methods of harvesting them, etc. You must have learnt about these plantations in your school books. It’s time you learn something by experience. So, what’s spotting you? Book your tickets for Wayanad and get ready to process some information. Good luck!

Tribal villages in Wayanad

Kalpetta, Nallarachal and Kuruva Island are three distinct tribal hamlets in Kerala. It is best to have a base station in Wayanad, to which you can return each night, after visiting the tourist places in Wayanad. The tribal villages are within a short distance from the resort, albeit in different directions.

The resort offers a comfortable stay and provides modern amenities. You can also enjoy traditional Ayurveda therapies, in their inhouse Ayurveda Spa.

Kalpetta or Karapuzha is located not far from the Karapuzha dam. It is nature at its best, calm, serene and clean. The tribal dwellings are in the midst of the forest. People live in small, rustic looking houses, with the barest amenities. A few families, within the tribe, keep cows and goats, for milk, but everyone gathers food from the forest.

However, they do a bit of farming as well, growing their own essential crops. Humanmade wells are their source of water. And they speak a language different from Malayalam, the language spoken in the whole of Kerala.

Nellarachal is bound by water on three sides and resembles a peninsula. The place is home to the Kurichiya tribe, a warrior clan, famous for its guerrilla warfare tactics. They are expert archers and have scripted their names in the annals of history, for standing in support of Pazhassi Raja and fighting against the British forces, during the colonial era.

Their mastery of archery can be witnessed at specially organised shows. The tribesmen also make beautiful percussion instruments and other handicrafts, which are sold in exclusive stores here.

Kuruva Islands or Kuruvadweep is a collection of islands on the Kabini river. Though the tourism department allows many activities to be carried out on Kuruva Islands, to promote tourism, it remains a protected area and is primarily a tribal belt.

Tribal Settlements in Wayanad

There are several tribal settlements in Wayanad, and the following are the most prominent among them –

Kurichya Community: Basically, an agricultural community, the Kurichya tribe is amongst the oldest indigenous people of Kerala. They continue to practice farming and grow their own organic produce. This tribe lives harmoniously, with extended members of the family. Every member of the clan jointly owns every possession.

They are matrilineal, but the affairs of the group are managed by a tribal chief, addressed as ‘Pittan’. They marry within cousins and live in a monogamous relationship. They are meticulous people – follow clean habits, eat clean and maintain clean homes. They are also stringent with their rules, and easily exclude members who break from the traditions

Kuruma Community: The Kuruma tribe has a lineage that dates back to ancient times. Their ancestry goes back to the Vedar dynasty which once ruled the region.

The Kurumas are forest dwellers and depend on the natural resources in the forest, for their everyday living and survival. They are divided into three sects, based on their occupation. The Urali Kuruma/Betty Kuruma are woodcutters and excellent artisans. They are also into fishing.

The Mullu Kuruma forage the forest for bamboo, and then there are others in the tribe that comb the forests for honey. However, now, most Kurumas raise cattle, engage in agriculture and work as farmhands. They marry within the tribe and continue to hold on to their traditions

Paniya Community: This tribal community is spread across parts of Kerala, and have the largest population among all the tribes. In the past the people of this tribe were traded as farmhands, to work in the plantations, owned by the rich landlords. Interestingly, the higher caste landlords also engaged their services to steal coffee beans growing in other plantations in Wayanad.

They are monogamous and do not have the practice of child marriage, and widow remarriage is encouraged. They revere the Banyan tree and a local deity called ‘Kali’

Adiya Community: Much like the Paniyas, the Adiya tribe or the Ravulayar tribe was also exploited, and sold as slaves, to work in the farms and plantations of wealthy landowners. The Adiyas live in nuclear families, with the man of the house, heading his respective family. They have a rather modern outlook, they allow widow remarriage and divorce, and polygamy is not looked down upon.

The groom always pays a dowry to the bride’s family. They are forgiving and do not ostracise community members for offences.

tribal tourism in Wayanad

Tribal Arts in Kerala

The tribal community of Wayanad has a rich tradition of arts and crafts, music and dance and martial arts. State-managed tribal museums are the best places in Kerala for viewing the extraordinary craftsmanship of these indigenous people. The tribal people are inspired by nature and use locally grown materials for creating beautiful murals, musical instruments, jewellery and other artefacts, made from wood and bamboo.

You can watch them at work and also purchase goods made by them.
Kalyan Panja