One of the fourteen districts in Kerala, Wayanad is situated in an elevated picturesque mountain plateau in western Ghats. It lies between north latitudes 11 deg 2628″ and 11 deg 4822″ and east longitude 75 deg 4638″ and 76 deg 2611″. This land is rich in natural wonders, history and tradition. With its vast expanse of greenery, spice scented breeze, mist clapped mountains, salubrious climate, hypnotizing scenic beauty, Wayanad stands as one of the loveliest hill stations in Kerala. It has a height of 700 meters to 2100 meters above mean sea level. The leading tourist centres of south India like Ooty, Mysore, Coorg, Kozhikode (Calicut), Kannur and Bakel are around this hill station.
Historians are of the view that organized human life existed in these parts at least ten centuries before Christ. A lot of evidence of the new stone age Civilization can be seen among the hills of Wayanad, Especially in Edakkal caves. Later the Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam dynasty and then Tippu Sulthan conquered it. The British got it from Tippu Sulthan , But Pazhassi Raja mobilized the war with Kuricha tribe and challenged the English. Fierce Guerilla war drew the English Army into the inaccessible valleys of Wayanad. But when Pazhassi smelt the defeat he killed himself and the British were the masters of Wayanad. The British opened the plateau of cultivation of tea & other cash crops and laid roads from Kozhikode (Calicut) and Thallassery to Ooty and Mysore through Wayanad. When the state of Kerala was formed in 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur District. Later south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode (Calicut) District and then November 1, 1980 North and South Wayanad joined together to form the present Wayanad District.
LAND AND PEOPLE
The District has an area of 2126 sq. km. with a population of 6,72,000 as per 1991 census.The Scheduled Tribe population comes to 17.1% of the total population. The average literacy rate is 82.73%.
The Official Language is Malayalam but English and Hindi are widely spoken and understood.
Light Summer clothing can be worn almost through out the year.
SPICES AND HANDICRAFT
Cardamom, Tea, Pepper, Coffee & Cocoa are the major spices in the district. Sughandhagiri Cardamom Project Vythiri is a major attraction.
The major tribal arts performed in the district are Vattakkali’ and Kooliyattam using thudi and Kuzhal by Panyas; Gadhika by Adiyas, Kolkali by Kurumas and Nellukuthu pattu by Kurichias.
The wildlife census which concluded at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) here on Monday is a giant step towards continuous monitoring of tiger population, predator indications and strengthening of the habitat management strategy.
V K Sreevalsan, Wayanad Wildlife Warden told ‘Express’ that “after the census a map of the ‘tiger movement areas’ would be prepared and protection measures would be intensified in the region”.”Data collection on demographic trends in wildlife is a process in progress and the data would be updated from time and again,” he pointed out.
“From the collection of scat and hair, the DNA print of each animal will be prepared and the data bank so formed would help in identifying animal in the future wherever it goes,” he claimed.
So far 8 tiger have been spotted in the sanctuary, four at Tholppetti Range and three at SulthanBathery range including cubs while the call of one animal also was recorded.
The counting team also registered the movement of another tiger, according to KG Radhakrishna Lal, Assistant Wildlife Warden, Muthanga Range. The tiger call was recorded at Chettialathoor area in the Muthanga range while the movement of tiger was registered near Muthanga, he said. The census team also registered spotting of three bears. The deer population has registered a considerable increase, it is learnt. The three-day wildlife census with focus on tiger population was started WWS from Saturday.
Apart from tigers, other carnivorous animals also have been counted. Special training was given by the experts to participants earlier. A 140-member strong team of wild life enthusiasts, Mannuthy and Pookkode veterinary college students and Forest Department personnel including temporary watchers, was divided into various groups for foolproof scanning of all forest patches. WWS was divided into 35 blocks for facilitating the census. Once the wildlife census concluded, the tourists entry point of the sanctuary would be opened at Muthanga and Tholppetti for visitors from Tuesday, said KG Radakrishna Lal, Assistant Wildlife Warden, Muthanga. In tiger population, WWS is in the second place in the state. The animal census of adjacent forest regions of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had been conducted earlier, sources said.