Things to do in and around Wayanad | Zostel Homes Edition

Packed with waterfalls, historical caves, spice plantations, and a generous variety of wildlife, Wayanad is a little piece of paradise in Kerala. Best known for its wildlife reserves and the Nilgiri Mountain Range of the Western Ghats, the terrain here is known to hide within itself secret trails and treks that are enough to tickle any adventurer. Brace yourselves to witness some of the wildest landscapes brimming with greenery and wild creatures, thriving with a local culture that takes you back in time.

And now, we have come up with a quaint and soothing homestay in the remote village of Wayanad. Our first ever Zostel Home in South India, it is located in the village of Thirunelly, covered in tangled rainforests and the wilderness it brings. We like to call it a Wilderness Escape. You can check out Zostel Home Wayanad here.

As you plan your uber-green, refreshing, and adventurous holiday, this travel guide for Wayanad is likely to usher you towards a memorable stay full of authentic cultural experiences.

Where is Thirunelly?

A village with an old-world charm close to the Karnataka border, Thirunelli is serene, quaint, and green. Surrounded by a moist deciduous forest, the town is known for the holy Thirunelli temple that believers from across South India visit.

Thirunelly, Wayanad, Kerala
Picture by Justin Paul

Location- Wayanad District, Kerala

Perched high on the Western Ghats of Kerala, the Wayanad district is mostly covered in forests. Brimming with unimaginable greenery and wilderness, Wayanad is also home to eight local tribes, making it rich in culture alongside natural beauty. The remains of the Neolithic age, ancient caves, and a traditional lifestyle all add to the wonders of this verdant land.

Things to do in Thirunelly

Brahmagiri Trek

(500 m)

The most popular trek in the Wayanad region, the Brahmagiri trek is 14 km long (two way) and usually lasts for five to six hours. The Brahmagiri hill stands at the height of 1608 m, right on the border of Kodagu (Karnataka) and Wayanadu (Kerala). Its hiking trail features a lush green, moist forest with occasional glimpses of the wilderness (elephants, porcupines, birds). From atop the hill, you can see villages of both States submerged in a thick blanket of green.

Brahmagiri Trek in Wayanad, Kerala
Picture by Ashwin

Thirunelli Temple

(800 m)

A shrine believed to be thousands of years old, the Thirunelli Temple is the only temple in the world where worshippers can perform all kinds of rituals on a daily basis, starting from birth to death and even life after death. It is situated at the foothill with a stream called Papanasini flowing down from the peak. Its waters are said to dissolve sins and serve as the place of worship for one’s forefathers.

Thirunelli Temple in Wayanad, Kerala
Picture by Justin Paul

Tholpetty and Nagarhole Safari

(17 and 23 km)

Included in the few remaining protected habitats for endangered wild animal species like the tiger and the elephant, the Nagarhole National Park is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Tholpetty, on the other hand, is a Wildlife Sanctuary with only the outer tourist area permitted for visits. On both safaris, one can spot elephants, guars, tigers, leopards, deers, along with many species of reptiles and birds.

Safari in the jungles of Wayanad, Kerala
Picture by Ashwin

Bamboo Rafting in Kuruva Dweep

(20 km)

The river Kabini is home to many islets, together called the Kuruva Dweep. Here, one can take a boat ride in handmade, locally prepared bamboo rafts. You’ll spot two freshwater lakes and many species of birds such as the hornbill, parrot, and butterfly species on the ride. The area also holds potential hiking trails, a perfect fit for the explorer in you.

Iruppu Falls

(29 km)

Located in the Brahmagiri Hills range near Kutta, these falls mark the beginning of a Cauvery tributary. They are reached by a thoroughly scenic drive, followed by a light 15-minute hike to the falls base, where one can take dips.

Thirunelly, Wayanad, Kerala
Picture by Justin Paul

White water rafting, Kutta

(31 km)

Close to the Iruppu Falls, one can indulge in the adventure of river rafting, an activity that is functional between May and October. Here, you can also enjoy swimming, river crossing, loop walk, and quake walk.

Hosted by the Sebastians

Zostel Home Wayanad is owned and operated by Rahul Sebastian and his parents, who call Kerala their home. Rahul is an alumnus of NIT Calicut and runs an ed-tech startup in Saudi Arabia. His father is a journalist and author and his mother is a former educator.

In their company, you can expect local stories in bounty, along with a fine spread of traditional Kerala meals.

Wayanad Kerala banana leaf meal
Picture by Justin Paul

How to Reach Zostel Home Wayanad in Thirunelly

By Bus: Take a bus to Mananthavady. From here, buses run to Thirunelly between 6 AM & 7 PM. From the Thirunelly bus stand, Zostel Home Wayanad is at a distance of 450 m. While walking, you can use the KTDC/Agraharam Resort as a landmark. (Regular buses run to Mananthavady from Mysore, Kannur, and Calicut.)

By Air: The closest airports are Kannur (91 km) and Calicut (135 km). You can complete the onward journey to Thirunelly in a taxi, which costs around INR 3000-3300 from Kannur and INR 3500-3800 from Kozhikode (Calicut).

By Train: The nearest railway stations are Kannur (115 km), Calicut (120 km), and Mysore (120 km). Buses to Mananthavady are available from all three stations.

For further detailed directions, please call the property before your arrival.

Waynad, Kerala
Picture by Justin Paul

About Zostel Home Wayanad

A traditional cottage nestled in a hilly forest area, Zostel Home Wayanad is your quaint hideaway in Kerala’s wilderness. It features a common room with indoor games, a bonfire area, a restaurant, and a garden for a social holiday. Outside, activities like wildlife safaris, treks, and visits to sightseeing spots will keep you engaged. While at the Home, you can look forward to relaxing in the pool adjacent to the Home, enjoying traditional delicacies, and stargazing well into the night.

Zostel Home Wayanad in Thirunelly, Kerala
Picture by Justin Paul

Know more about the offbeat experiences we provide and check out our Zostel Home here.

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Writer, Pranavi Chhikniwala.


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