The seven mountains encircling the hill district of Wayanad, 70km inland from Kozhikode, enfold some of the most dramatic scenery in all of south India. With landscapes varying from semitropical savanna to misty tea and coffee plantations, and steep slopes that rise through dense forest to distinctive, angular summits of exposed grassland, the region ranges over altitudes of between 750m and 2100m. Even at the base of the plateau, scattered with typically ramshackle Indian hill bazaars, it’s cooler than down on the plains.

The main Mysuru–Kozhikode highway, NH-17, slices through Wayanad. Since the late 1990s, it has been the source of new income in the form of overstressed dot-com executives and their families from Bengaluru and Delhi, with numerous high-end resorts, eco-hideaways and plantation stays springing up to service the screen-weary. Even if you can’t afford to stay in one of these bijou retreats, however, there are plenty of reasons to venture up here. Abutting the Tamil Nadu and Karnatakan borders, the twin reserves of Muthanga in the southeast, and Tholpetty in the north, collectively comprise the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary – part of the world-famous Nilgiri Biosphere and one of the best places in India to spot wild elephant.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 2 minute guide to India

Video: a 2 minute guide to India

India has been captivating travellers for centuries – and it continues to enchant to this day. It's a country that has it all: rainforest, desert, pretty beac…

20 Jul 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Modernity is seeping into Old Delhi, a walled district that has long harboured the Indian capital’s traditional ways of life. But what does this mean for long…

13 Jun 2017 • Jack Palfrey local_activity Special feature
Video: the essence of India

Video: the essence of India

When Paris-based production company Bed & Breakfast reached out to us with a video that so perfectly captured the essence of India in all but a minute, we c…

04 May 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month