Wayanad Churam - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
About Wayanad Churam
Wayanad Churam (Wayanad Ghat Pass), popularly known as Thamarassery Churam connects Kozhikode and Wayanad districts of Kerala State in Southern India through national highway 212. The pass begins from Adivaram at the bottom of Kozhikode District and ends at Lakkidi at the top of Wayanad District. Wayanad Churam is located 800 meters above sea level and has a length of 18 kilometres.
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There are 9 hairpin bends in Wayanad Churam, numbered from 1 to 9 starting at Adivaram. Each bend takes one to a higher altitude offering a better view of the picturesque valleys and plains below. After the 9th hairpin on top, there is a viewpoint called Lakkidi Viewpoint that offers a beautiful view of the Western Ghat Mountains and the zig-zagging roads through which the vehicles come up the hills. Lakkidi, located right after the viewpoint is a small town where the pass ends and Wayanad District starts.
The drive through Wayanad Churam is a spine-chilling experience. The road has extreme bends and every bend has steep drops. The surrounding area of the road is under thick forest. The entire length of the pass is about 12 km, there will be plenty of monkeys throughout the stretch. Although they are harmless, the monkeys won't miss an opportunity to snatch food items from the visitors.
The road will be covered in mist, especially in the monsoon season (June to October). The mist could unexpectedly start to come down from the hills and cover the area quickly for minutes or sometimes for hours. At times the mists will be so thick that vehicles would have to stop on the road shoulders if they are not equipped with fog lights. It is very dangerous to drive on the sharp bends during heavy fog, although it makes the entire pass extremely beautiful. The fog is unpredictable and there are more chances to see it in the mornings and evenings.
History of Wayanad Churam
Near the end of the Wayanad Churam is a Ficus tree with a massive steel chain hanging on it. Called the Chain Tree, it has a story to tell from the colonial eras.
The story of the tree begins in Colonial Era when Wayanad was not connected by roads. Due to the heavy rainfall, the area receives, Wayanad was blessed with lots of thick rainforest and only the native tribal people were aware of the trails through the forests. To get the area connected by road, British Viceroy in the 18th century announced a reward for anyone who finds a path from Thamarassery in Kozhikode district to Wayanad.
Karinthandan was a local chieftain of Paniyas (tribal community) in the Adivaram Region with knowledge of every nook and corner of the hillocks in the region. A British engineer took the help of Karinthandan to explore the paths in the dense forest and with his help found the route to Wayanad. Once the route was found, the engineer took Karinthandan to a mountain and shot him dead so that the credit of the route's discovery will remain with the engineer.
The British later developed roads through the forest trail and started exploiting the resources in Wayanad. But the road was never kind to the travellers. Many were killed in accidents and there were frequent attacks from the wild animals as well. Finally, a priest was called to study the cause of the problems and he indicated the presence of Karinthandan’s ghost in the area which is causing all the disturbances. After a lot of rituals, the priest managed to chain the ghost to a Ficus tree which is now known as the ‘Chain Tree of Wayanad’.
With time the tree grows and it is said that the chain bound to the tree grows along with it. A small temple named ‘Changala Muneeswaran Kovil’ sits adjacent to the tree and the deity in the temple is none other than Karinthandan, the tribal chieftain who was killed by the British Engineer.
Best Time to Visit Wayanad Churam
The best time to visit Wayanad Churam will be either in the morning or evening so that there are more chances to view it covered in mist. Months from June to December are months where good amounts of fog can be seen.
Tips for Visiting Wayanad Churam
- Be extremely careful with driving. The sharp hairpin bends can cause accidents.
- If any accidents happen at Wayanad Churam, you will probably be stuck for some hours as there are no connecting roads between the entry and exit of the pass.
- Beware of monkeys grabbing your stuff. Keep your valuables safe.
- Make sure your vehicle's fog lamps are working. There will be visibility issues that may create accidents if the pass is covered in fog.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Wayanad Churam
- The British used to transport spices from Wayanad to Beypore Port through Wayanad Churam.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Wayanad Churam
It takes roughly thirty minutes to drive through Wayanad Churam and maybe an hour more if you stop by to enjoy the view and have some snacks or tea from the small shops that are situated on the roadsides.
How to Reach Wayanad Churam
Wayanad Churam is located on national highway 212. One will pass through it while heading to Wayanad from the Kozhikode side or vice versa. There are plenty of buses from both directions that go through the pass. The nearest railway station is in Kozhikode.
Entrance Fee of Wayanad Churam
There is no entrance fee for Wayanad Churam.
Opening Hours of Wayanad Churam
Wayanad Churam never closes as it is the main road connecting Wayanad and Kozhikode. There can be restrictions on travel based on the weather conditions in the local area though.
Attractions Near Wayanad Churam
4.36km from Wayanad Churam
The fresh water lake in Wayanad, shaped like the map of India.
4.75km from Wayanad Churam
Thusharagiri Waterfalls, located 50 km from Kozhikode City of Kerala State in Southern India is a set of five waterfalls cascading down from the mountains of the Western Ghats. The falls are located on the river Chalipuzha and they together are called Thusharagiri Waterfalls.
7.14km from Wayanad Churam
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in the Wayanad district of Kerala State in Southern India. Situated at 2,100 meters above sea level, the peak is a part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats and it adjoins Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala Hills in Kozhikode district.
Arippara Water Falls
7.68km from Wayanad Churam
Crevice filled, rocky floored waterfall where you can sit and shower underneath.
14.24km from Wayanad Churam
The 30 meters high, two tiered waterfall sandwiched between tea plantations.