Wayanad district

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Wayanad district
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Etymology: Vayal Nadu: land of paddy fields[1]
Motto(s): 
"Way Beyond"[2]
Wayanad district
Location in Kerala
Coordinates: 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605°N 76.083°E / 11.605; 76.083Coordinates: 11°36′18″N 76°04′59″E / 11.605°N 76.083°E / 11.605; 76.083
Country India
StateKerala
District Formation1980 November 1; 40 years ago (1-11-1980)
HeadquartersKalpetta
Government
 • Member of parliament (India)Rahul Gandhi
 • District CollectorAdeela Abdulla IAS
 • District Panchayat PresidentShamshad Marakkar
 • District MLAsSultan Bathery: I.C. Balakrishnan
Kalpetta: T. Siddique
Mananthavady: O.R. Kelu
Area
 • Total2,132 km2 (823 sq mi)
Highest elevation2,339 m (7,674 ft)
Lowest elevation
700 m (2,300 ft)
Population
 (2018)[3]
 • Total846,637
 • Density397/km2 (1,030/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
STD Code4936, 4935
ISO 3166 codeIN-KL
Vehicle registrationKL-12 Kalpetta,
KL-72 Mananthavady,
KL-73 Sultan Bathery
HDI (2005)Increase 0.753[4] ( High)
Websitewayanad.gov.in

Wayanad is an Indian district in the north-east of Kerala state with administrative headquarters at the municipality of Kalpetta. It is the sole Plateau in Kerala.[6] The Wayanad Plateau forms a continuation of Mysore Plateau, which is the southern portion of Deccan Plateau. It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 meters.[7] Vavul Mala, a 2,339 m high peak situated on the trijunction of Wayanad, Malappuram, and Kozhikode districts, is the highest point in Wayanad district. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. About 885.92 sq.km of area of the district is under forest.[8] Wayanad has three municipal townsKalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery. There are many indigenous tribals in this area.[9][10] The Kabini River, which is a tributary of Kaveri River, originates at Wayanad. Wayanad district, along with the Chaliyar valley in neighbouring Nilambur region (Eastern Eranad region) in Malappuram district, is known for natural Gold fields,[11] which is also seen in other parts of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Chaliyar river, which is the fourth longest river of Kerala, originates in Wayanad plateau. The historically important Edakkal Caves are located in Wayanad district.

Wayanad district is bordered by Karnataka to north and north-east, Tamil Nadu to the south-east, Malappuram to south, Kozhikode to the south-west and Kannur to the north-west.[12] Pulpally in Wayanad boasts of the only Lava- Kusha temple in Kerala and Vythiri has the only mirror temple in Kerala which is a Jain temple. Varambetta mosque is the oldest Muslim mosque of Wayanad. People of Wayanad live in absolute harmony with each other. Wayanad is famous for the unparalleled freedom fight against the British and martyrdom of Pazhasshi Raja with the help of the Kurichya sect of the tribal community in association with Hindus and Muslims of Kerala. Kaniyambetta and Muttil Panchayaths are the centrally located Panchayaths having the best access from all corners of Wayanad when Tavinjal Panchayath is on the northeast border with Kannur district. The edicts and caves of Ambukuthi Mala and another evidence state that the place is as old as the beginning of the New Age Civilisation.[13]

In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts out of a total of 640, along with Palakkad district.[14] It is the least urbanised district in Kerala, with only 3.9% urbanisation rate, compared to the state average of 47.2℅.[14][15] Wayanad is also one among the two districts in Kerala, whose literacy rate is still below 90%, at the time of 2011 Census of India, along with Palakkad.[16]

Etymology[edit]

The name 'Wayanad' is derived from 'Vayal Naadu' (Malayalam) which translates to 'the land of paddy fields' in English.[8]

Formation[edit]

Topography of Wayanad on Mysore Plateau

Wayanad district lies in Bayalu Seeme region (highland) of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Geographically it is similiar to the neighbouring districts of Kodagu and Mysore of Karnataka, and Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu. Wayanad plateau forms a continuation of the Mysore Plateau.[17]

During British Raj, Wayanad was a Taluk in the erstwhile Malabar District.[18] The regions included in the Taluks of Gudalur and Pandalur in present-day Nilgiris district, which is also known as Southeast Wayanad, also formed part of the erstwhile Wayanad Taluk.[19] Southeast Wayanad was a part of Malabar District until 31 March 1877, when it was transferred to the neighbouring Nilgiris district due to the heavy population of Malabar and the small area of Nilgiris.[19] Wayanad was a separate Revenue Division within the Malabar District until 1924.[20]

During the States Reorgansiation of 1956 after the independence of India, the Mysore state (present-day Karnataka) claimed for Wayanad due to its historical and geographical peculiarities. However on the linguistic survey of 1951 Census of India, it was found that 87.5% of the total population of Wayanad were native speakers of Malayalam at that time, while Kannada was confined to just 6.2% of the total population.[21]

On 1 January 1957, the erstwhile Malabar District was divided into three: Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad.[22] On the same day Wayanad Taluk was split up into North Wayanad and South Wayanad.[23] Initially both of the Taluks of Wayanad were included in newly formed Kannur district.[23] However after two months on 15 March 1957, South Wayanad Taluk was transferred into Kozhikode district.[22] The North Wayanad Taluk was transferred to Kozhikode district on 1 January 1979.[24]

Wayanad district was formed by incorporating the Taluks of North Wayanad and South Wayanad on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district of Kerala.[25] On the same date, North Wayanad Taluk was renamed as Mananthavady, and South Wayanad was bifurcated to form the Taluks of Sultan Bathery and Vythiri.[24] Kalpetta in Vythiri Taluk became the headquarters of new district.[24]

History[edit]

see also: History of Wayanad

Veera Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Pre-history[edit]

Historians believe that the human settlements existed in these parts for at least ten centuries before Christ. Much evidence of New Stone Age civilisation can be seen in the hills throughout the present day Wayanad district. The Edakkal Caves has 6000-year-old rock engravings from the Neolithic age. The recorded history of this district is available only from the 18th century. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe.[26]

Ezhimala kingdom[edit]

In the earliest part of the recorded history of Wayanad District, Kasaragod-Kannur-Wayanad-Kozhikode Districts in the northern part of present-day Kerala were ruled by the Nannans (Mushika dynasty) who later came to be known as the Kolathiris.[27][28] Politically the area was part of the Ezhimala Kingdom with its Capital at Ezhimala in present day Kannur district. The most famous King of Ezhimala was Nannan whose Kingdom extended up to Gudalur, Nilgiris and northern parts of Coimbatore. It is said that Nannan took refuge at Wayanad hills in 5th century CE when he was lost to Cheras, just before his execution in a battle, according to the Sangam works.[17] Wayanad was a part of the Karkanad which included the eastern regions of Ezhimala kingdom (Wayanad-Gudalur areas including part of Kodagu (Coorg)).[17] Karkanad along with Poozhinadu, which contained much of the coastal belt wedged between Mangalore and Kozhikode was under Ezhimala kingdom with the headquarters at Ezhimala.

Some linguists claim that an inscription found from Edakkal Caves, Wayanad, which belongs to 3rd century CE (approximately 1,800 years old), is the oldest available inscription in Malayalam, as they contain two modern Malayalam words, Ee (This) and Pazhama (Old), those are not found even in the Oldest form of Tamil.[29]

Kolathunadu[edit]

The Mooshaka Kings were considered descendants of Nannan. By the 14th century, Mooshaka Kingdom was known as Kolathirinad and the Rulers as Kolathiris. The Kolathunad Kingdom at the peak of its power reportedly extended from Netravati River (Mangalore) in the north[30] to Korapuzha (Kozhikode) in the south with Arabian Sea on the west and Kodagu hills on the eastern boundary, also including the isolated islands of Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea.[31]

Kingdom of Kottayam[edit]

The Kolathiri Dominion emerged into independent 10 principalities i.e., Kadathanadu (Vadakara), Randathara or Poyanad (Dharmadom), Kottayam (Thalassery), Nileshwaram, Iruvazhinadu (Panoor), Kurumbranad etc., under separate royal chieftains due to the outcome of internal dissensions.[17][32] The Nileshwaram dynasty on the northernmost part of Kolathiri dominion, were relatives to both Kolathunadu as well as Zamorin of Calicut, in the early medieval period.[33] The origin of Kottayam Royal Family (the Kottayam referred here is Kottayam-Malabar near Thalassery, not to be confused with Kottayam in Southern Kerala) is lost in obscurity. It has been stated that the Raja of Kottayam setup a semi-independent principality of his own at the expense of Kolathiris. In the 10th century AD, the region comprised erstwhile Taluks of Kottayam, Wayanad and Gudallur was called Puraikizhanad and its fuedal lord Puraikizhars. The Thirunelly Inscriptions refer to the division of Puraikizhar Family into two branches viz., Elder (Muthukur) and Younger (Elamkur) in the beginning of the 11th century. In 17th century Kottayam-Malabar was the Capital of Puraikizhanad (Puranattukara) Rajas. It was divided into three branches i.e., Eastern, Western and Southern under separate dignitaries known as Mootha, Elaya and Munnarkur Rajas. The Kottayam Rajas extended their influence up to the border of Kodagu. By the end of the 17th century, they shared the area of Thalassery Taluk with the Iruvazhinadu Nambiars and were in possession of North Wayanad and the small Village of Thamarassery which formed the Eastern portion of the present Vadakara, Quilandy and Thamarassery Taluks.[17]

Carnatic invasions into Wayanad[edit]

The Thamarassery Churam which connects Wayanad with the city of Kozhikode was laid in 18th century by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore.

In 930 AD, emperor Erayappa of Ganga Dynasty led his troops to south west of Mysore and after conquering, called it Bayalnad meaning the land of swamps. After Erayappa, his sons Rachamalla and Battunga fought each other for the new kingdom of their father's legacy. Rachamalla was killed and Battunga became the undisputed ruler of Bayalnad. In 12th century AD, Gangas were dethroned from Bayalnad by Kadamba dynasty[34] of North Canara.[35] In 1104 AD Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala invaded Bayalnad followed by Vijayanagara dynasty in 16th century. In 1610 AD, Udaiyar Raja Wadiyar of Mysore drove out Vijayanagara General and became the ruler of Bayalnad and the Nilgiris. Bayalnad is the present Wayanad.

Mysore Sultans[edit]

When Wayanad was under Hyder Ali's rule, the ghat road from Vythiri to Thamarassery was invented.[36] Then the British rulers developed this route to Carter road.[37] After Hyder Ali, his son Tipu Sultan took control over the territory.

Colonial era[edit]

An old map of Malabar District (1854). Note that the taluks Pandalur, Gudalur, and Kundah in present-day Nilgiris district were parts of Wayanad Taluk in 1854. The Taluks of Malabar were rearranged in 1860 and 1877.[38]

In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who killed himself somewhere in the interior of the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new turn in the home of this area. The British authorities opened up the plateau to the cultivation of tea and other cash crops by constructing roads across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, to Kozhikode and Thalassery. Later, they extended these new roads to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Settlers emigrated from all parts of Kerala and the fecund lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. Agriculture Cultivation started broadly after 1900 A.D onwards.

Post-Independence[edit]

When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. To fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, North Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on 1 November 1980 as one of the twelve districts of Kerala,[39] consisting of three taluks; Vythiri, Mananthavady, and Sulthan Bathery.

Tribes in Wayanad[edit]

The Wayanad have the largest tribal population in Kerala with 8 scheduled tribes including Adiyan, Paniyan, Mullukkurman, Kurichyan, Vettakkuruman, Wayanad Kadar, Kattuniakkan and Thachaanadan Mooppan. These communities have a number of symbolic oral narratives[40]

Adiyan: Adiyans are a matrilineal Tribal group, who were treated as bonded slave labourers by the landlords up to 1976. Now the majority of them are agricultural labourers and some of them are marginal agriculturalist. They spoke Adiya language as their mother tongue.[40]

Kattuniakkan: A particularly Vulnerable Tribal group of Wayanad. Jenu Kurumban and Ten Kurumban are the synonyms used for the Kattunayakan community. They spoke Kattunaikka language a dialect of Kannada and Malayalam. They are patrilineal and a forest dwelling, hunting and gathering community.This is the largest population among PVTG in Kerala with a total population of19995 (Male- 9953, Female-10042)[40]

Kurichyan: They are the second largest community among Scheduled Tribes with a total population of 35909 (Male- 18129, Female-17780)[40]

Mullukkurman: A patrilineal and patrilocal tribal agriculturalist community found in Wayanad. The community members are expert in hunting and their spoken language is Mullukkuruma language. The total population is 21375 (Male- 10625, female-10750)[40]

Paniyan: A Patrilinial slave tribe community until the 1970s Bonded labour act, distributed in Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram. They are the largest single tribal community with a population of 92787 (Male-45112, female- 47675). Their language is a dialect known as Paniya Language and nowadays they are agricultural labourers[40]

Thachaanadan Mooppan: Thachaanadan Mooppan is a matrilineal community. In earlier days they are shifting cultivators and hunters. Nowadays they earn through agricultural labour work. They are expert in carpentry and basket making. Their total population is 1649, and consists of 814 males and 835 females.[40]

Vettakkuruman: Vettakkuruman also a patrilineal tribal community. They are the artisan tribes and well versed in pottery, carpentry, blacksmithry and tools making and Basketry.[citation needed] Their language is known as Bettakkuruma language. The population of Vettakuruman is 6482 consisting of 3193 males and 3289 females.[40]

Wayanad Kadar: They are found in Kozhikkode and Wayanad district and entirely a different generic stock from Kaders of Cochin. They are matrilineal marginal tribes with a population of 673 consists of 348 males and 325 females.[40]

Geography[edit]

Wayanad scenery on NH 766 Kozhikode-Kollegal

Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and includes part of the Western Ghats. The western parts of the district bordering Kozhikode district consists of the Western Ghats covered with dense forest. The district forms a part of the south western Deccan plateau, and is sloped to the east. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent[41] environmental crisis. There are a lot of trekking points in this district. Chembra Peak (2,100m) is the highest peak in the Wayanad district. Banasura Hill (2,079m) is also similar to height of Chembra hill.

The district is blessed with rich water resources. There are east flowing and west flowing rivers in the region. One of the major rivers in the district is Kabini River, a tributary of River Kaveri; it is also one of the only three east flowing rivers in Kerala. Kabani has many tributaries including Thirunelli River, Panamaram River and Mananthavady River. All these rivulets help form a rich water resource as well as a distinct landscape for the district. Various streams flow into the Panamaram rivulet while it passes through the mountain gorges and finally the river falls down into Panamaram Valley. After flowing through the district for a certain distance, River Panamaram joins Mananthavady River, which originates from the lower regions of the peak called 'Thondarmudi'.[42]

Banasura Sagar Dam[edit]

Banasura Sagar Dam across the Karamanathodu River, a tributary of River Kabini, in Kalpetta, is considered to be the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia. The dam is ideally placed in the foothills of Banasura hills, which got its name from 'Banasura', the son of King Mahabali, the famous ruler of Kerala. The dam here was constructed on behalf of the Banasurasagar project in 1979, to support the Kakkayam Hydroelectric power project and to meet the water demand for irrigation and drinking purposes. The dam, located around 21 km away from Kalpetta is a tourist destination in Wayanad. Banasura dam is made up of massive stacks of stones and boulders.[43]

Karapuzha Dam[edit]

Karapuzha Dam is considered to be one of the biggest earth dams in India, which has been constructed on the Karapuzha River, a tributary of the Kabini River. Vazhavatta in Vythiri taluk of Wynad district for providing irrigation to an area of 5580 ha (CCA) say 5600 hectare in Vythiri and Sultan Bathery taluks of Wynad district of Kerala. The reservoir has a gross storage capacity of 76.50 M Cum and live storage capacity of 72.00 M Cum.[44]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The soil and climate of Wayanad are suitable for horticulture on commercial basis. For promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards, the Kerala Agricultural University is running a regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal.

Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wild life sanctuaries of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, stray into the Begur forest range and the forests around Muthanga, which is 20 kilometres away from the town of Sultan Bathery.

Franky's narrow-mouthed frog was recently discovered in Wayanad district.[45][46]

Economy[edit]

Parakkadavu junction, Pulpally

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural crops in the district are Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain, vanilla, rice, coconut, cardamom, tea, ginger, etc. Wayanad is known for its rice production. The two rice of the district namely Wayanad Jeerakasala rice and Wayanad Gandhakasala rice has their different properties. Another source of economy in the district is the cattle farming. The tourism sector of the district is very developed and every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from this sector helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised. In the name of industry, there is only Wayanad dairy of Milma (Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) at Kalpetta and a few small scale industries.[citation needed]

In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).[14] It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).[47]

Demographics[edit]

Religion in Wayanad (2011)[48]

  Hinduism (49.48%)
  Islam (28.65%)
  Christianity (21.34%)
  Other (0.53%)

It is the least populous district in Kerala. Unlike the other districts of Kerala, barring Idukki, in Wayanad district, there is no town or village named same as the district (i.e., there is no "Wayanad town").

According to the 2018 Statistics Report, Wayanad district had a population of 846,637,[3] roughly equal to the nation of Comoros.[49] 2011 Census of India gives district a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 397 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,030/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 4.6%. Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 89.32%, the lowest in the state.[citation needed]

Paniyas, Uraali Kurumas, and Kurichiyans comprise the tribes in Wayanad. Badagas are present in 21 hamlets spread across Wayanad.[50] The entire Wayanad region fell under the Kannada speaking area as per the linguistic survey and history of Colonel Wilks.[51]

On 22 May 2019, The Election Commission open its first warehouse in the State for the storage of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines at Sulthan Bathery.[52]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
190175,149—    
191182,549+0.94%
192184,771+0.27%
193191,769+0.80%
1941106,350+1.49%
1951169,280+4.76%
1961275,255+4.98%
1971413,850+4.16%
1981554,026+2.96%
1991672,128+1.95%
2001780,619+1.51%
2011817,420+0.46%
2018846,637+0.50%
source:[53]

Administration[edit]

Taluks of Wayanad District
Local bodies in Wayanad District

Access[edit]

The KozhikodeKollegal National Highway 766 (formarly NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. En route to Mysore on NH 212, past Wayanad district boundary, which is also the Kerala state boundary, NH 766 passes through Bandipur National Park.

Tourism[edit]

The District has more than 20 destinations. The District Tourism Promotion Council, (DTPC) of Wayanad that functions under the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala is responsible for all tourism related activities in the district.

C.K Saseendran, Kalpetta MLA

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About District Wayanad". wayanad.gov.in.
  2. ^ "ABOUT WAYANAD". wayanadtourism.org.
  3. ^ a b Annual Vital Statistics Report – 2018 (PDF). Thiruvananthapuram: Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Kerala. 2020. p. 55.
  4. ^ "Kerala | UNDP in India". UNDP.
  5. ^ Poddar, Rakesh (2007). Perspectives on tourism & biodiversity. Cyber Tech Publications. ISBN 9788178842967.
  6. ^ William Logan (1887). Malabar Manual (Volume-II). Madras Government Press.
  7. ^ "Topography, Western Ghats, Wayanad, Green Paradise, District, Kerala, India | Kerala Tourism". www.keralatourism.org. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
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  9. ^ "Kerala Tourism".
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  11. ^ "Mineral Resources in Kerala".
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  13. ^ "Interesting Facts About Wayanad". 23 December 2016.
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  16. ^ [2]
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  37. ^ Report of the Administration of Mysore 1863-64. British Parliament Library
  38. ^ M. Vijayanunni (1983). 1981 Census Handbook- Wayanad District (Part-A&B) (PDF). Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala.
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  50. ^ Hockings, Paul; Pilot-Raichoor, Christiane (1992). A Badaga-English Dictionary. Walter de Gruyter. p. 514. ISBN 9783110126778.
  51. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 9, p. 301. DSAL. p. 301.
  52. ^ Staff Reporter (21 May 2019). "Teeka Ram Meena to open EVM warehouse today". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 January 2020 – via www.thehindu.com.
  53. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". www.censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  54. ^ "Assembly Constituencies – Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 18 October 2008.

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