The secrets of the Kudumbiyas

A brief of the unexplored hidden places in Wayanad which boasts of natural beauty, rich history and culture.

When the Kudumbiyas the earliest community to migrate to Wayanad existed they had within them many untold stories of this magical land. When modernisation happened over time and the land became known as Wayanad, some of the most beautiful destinations became “sight-seeing” spots, residential areas and estates. Some of them are still not fully disclosed to the eyes of a traveller visiting Wayanad for a short getaway.

Wayanad even today is a story not fully told where the hills, forests, wild, monuments and the early people have their share to be purely experienced. With the luxury of technology and as the world gets smaller, it has become easy to be informative on the past and present of the destination. Apart from the usual eateries and luxury resorts in Wayanad there is more to be discovered. Eventough, as the saying goes- ‘So much of who we are is where we have been’, the adventure of discovering a place is unparallel to any armchair tourism. One can have an ideal holiday in any of the resorts in Wayanad but what makes a destination special is its power to connect with the visitor. Here is a list of certain places which are still unexplored but who has an enriched tale of history, culture and beauty to tell.

Seetha Mount:

As per the local folk Ramayana, it is believed that Goddess Seetha after being abandoned spent time in the forests here in an Ashram of Valmiki. It is believed that the goddess gave birth to her sons from here. Most of the surrounding regions, mountains and rivers are named from various folk stories basing this concept. The area today is in the region of Pulpally in Wayanad and can be easily accessed from major towns, city centres and resorts in Wayanad.

The Lava-Kusha temple:

Pulpally in Kerala also has the only Lava-Kusha temple in Kerala. It is believed that goddess Sita gave birth to Lava and Kusha from here. Constructed as a temple by the Pazhashiraja, the region is called the best place to read and explain the iconic Ramayana. The temple and the nearby Ashram still exists and is popular among localites. In the month of Karkidaka (Monsoon) special rituals take place. It is also believe that when Lava and Kusha where bitten by leaches, the goddess of earth got hurt and cursed the leaches making Pulpally one of the only areas in Wayanad without leaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puthumala Kashmir:

One of the most beautiful areas in eastern Wayanad, Puthumala got its nick name “Kashmir” from its elegant hills, cold breeze, the silent river flowing by the side, lush forests surrounding it and the sprawling tea estates. The area is currently full of green tea plantations and small colonial style residences (paddy’s) of workers. It is one of the most recommended places in Wayanad to go for a Bicycle tour. Puthumala can also be an exciting drive from any of the best resorts in Wayanad.

900 Kandi:

For the off road lovers this one is definitely a ‘no to miss’. The rocky paths within the rainforests, the streams and mini waterfalls, the sight of misty hills and the feeling you get altogether make 900 kandi an unforgettable dream journey. You need a 4*4 jeep to experience the route as the bumpy road makes it impossible for regular cars to pass. The stream flowing by and the majestic western ghat hills in the backdrop once you reach the top, make you feel never want to leave. You can rent a 4*4 jeep from any resorts in Wayanad to visit the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kadachikunnu Falls:

This not very popular less touristy destination will give you thrills. The Kadachikunnu waterfalls is tucked away from major towns in a remote location where the water flows from the mountains to the adjoining river splashing itself on rocks and grass life around. The flow of water is surrounded by freshness of the evergreen forest. It is an ideal place for a family swim and the ideal time to visit is from September to February.

Neelimala:

Set in a picturesque location with a spectacular view of the Meenmutty waterfalls, Neelimala is a hillock in Wayanad that can attract both nature lovers and adventure seekers. The path to the peak is a mix of lush forests, flower beds, coffee plantations and grass lands. Neelimala is situated in Vaduvanchal close to the state border with Tamil Nadu. Mist cladded mountains, a variety of birds and the gushing milky fall of the Meenmutty waterfalls await the traveller reaching its peak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thusharagiri:

Eventhough not directly in Wayanad, this beautiful waterfall is very close to the district and deserves to be on this list.

‘Thusgaragiri’ which means snow capped mountain has 3 waterfalls namely ‘Thenpara’, ‘Eratumukku’ and ‘Mazhavil Chattam’. Two streams originating from the Western ghats meet in Thusharagiri to make the famous ‘Chalipuzha’ river. Tusharagiri is also a well recommended trekking spot with a exhilarating 8 kilometre trek. Surrounding the waterfalls are the soothing streams and green forests which adds to its beauty. The best time to visit is from July to December.

Pakshipathalam:

Pakshipathalam’ is a bird sanctuary and a trekking spot. One of the most frequented locations by birds in the state ‘Pakshipathalam’ is an abode for bird spotters and trekkers offering stunning views in a naturally enriched environment. The trek passes through caves and grasslands where you can spot en number of birdlife. A portion of the hill is in Karnataka and is known as the ‘Brahmagiri hills’ from which the popular ‘Papanashini’ river flows to irrigate the area. The destination is one of the top recommends of most of the best resorts in Wayanad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are only some of the hidden gems or ‘not very touristy’ places in Wayanad which can be accessed from any Wayanad resorts or places of stay. The list can go on but it is upto the traveller to discover and feel the place.

Why is Wayanad famous for?

Wayanad the magical land of forests, plantations, beauty and life has many on its list to offer. The ideal destination for families, couples, backpackers, solo travellers Wayanad has got everything for everyone.

Places to visit in Wayanad include Edakkal caves, Kaanthanpara waterfalls, Banasura sagar dam, Chembra peak, Lakkidi view point, Pakshipaatalam, Kuruva island etc which are some of the spectacular “not to miss” in the long list.

Apart from the tourist places in Wayanad the people, nature, culture and history also plays an important role. Geographically Wayanad has the advantage of sharing 2 borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The pepper in Wayanad was once world famous and was massively exported. The forests in Wayanad are home to en number of flora and fauna. The forests are also home for many endangered animals. The climate in Wayanad is also a unique factor as the cool breeze in summers, the pleasantness in winters and the rains at monsoon set the backdrop for a ideal getaway.

Wayanad is home to many indigenous tribes like the Paniyas, Kurumas, Naaykars, Moopans etc who still stay loyal to their traditional culture and livelihood. Conveniently located from cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Calicut, Kannur etc a planned family vacation in Wayanad will create a memorable experience for your loved ones.  Wayanad being spread across an entire region can offer diversity in its atmosphere.

Be it the enchanting waterfalls, wild treks, adventure activities, historical sites, spiritual journeys and the exploring the wild, the choice of accommodation in Wayanad can range from different types of resorts in Wayanad, hotels in Wayanad and experiences in Wayanad. Also a favourite among honeymooners, there can be many choices for one’s dream honeymoon in Wayanad. With the help of technology one can choose to have an ideal holiday in one of the best resorts in Wayanad. The best resorts in Wayanad are the ones that give you a taste of the local experiences. There can also be adequate choices from luxury resorts in Wayanad to budgeted properties.

Picturesquely located in the Western ghat mountain ranges within the Nilgiri biosphere, Wayanad is truly a getaway from the hustle of the city. A carefully planned itinerary and the right choice from the elaborate list of resorts in Wayanad can make ones vacation truly memorable.

An elaborate description on Wayanad, its culture, tourist interests and the best resorts in Wayanad are detailed in the other blogs. For more information contact us at www.aftertherains.in

Wayanad itinerary for 3 days

 

Day 1

On arrival you are warmly welcomed by the crew

After the check-in procedures, resort orientation and a taste of our in-house welcome drink, you are escorted to your designated villa

Lunch can be arranged which is a mix of regional delicacies from farm to table and is lavishly served to satiate your appetite

After a mid-day rest you can choose to have a plantation walk discovering the rich flora, fauna and agro diversity of the area where our personal guide entertains you with local stories and lore

Local tea with a choice of snacks from our menu awaits you on your return.

The day can be ended with a perfect dinner where our chefs play a fusion of pan Indian and local cuisine.

 

Day 2

The morning breakfast is a semi casual yet highly nourishing affair with a fine balance of regional and international flavors

Discover the locality with the “Ente Uru” programme which is a tailor-made village walk where you discover the local life and labor of the area. The experience gets more interesting when you discover the biodiversity, tribal settlements, tea plantations and hidden viewpoints

Post lunch, it should be ideal for you to take a dip in our pool

Fishing can be arranged in our freshwater pond and is a highly entertaining activity for kids. Hook a bait to catch some game. You can choose to practice responsible fishing by letting it go or our chefs will be happy to prepare your catch on the way you like it

Refresh yourself with our special chai’s and ‘bites’ of the day

Dinner served has romance infused in it with its careful selection of starters, soups and desserts. Please be alerted for pleasant surprises from our side

 

Day 3

After breakfast, you can choose to be a farmer for a day with Paul with our “a day with Paul” programme and be a part of our plantation

Post lunch, pottery classes can be arranged on availability where the art of moulding mud can be experienced firsthand. One can also take a bicycle tour in the surrounding villages where the resort can help you with various trails

Exploring Wayanad can also be fun and our team would be delighted to assist you

Evening can be entertaining with a campfire arranged with sounds of nature complementing it, post which dinner can be served

 

Day 4

Depart with pleasant memories

Places to visit in Wayanad for 3 days

Wayanad has got everything for everyone. Be it the forests, tea estates, museums, heritage sites, waterfalls or any other. Diversity within is what makes Wayanad special. One has to be informed that while covering these destinations, it is always recommended to visit them in order as a specific route will have different attractions and transferring from one attraction to another which is in a different route can become tiresome. Travellers are also recommended to check with the local authority on the functioning of all the attractions on the day of travel.

A detailed three day itinerary with selected places of interest and its highlights are given below.

Day 1

Kuruva island

Located 50 kms from After the rains resort, in the middle of the Kabini forest Kuruva is a group of small islands with thick belt of rich flaura and fauna. Truly a natures blessing where one can spot many rare trees, medicinal plants, wild flowers and birds. The only way to access the island is by rafting in a bamboo raft through the kabini river. Ideal for nature lovers, Kuruva island takes you on a magical escape to a different world.

Pakshi pathalam

‘Pakshipathalam’ is a bird sanctuary and a trekking spot. One of the most frequented locations by birds in the state ‘Pakshipathalam’ is an abode for bird spotters and trekkers offering stunning views in a naturally enriched environment. The trek passes through caves and grasslands where you can spot en number of birdlife. A portion of the hill is in Karnataka and is known as the ‘Brahmagiri hills’ from which the popular ‘Papanashini’ river flows to irrigate the area.

Uravu

Visit Uravu, a non- profit organisation which concentrates on the development and sale of Bamboo products. What makes Uravu special is its variety of quality products, the grass root impact it has on rural development and its commitment for sustainability. Uravu offers a wide variety of crafted products and one can also see how it is processed in the premises.

Day 2

Visit India’s biggest earth dam

Explore Banasura Sagar dam, the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia, that impounds the waters of the Karamanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini river. The reservoir formed by the dam is dotted with tiny islands enveloped in thick foliage offers magnificent views. One can also enjoy boating and adventurous activities in the area.

Explore Wayanad tea museum

Proceed to the Tea museum, one of its kind in Wayanad where one can connect and get to know the history and tradition of the tea industry in the area. Among the exhibits are the old machinery used, photographs of the past and further insights of the culture of tea processing. Further one can enjoy tea tasting from the “Tea Bar” displaying fine collection of teas.

Pookode Lake

One of the most popular tourist spots in Wayanad, this fresh water lake offers boating, child friendly activities, walking spaces and soft experiences. The rich biodiversity and flora of the area is a refreshing site altogether and is a comfortable getaway for all kinds of tourists.

Sunset from the Lakkidi view point

End your day with the perfect sunset from Lakkidi viewpoint where breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains can be viewed. Best visited around 5:30pm, Lakkidi view point also has ample sources for recreation and refreshment.

Day 3

Soochipara waterfalls

Located at a distance of 20km from us, Soochipara water falls is a three-tiered waterfall surrounded by tropical forests. The best season to visit Soochipara is from the month of August – January. One has to trek a distance of 2km from the car parking to reach the waterfalls and the small water body at the foot of the falls is ideal for a short swim. It is one of the famous tourist destinations in Wayanad.

Chembra peak

A perfect choice for trekking in Wayanad that will take you to the highest peak of Wayanad hills, Chembra peak is situated at a distance of 15 km from After the Rains resort in Wayanad. Guides and trekking equipment are available on hire. The iconic heart shaped lake is the main attraction of the Chembra peak. A view of whole of Wayanad is visible from the peak and the 3 hour trek to the top make Chembra a must try in an adventurist’s list.

Explore Edakkal Caves

Being the only place in India with stone age, carving from 6000 BC, a trip to Edakkal caves is one of  its kind. It is located at a distance of 23kms from the resort and the trek to the caves from the car park takes approximately 45 min. it is believed that the 8000 year old carvings on the stones represent the Indus valley civilization and represent various carvings of man, animal and livelihood. Kindly note that the caves are closed on all Mondays for maintenance.

Places to visit in Wayanad in 2 days

Coming with a lot of surprises for everyone with her evergreen beauty, Wayanad is a story that urges you to discover more every time you explore it. Be it Forests, history, culture, food and adventure, Wayanad has got all for you. Kindly note Wayanad is a district where the entire tourist destinations are spread throughout its area, and, one would need proper planning and understanding of destinations in Wayanad to have a smooth sightseeing trip. The below is the list of tourist attractions which has a fine balance of culture, history, nature and adventure that one can enjoy which are comfortably distanced from After the Rains resort.

Day 1 

Cruising Kanthanpara Waterfalls

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a distance of 5 km from After the Rains resort ,the Kanthanpara water falls is scenic and naturally blessed with a surrounding of evergreen forests. An ideal tourist place in Wayanad for a picnic during summers, it   is safe to take a swim in the pool formed under the falls. The 30 meter waterfall is accessible by a very short trek from the car park.

 

Explore Edakkal Caves

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being the only place in India with stone age carving from 6000 BC, a trip to Edakkal caves is one of  its kind. It is located at a distance of 23kms from the resort and the trek to the caves from the car park takes approximately 45 min. it is believed that the 8000 year old carvings on the stones represent the Indus valley civilization and represent various carvings of man, animal and livelihood. Kindly note that the caves are closed on all Mondays for maintenance.

Lunch can be enjoyed from many joints open around the year. A suggestion would be trying out the Bamboo biryani from Wilton Hotel in Sulthan Bathery.

Wild at Muthanga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muthanga wildlife sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri biosphere. The rich biodiversity of the surrounding deciduous forest and the lush flora and fauna found in the place makes it typically a drive into the wild. One can spot elephants, deer’s, monkeys, wild bulls and occasionally tigers from the area. Safari timings at three in the evenings.

Probably once you have finished the safari, it’s time for winding up your day. Shopping can be done from the markets of Sulthan Bathery or Ambalavayal where you get good quality spices, fragrant oils, homemade chocolates, clothes and many more.

Day 2

Visit India’s biggest earth dam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Banasura Sagar dam, the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia, that impounds the waters of the Karamanathodu, a tributary of the Kabini river. The reservoir formed by the dam is dotted with tiny islands enveloped in thick foliage ,offering  magnificent views. One can also enjoy boating and adventurous activities in the area. The dam is located at a distance of 35 kms After the Rains resort and has steady approachable roads.

Explore Wayanad tea museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceed to the Tea museum, one of its kind in Wayanad where one can connect and get to know the history and tradition of the tea industry in the area. Among the exhibits are the old machinery used, photographs of the past and further insights of the culture of tea processing. Further one can enjoy tea tasting from the “Tea Bar”, displaying fine collection of teas.

Lunch can be enjoyed from Vythiri which offers various choices to travellers. A suggestion would ne the Chicken Kondattam from the old “Harris hotel”.

Peace at Pookode Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most popular tourist spots in Wayanad, this fresh water lake offers boating, child friendly activities, walking spaces and soft experiences. The rich biodiversity and flora of the area is a refreshing site altogether and is a comfortable getaway for all kinds of tourists.

Sunset from the Lakkidi view point

 

 

 

 

 

 

End your day with the perfect sunset from Lakkidi viewpoint where breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains can be viewed. Best visited around 5:30pm, Lakkidi view point also has ample sources for recreation and refreshment.

Rice of the land

Wayanad formerly known as “Vayal naadu”( the land of paddy fields) has an age old tradition of rice cultivation . Ganthakasala or the rice of the land known for its aromatic sandal wood fragrance, soft texture, healing power, easy digestibility and moreover incredibly delicious taste is an integral part of the history and culture of Wayanad.

Massively popular for its use in desserts and “ghee rice” ( a local rice delicacy) Ganthakasala was awarded the geographical indications status in 2010. The Aromatic Wayanad rice varieties are unique as certification is under the category given to a “farming community”. The organic system of traditional rice cultivation in Wayanad is eco-friendly. This variety which has been in cultivation in Wayanad for many centuries is inherently resistant to pests and diseases owing to thin and tall stature of plants. Cultivation of Ganthakasala rice is noted in the age-old Malayalam book written on basis of old verbal recitation in Malayalam called Krishi Gita. Kanji made of Ganthakashala Rice is locally known as Food of Gods.

At After the Rains as part of our initiatives to protect and preserve, the Ganthakasala is planted in the resort every season. The season of harvest is from December to January and according to the local belief, “ thudi” (traditional drums) is beaten in rhythm at the point of harvest for a positive vibe and to celebrate the process.

Wild Spinach -Spreading nutrition through ages

Apart from being a super food with tons of nutritional value, this dark green, leafy vegetable is also a staple diet in the region. Used in salads, main courses or in soups, the taste of wild spinach is unique. What makes wild spinach different is its strong character and the  nutritional quotient it offers. A great source of protein, iron, vitamins and minerals, it is good for skin, hair and bones. Though not as sweet nor as juicy as common spinach, it offers a greener and earthier flavour.

Pepper, The black gold of Wayanad

Also known as the ‘King of spices’, an average of 500 kgs of pepper is produced annually in the plantation. The produce is used within the resort and the rest is sold in the local markets. Apart from being a spice, pepper has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It is an amazing medicine and helps in treating cough, cold, intestinal problems and even cancer. The wastage in the process of crushing pepper is used as a natural fertilizer for plants as it helps in maintaining the humidity. Known for its strong and unique character,  Wayanad pepper  was and is ,in high demand all over the world. There  is even proof of slave trade for pepper in the olden days.

The children of the land

They are the true sons of the soil.
They cleared the path to a drem land where they became slaves of sahibs and lords.
They still continue to believe and practice what is least common in  most of us – respect and belief  in nature.
They are the tribes of wayand, the true inhabitants of this magical place and recipients of a fascinating heritage. They can be prominently classified into Paniya, Adiya, Kattunayakan, Kurichiyan and Kuruma .

THE PANIYAS

The name ‘Paniyaan’ means ‘worker’ as they were supposed to have been the workers of non – tribes. Paniyas were once sold along with plantations by the landlords. They were also employed as professional coffee thieves by higher castes. They are believed to have been brought to Wayanad by the king of Malabar, and thereafter tilled the land as serfs.Normally the Paniya settlements (padis) may be a cluster of a few huts (pire or chala consisting of five to 15 families). Traditionally Paniyas were food-gatherers enjoying the freedom and self sufficiency of nomadic life in the interior forests. They used edible roots, leaves etc. They also used to eat small creatures like crabs by entrapping them. Although rice is their staple food, considerable quantities of wheat or ragi are consumed by the Paniyas. Tapioca, vegetables, animal flesh, fish, crabs and some varieties of roots and tubes are all included in their food items.They observe a number of festivals in different seasons. Some of these festivals are exclusively their own whereas some others are those which are regionally spread throughout the State.

ADIYAS

Adiyas are bascically agricultural workers. The Adiya, like the Paniya, is one of the slave sects in Kerala. In the nuclear Adiya tribal family the husband is the head of the house. Bride price is given to the parents of the bride by the groom. Divorce, widow marriage etc., are permitted. Polygamy is also practiced.
Even if their woman commits such offences they are allowed to undergo purificatory ceremony known as ‘Kalachu Veypu’ to join their community back. Gadhika is one such art from practiced among the Adiya community to drive away severe illnesses and diseases, which they believe is caused due to God’s dislike/anger towards them.

KATUNAYKARS

Once the kings of jungles, even to this day they rarely mix with other tribes and still follow their ancient traditions of black magic and sorcery. Completely dependent on forest and forest products for sustenance, they subsist on honey, roots and barks of plants and what small animals that they trap or fell with their primitive weapons like bows and arrows. The Kattunyakans were originally hunter gatherers, experts in fishing, bird trapping and foraging for forest produce such as honey and fruit. Kattunayakans typically live in clusters of small and very basic mud huts, plastered with charcoal and cow dung and thatched with paddy straw or grass. Music and dance are very important to the Kattunyakans, acting as the main source of knowledge on their environment, culture and respect for kin. A variety of musical instruments have been fashioned by the tribe; most resemble drums and flutes.  Another important factor for the tribe is the medicinal system and its close association with the culture.

KURICHIYAS AND KURUMAS

Also known as Malai Brahmins or Hill Brahmins, the Kurichiyas are the second largest adivasi community in Wayanad district. The community was named Kurichiya by the Kottayam Raja for the community’s expertise in archery. The name is derived from the phrase ‘kuri vechavan’, which means ‘he who took aim’.
The Kurumas are a tribal community who are believed to have descended from the Vedars, the ancient rulers of this region. This community mainly dealt with forest products . Both the Kurichiya and Kuruma tribes are land-owning communities. They follow a matrilineal household system. They also share similarities in religious practices, rituals, festivals, language and food habits. Kurichiya refers to their settlements as tharavadumuttam, etc. whereas Kuruma settlements were called kudi.

URAALI KURUMAS

Uraali Kurumas are an artisan tribe and their versatile skill in art and handicrafts are well known. They play flute and drum during festivals.  One of their deities is ‘Bettu Chikkamma’ and a senior male member performs rituals before the deity and women are not allowed to participate in theses ceremonies. They believe that when one person dies, his soul becomes god if he is good and becomes devil if he is bad.Their main occupation is pottery, mat weaving etc. It is mostly the women who are involved in these tasks. They make baskets and mats of various types with reeds and bamboo.

The Wayanad Ramayana

Ezhunnamamuni paranjavalodu
Inangi ennodu punarenam
Azhakotha meni azhakum sundaram
Eppoyum ninte roopam kandittu
Kulirthamo sahiyatnamuni
– Taken from the Adiya’s folk song on Ramayana

In the holy month of “Ramayana masam”, where every household, temples and religious organisations in Kerala practices reading Ramayana, we would like to narrate what the ancient script is to Wayanad and its influences on the land.
Wayanad’s various communities—the Wayanadan Chettis, Idanadan Chettis, several other lower-caste and upper-caste communities—have planted the Ramayana into their local context. And some of the tales associated with the Ramayana are shared by all these communities.
The names of many places have their roots in the oral retellings of the Ramayana. A few examples are Ashramkoli, Yogimoola, Rampalli, Sita Mound, Poothadi and Choorupura. It is the belief of the local people that Valmiki’s ashram was situated in Ashramkoli. Even though it was upper-caste people who ran the ashram, the responsibility of thatching the roof of the ashram fell on the local Mulla Kuruma Adivasi community. It is believed that Sita gave birth to Lava and Kusa in this ashram, and that it was the women of the Mulla Kuruma community who provided postpartum care. Legend has it that it was in Yogimoola that the maharishis dwelled: it appears that it was this belief that gave the place its name. Similarly, there are over 30 such places in Wayanad whose nomenclature derives from Ramayana stories.
Again, there are numerous legends that link hills from Ramayana stories to those in Wayanad. Examples include legends based on mountains and hills such as Banasuramala, Brahmagiri, Munishvaramala (Munishvarakovil), Bhoothatthankunnu and Manikunnumala.
Scores of tribal communities, as well as upper-caste Hindus, believe that the war between Banasura and Krishna took place on Banasuramala. It is believed that during the war, Krishna chopped off Banasura’s karam (hand), and thus the place is named Karabanam. Karabanam Temple, at the foot of Banasura Hill, is well known in the region. In the middle of the war, an axe is said to have fallen in a region near Tharuvana, about 10 kilometres from Banasura. This region is now called Mazhuvannur, and there are many legends based on the Mazhuvannur Temple that is situated there.
There are large collections of stories among the many communities in Wayanad that deal with themes like the origin of the universe, origin of man, natural phenomena and the origin of religions. Many among them are related to themes in the Ramayana. There are even Adivasi communities in Wayanad that regard Rama and Sita as canonical figures in their own religion.
Tirunelli, which is known as the Kashi of the south, is a rich store of legends. Both subaltern communities and upper-caste Hindus consider Tirunelli to be the centre of their beliefs and legends. These written and unwritten legends and beliefs uphold Tirunelli as the most important site of spiritual pilgrimage. Most of these legends place references from the ancient Sanskrit texts in the landscape, since the geographical peculiarities of Tirunelli are conducive to the creation of myths and legends.
It is believed that Lord Rama, under the guidance of munis, offered prayers at Tirunelli Temple to achieve victory over Ravana. Another legend is that Lord Rama, along with Lakshman, Bharath and others, conducted the last rites for their father King Dasarath in the Papanashini River. Also, seven sacred waterbodies—Papanashini, Panchatheertham, Rinamochini Theertham, Gundika Theertham, Satabindu, Sahasrabindham and Varaham—are believed to converge at Tirunelli, the most important among them being Papanashini. It is believed that Lord Vishnu is in the main temple as Tirunelli Perumal, and Lord Shiva in Gundika Temple. And it is here that Brahma worships Vishnu everyday. Hence, in the temple, there is a convergence of all the three lords—Trimurti.