Ask any Keralan to name the favourite area of their state, and nearly all will answer: Wayanad. Defined here as the Wayanad Wildlife Reserve, and over-spilling areas of Sulthan Bathery, Kalpetta, and Mananthavadi, the entire region is rich in natural beauty. Epic Western Ghat hill-scapes spill down into waves of emerald green rice paddies, the picture postcard scene enhanced with lush plantations of pepper, cardamom, and coffee. Marking a handy way station between Bangalore, Mysore, and coastal Kerala, and housing some excellent accommodation, the area is as convenient as it is idyllic. The main draw here, besides the dreamy scenery, is the Wayanad Wildlife Reserve: jeep safaris are bumpy, but are an excellent way to spot herds of wild elephant, birdlife, and small mammals.

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