Sulthan Bathery, earlier known as Ganapativatom, is a quaint town in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The place became known as Sulthan Bathery after Tipu Sulthan of Mysore invaded the region and used the Jain temple here as a battery. During Tipu Sulthan’s invasion in the 18th century an imposing fort was built here; unfortunately no remains of it stand today. This picturesque town is situated at an altitude of 1000 meters above MSL, flanked by majestic hills with patches of cliffs, valleys and plains interwoven with the mountainous terrain. Present day Sulthan Bathery is not only the largest town in Wayanad but also the hub of all tourism and commercial activities in the district. The regional population predominantly comprises of tribals and the economy is essentially agrarian in nature.
Watch the scenic beauty of the place unfold before your eyes as you take a drive from Kalpatta to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary at Muthanga. The historic town lies close to the Kerala - Karnataka border.
The Jain Temple of Sulthan Bathery built in the 13th century has withstood the tests of time – having served as a place of worship for Jains, Hindus and later used as an ammunition store (battery) by Tipu Sulthan’s army. This place of historic importance is one of the prominent tourist attractions here. The temple has quite a few exquisite stone carvings.
Edakkal caves are situated on the Ambukuthi Mountains at a distance of about 16 km from Sulthan Bathery. Located at an altitude of 1000 m above MSL, is a set of three caves, considered to be one amongst the earliest sites of human settlement on the face of the planet. Each of these caves has numerous ancient stone scripts, various animal and human figurines, symbols, ancient weaponry figures et cetera depicted on the walls. These depictions, estimated to be over 7000 years old, have contemporaries only in Stiriya in the European Alps and a few places in Africa.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary:
En route from Sulthan Bathery to Mysore is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary at Muthanga. The sanctuary is a safe haven for a diverse variety of flora and fauna including many rare and endangered ones. This fragile eco-system falls under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The sanctuary shares borders with the Nagarhole and Bandipur reserves of Karnataka and with the Mudumalai reserve of Tamilnadu. Wayanad Sanctuary puts much emphasis on scientific conservation measures that are eco-friendly and sustainable.
The eight century old Ganapathi Temple is a famous place of Hindu worship in Sulthan Bathery. This ancient temple, located in the heart of the town, was the very reason why Sulthan Bathery was earlier referred as Ganapativattom.
The Mariyamman Temple is the focal point of tribal population in the area; their lives revolving around the temple and its rituals. The temple, believed to have been gifted by Pazhassi Raja to the tribals as a gesture of thanksgiving for helping him fight the British Empire, is a place of immense importance for the tribals.
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum:
This heritage museum, situated 12 km to the south of Sulthan Bathery, is one of the largest and best archaeological museums in the State. Exhibits in the museum include many 2nd century rare artifacts including ancient stone weapons, hunting equipments, clay sculptures and other interesting related artifacts. These rare exhibits, evidencing the existence of an advanced civilization in the mountainous terrains of Wayanad, lure archaeologists, historians and lay people alike. The museum also has an interesting display of stone engravings known as Hero Stones that portrays the valorous feats of the ancient tribal warriors.
Chembra Peak is the tallest peak in Wayanad located at an altitude of 2100 m above MSL. A climb up the peak is both exciting and highly adventurous.
This gorgeous cascade is located near Sulthan Batheri. To reach this waterfall one has to trek through 4 km across the hilly terrain.
The Pookot freshwater lake, 3 km from Lakkidi, has a fresh water aquarium, a children’s park and facilities for boat riding. Pookot Lake, lying amidst picturesque tropical vegetation and hills, is one of the natural, fresh water bodies of Wayanad.
Popularly known as the ‘Gateway of Wayanad’, Lakkidi is an ideal place to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Wayanad. Located at an altitude of 700 m above MSL, Lakkidi is blessed with the abounding gifts of nature. The exciting drive up to Lakkidi along the nine hairpin bends is in itself a thrilling experience. Lying close to Lakkidi is an amazing vantage point – the Lakkidi View Point, offering dazzling views of the surrounding cliffs and valleys.
Close to the Ambalavayal town is a skull shaped rock formation known popularly as the Phantom Rock. Locally known as Cheengeri Mala, this skull shaped rock is situated amidst scenic surroundings.
This enchanting island lies at a distance of 17 km to the east of Mananthavady. This 950 acre island is thickly wooded without any human habitation and is home to many rare species of birds, flora and exotic orchids.
Lying along the banks of the picturesque Papanasini River is the ancient temple of Thirunelli, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This marvel in stone is set in the most dramatic of settings – perched on a hillock in the midst of lush jungles with the scenic Papanasini quietly flowing by its side. The shrine is surrounded by 30 carved granite columns. According to Hindu mythology the holy waters of Papanasini has the potency to absolve one of all sins.
Situated in the lush Brahmagiri hills is the Ornithologists’ paradise - Pakshipathalam. Gear yourself up with a powerful pair of binoculars and you won’t be disappointed here. To reach the sanctuary, however, one has to traverse through 17 km of dense wilderness. The rare birds here include the Asian fairy blue bird, the paradise flycatcher, the gold fronted chloropsis, the emerald dove, etc.
For the adventure lovers there are plenty of opportunities in Wayanad. Trekking at Edakkal is a not-to-be-missed activity – you can enjoy a trek and see the historic caves both in a single go. The one kilometer long trekking path consists of a neatly laid concrete pavement which is a bit steep in certain places.
Yet another popular trekking destination is the Chembra Peak - the tallest peak in Wayanad located at an altitude of 2100 m above MSL. Be well prepared, for the climb usually takes one full day to complete. Necessary provisions and trained guides are available on hiring basis from the District Tourism Promotion Council. There is a handsome reward awaiting those who make it to the top - a panoramic view of unsurpassed grandeur.
A lovely 4 km long trek across hills to reach the scenic Chethalayam Waterfalls is another popular trek route. Along this not-so-strenuous trek you can also watch a large variety of birds and exotic flora.
The Pookot freshwater lake offers facilities for boat riding. Pookot Lake, lying amidst picturesque tropical vegetation and hills, is one of the natural, fresh water bodies of Wayanad.
Bring out the ornithologist in you at Pakshippathalam. A watchtower constructed in the place is an ideal vantage point for spotting birds.
The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated in the month of February at the Pallikkunnu Church. This Roman Catholic Church is a centre of Christian pilgrimage in Wayanad.
The two-week long festival of Valliyoorkavu Bhagwathi temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is another famous festival of the region. People from all walks of life including the tribal population throng the temple during the festival celebrations. This annual festival is celebrated during the March-April period.
Typical Wayanadan artifacts are the best buys here; they can be brought from most of the way-side shops/shacks at a comparatively lower price. Around the Pookot Lake one can shop for spices and souvenirs. If you have serious shopping plans, we recommend that you go to the neighboring city of Calicut, which has many shopping areas. Clothes and accessories can be brought from the numerous shops lining the Sweet Meat Street and Mavoor Road in Calicut. The wholesale spice market is located at the Big Bazaar Road. Calicut is also famous for hand-crafted artifacts including rosewood carvings, coir products, miniature snake boats and also buffalo horn carvings.
Jeeps are the best mode for traversing the hilly terrain and sloppy roads of the region. Hired taxis and auto-rickshaws can be used for moving around – which would be a little bit expensive but worth the money, especially if you are traveling with family or luggage. Most of the places are connected by frequent buses, so if you want you may cut down on your transportation expense by taking a bus. If on a group travel, book tourist buses in advance.
The delectable “Malabari Biriyani” and “halwa” are must-tries in Sulthan Batheri. Specialty Kerala cuisines can also be savored at most of the hotels and restaurants in the region.
Calicut Airport at a distance of 105 km is the nearest airport.
Sulthan Batheri is well connected and easily accessible by road.
The nearest railway station is located at Calicut at a distance of 105 km.